Just what we need: Another place to hear Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe.
Came back from lunch to two e-mail messages from readers telling me that KESS/107.9 FM, which was Spanish-oldies "Radio Recuerdo," is now "Radio H2O," a bilingual CHR format. CHR, for the uninitiated, is radio jargon for "Top 40," and although it's jargon, it's probably a more accurate way of describing a lot of current-pop formats.
First thing I heard when I plugged in online was, yep, Call Me Maybe. That was followed by a commercial set -- some Spanish, some English. Also heard Justin Bieber's Boyfriend.
According to RadioInsight, the flip appears to have happened at 12:30 Thursday afternoon. The list of songs in the RadioInsight post includes music by Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Gotye (making that, what, 16 local stations playing Somebody That I Used to Know?) and Adele. Announcements were in Spanish and English.
It was just a few weeks ago that Univision, which owns KESS, threw the big, multi-ethnic H2O Music Festival in Dallas, featuring such major Latino acts as Juanes but also such longtime English-language acts as Snoop Dogg and Weezer. Radio H2O, however, sounds more mainstream and English-language.
Another Spanish-language station, CBS Radio's KMVK/106.7 FM "Mega" has been known to play English-language songs, but they tend to be by Latino artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull. For months -- it's beginning to feel like years -- there have been rumors that CBS is going to launch its contemporary-hits format Amp Radio in DFW, and Mega has been seen as one of the possible places for a flip.
AllAccess.com reports that CBS just launched Amp Radio in Boston, the country's No. 10 market. DFW is No. 5. Although it's wrong to assume that something will happen in DFW just because it happened elsewhere -- demographics, lifestyles and tastes vary from city to city (much as radio sometimes seems to pretend otherwise) -- when CBS is hot on a format, it tends to want it in a Top 10 market like DFW.
With KESS' flip to "Radio H2O," DFW is lousy with CHR formats. KHKS/106.1 FM "KISS-FM" has ruled the market for years with a CHR format; Clear Channel, which owns KISS, recently morphed KDMX/102.9 FM from its long-running "Mix" format to NOW, which, while technically a "hot adult contemporary" format, plays so much overlap with KISS that it might as well be Top 40; and Cumulus has had more success than a lot of people (including me) expected with i93 at KLIF/93.3 FM. That's to say nothing of the CHR songs that bleed over into other formats. So if CBS does launch Amp Radio here -- well, CHR is where it's at right now in radio, but we've got to hit a saturation point eventually, and it's beginning to sound like sooner than later.
(And from a comment on my Facebook page: "This was part of a larger shuffle of Univision formats - "Recuerdo" is gone from 107.1/107.9. ["La Jefa" moves from [KFZO] 99.1 to 107.1, and a new Spanish adult contemporary station "Maxima" takes over 99.1.")