Naked City

Sing along with BOB

Without so much as a last tribute to "Louie, Louie," Oldies 103.5 is gone. Emmis Communications, continuing to put its stamp on its Austin stations, dumped the classic-hits format on KEYI-FM for a format dubbed BOB-FM, which promises to play "hits from the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, and 2000s." If that sounds vaguely like a classic hits station, a station press release assures BOB is "the most unusual and non-traditional radio station to hit the Austin airwaves in years." "We play anything!" the station's press release proclaims.

But don't expect some sweaty hoedown featuring Black Flag, Laurie Anderson, and Miles Davis. As it turns out, "anything" for BOB-FM is defined as everything from the Go-Gos and Simon & Garfunkel to Robert Palmer and Sheryl Crow. In corporate radio's world of "narrowcast" niche programming, the format is considered radical, "making a virtue of an extremely broad playlist," said Tom Taylor of Inside Radio, a popular industry newsletter.

By calling the station BOB, Emmis is following an official industry trend. There are several stations called Bob around the country, including several with country formats, as radio companies desperately look to infuse stations with something resembling a personality, after years of pushing formats with jazzy names like "Star" or "the Q." In addition to the Bobs, there are several Jacks and even one station named Dave.

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