After 16 years on the air, as of 3 p.m. Monday the Buzz 103.1 FM is no more and "The Only Station That Really Rocks" in South Florida could be playing Lady Gaga right now.
After Cox Radio dismantled 93 Rock last year at about this time, the West Palm Beach rock station (WPBZ) was the lone outpost left for anything involving a distortion pedal or any level of angst on the FM dial. But apparently the station will live on via HD radio, and the new station in its place is NOW 103.1 FM, which serves up "Today's best hits, without the rap." Having endured this format before in a different market, it's basically the pits. Even those among our writing corps who said they didn't like the station won't like this watered-down format any better.
The news was dispatched suddenly without any warning following what was perhaps the final financial commitment for the station's old format -- Saturday's Buzz Bake Sale at Cruzan Amphitheatre, which will apparently be the last one we're ever gonna see. Following the cancellation of the Langerado Music Festival earlier this year, it does seem that rock does not rock in South Florida. More on rock's downward trend here and thoughts from Revolution's managing partner Jeff John here.
Meanwhile, NOW 103.1 announces "big things" moving forward. The following press release is pretty strange, but nothing stranger than the lines in italics. Apparently a bunch of West Palm Beach women and their daughters are to blame for this station's strategic shift.
To all of our loyal Buzz listeners, THANK YOU for the past 16 years. It's been a long ride and we are glad you were there with us. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. In an effort to keep your Buzz music alive we have moved The Buzz to 103.1 HD-2 and streaming online at Buzz103.com. We encourage you to download the free Radio.com app from your app store and listen to "Florida's New Rock Alternative" anywhere.
Again thank you all for being a part of our lives. We'll see you on the other side. Rock on
Focusing on today's music, there is a new choice in West Palm Beach. This new station promises to be the feel good button of local radio. On-Air, NOW 103.1 (WPBZ-FM) will be heard locally. On-Line, the station will be available everywhere at Now1031.com and Radio.com.
NOW, brings a diverse playlist of hit music. The station will include artists ranging from: Lady Gaga to Lady Antebellum. What you will hear is described as a cool, energetic music machine. Women in West Palm Beach have been searching for an alternative to cluttered, talky radio stations. NOW promises to deliver on this need. Finally, there is a choice that both mothers and daughters can agree on.
Listeners can stay connected with NOW 103.1 in a variety of ways. Whether they want to hear the latest hits, receive pop culture and music news, stream the station to their computer, win prizes or get insider information about station events and On-Site appearances, the website will be the hub for everything "NOW", keeping this audience connected.
Benjamin Hill, Senior Vice President and West Palm Beach Market Manager announced today's change. "This station is ALL about the hits, and favorite artists. The local market has shown a great deal of interest in this format. We are confident that this option will be a welcome change." Hill stated, "That was then, this is NOW."
The new sound of this station will include a playlist featuring today's hits from favorite artists including: Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Pink, Daughtry, Rhianna, and Adele. "This is a natural fit for our station mix." Operations Director, John O'Connell said, "We are confident that after listening once that today's women will make the switch to NOW 103.1."The Buzz, a heritage rock station, was previously found on 103.1. The Buzz will now be available on the station's HD 2 multicast channel and will continue to be streamed online at buzz103.com. These internet savvy listeners are already spending a good portion of their time on the web listening to music. On mobile devices, free apps are available for iPhone and Android. These can be downloaded from the ITunes music store or the Android Market. CBS RADIO hopes that this option will appeal to this group of music fans.
Also: RIP The Buzz 103.1, Long Live Sexist Radio Formats?
Follow County Grind on Facebook and Twitter: @CountyGrind.