Service Broadcasting Corp. boss Hyman Childs verifies that much of the air staff has been let go at KKDA//730 AM "Soul 73." Willis Johnson and Alecia Thompson will remain in the mornings, but the rest of the day will be automated.
Childs says that the classic R&B format will remain the same. The station doesn't have a website and is practically inaudible in much of downtown Fort Worth, so I took a little drive and heard, among other things, Average White Band's Pick Up the Pieces and Dionne Warwick's Walk On By. And a lot of political ads and no DJ.
Childs would not comment on why the changes were made. But changes like this are usually made for economic reasons. Grand Prairie-based KKDA is a good station with a heritage going back to 1969, according to Mike Shannon's History of Dallas-Fort Worth Radio and Television, and a format that had lasted since 1970. But it tended to reside around the bottom of Arbitron's monthly ratings reports for overall listenership, and fewer and fewer people are tuning into AM stations for music.
Childs did tell me to listen to the station on the way home and see what I think. But it's a pretty good bet I'll like the music; I'm a fan of '60s and '70s soul. But with this station going mostly automated, and with stations such as Jack FM and Hank FM going all-automated, it's another step away from personality radio.
UPDATE: The Dallas Morning News' Robert Wilonsky (I'm still reeling at the reality of those six words together) has a little more detail here, with some comments from Bobby Patterson, one of the DJs who was let go.
UPDATE No. 2: The Dallas Observer's Eric Grubbs weighs in with this eloquent appreciation.