In the broadcasting field, "blowing up" a station means that a station underwent a format change. Blowing up stations is nothing new, but it still catches people off-guard. Why stations change formats is usually for various reasons, be it ratings or something else. From the listener's perspective, I have yet to run into someone that was incredibly thankful that a station flipped. More often than not, I hear about people annoyed about such change. My 18-year-old cousin still complains about how the hard rock station in Dallas, the Eagle, flipped formats to Lite Rock a few years ago who then flipped to Tejano. I get the feeling that plenty of people pulling up 107.5 FM today will be wondering what happened to its smooth jazz format. No longer the Smooth Jazz 107.5 The Oasis, it's now MOViN' 107.5.
Instead of Dave Koz, Chris Botti and Kenny G, 107.5 now plays 50 Cent, Prince, Marvin Gaye and Will Smith. I'm sure my fellow blogging friend Kev will be happy to know that "the G Weasel" is not on that frequency anymore, but I'm sure there are plenty of others that aren't. The smooth jazz format itself relies less on older, free-form jazz and more on a modern mix of fusion and light rock that has jazzy and atmospheric leanings. For a lot of people, this music is perfect; it's instrumental, upbeat and it's not in-your-face. I'm sure another smooth jazz station will pop up here in Dallas, but for the time being, a number of people are at a loss today.
For me, I have a number of friends and colleagues that worked for the station, on the air and behind the scenes. I worked in their promotions department for almost a year doing a number of remote broadcasts at a variety of places (from small Cingular Wireless stores to the Dallas Museum of Art). While passing out stuff like concert tickets, I got to know quite a bit about the DJs and the audience that would come out. Never before or since have I seen such a strong dedication to a radio station. Oftentimes, people would tell me this was music that a wide range of tastes and ages could agree on.
You're not going to find me unloading a preachy tirade about the state of the radio field here. I will say this, with the format switch costing a number of people's jobs, this is just business plain and simple. Nothing personal is meant with the work that the people did at the station, but a change happened. I find myself really relating as today marks one year since I lost my full-time job. I won't lie that bouncing back hasn't been easy, but there have definitely been some really useful changes and growth in myself in this time. Somehow I get the feeling that's just starting with a number of other people today.