A tumultuous couple of weeks on the Detroit radio dial got even more chaotic this morning with a format flip at Clear Channel's WDTW-FM 106.7 which has moved again to a rock format, this time as "106.7 The D", heavily leaning on 70s and 80s classic rock including Rush, Van Halen, The Police, The Cars, AC/DC, Kiss, The Talking Heads, Guns n' Roses, ZZ Top, Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Petty, Bill Squier, Journey, Bon Jovi, Boston, and U2.
Gone is the rhythmic-leaning pop format "106.7 The Beat" along with the entire on-air staff as the new format launched with a 10,000-song block of music. The abrupt switch could be a move to restrengthen the ratings of sister station Channel 95-5 (WKQI) - which features a contemporary hits format, but without many of the gold rhythmic songs that 106.7 played. Pop music listeners have had a wide selection of frequencies to sample - and are still left with WDVD-FM 96.3, Amp Radio (WDZH-FM 98.7), and Fresh 100 (WNIC-FM 100.3) as options following today's switch at 106.7. Each of those stations, along with WMGC-FM (105.1) have been targeting a similar audience as 106.7 was, albeit each with a slightly different approach to their music.
Rumors have been circulating for months that legendary afternoon drive host Arthur Penhallow was to be returning to the air soon - this format would be a perfect fit once the musical marathon concludes in early to mid-December.
The history of the 106.7 frequency includes stops on the rock format from the early 1970s through 1980 and again from 1999 - 2006. Arguably, the station's most successful run was as 'W4 Country' from 1980 - 1999 and ever since has struggled to find a consistent audience despite numerous attempts at different sounds.
The classic rock format on 106.7 has started out with a harder rock sound than what's currently being offered by heritage classic rocker WCSX-FM 94.7 - and without the pop songs heard on classic hits WOMC-FM 104.3 and variety hits WDRQ-FM 93.1. The station sounds like it's being programmed to listeners that remember listening to rockers like WRIF-FM 101.1 and the old WABX-FM 99.5, WLLZ-FM 98.7, and 106.7 as W4 when those stations battled for rock listeners from the mid 1970s - early 1980s. The playlist on '106.7 The D' dips into the 1990s in addition to it's heavy 70s/80s focus.
Today's flip at 106.7 quickly follows other moves on FM in Detroit; Hip hop Hot 102.7 changed frequency to 107.5, making room for gospel on 102.7 and silencing the R&B format previously on 107.5. Also an FM translator carrying smooth jazz at 104.7 was taken off the air due to interference with Toledo rocker WIOT-FM 104.7.
But perhaps the biggest change on the radio dial is yet to happen with last month's announcement that legendary morning host Jim Harper will be retiring from WMGC-FM 105.1 at year's end. That station recently dropped its pop format for All-Christmas ... at least temporarily.
Other stories on the flip:
Detroit Free Press:
WDTW Flips To Classic Rock As 106.7 The D (Fri, 11/4)
106.7 Detroit Is Beaten Away With Rock (Fri, 11/4)