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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Life + Arts

News 88.7 recognizes two-station competition


The demise of one local Houston radio news outlet has altered how Houstonians receive their news when not near a television. News 88.7, stationed at the University, is looking forward to the uptick in awareness.

“We welcomed the competition; we were sad for the folks who worked there,” News Director Jack Williams said. “With 92.1 gone, hopefully listeners will be looking for us.”

News 92.1, a station owned by Radio One, changed its format from all news programming earlier this month. Its final broadcast concluded after the morning news before a shift in playing only Beyoncé songs. The station then shifted again two weeks ago to a classic hip-hop format, Boom 92 Houston.

Some are happy of the shift to classic hip-hop from the news.

“Music during that era had revolution and consciousness to it that really sparks up a nostalgia,” communications junior and contributing writer to The Cougar Vaughn-zel Lloyd said. “I believe it will fare well because more people tend to favor that type of music over the music of today.”

The constant movement left Houston with just two all-news radio stations, 740 AM KTRH and News 88.7, which is part of Houston Public Media.

“We always thought that even though there were three stations, we appeal to a difference audience,” Williams said. “I’m sure we shared audience with the other two stations.”

Ratings for News 92.1 remained steadily below a 1.0 share in its final months, which forced Radio One to pull the plug. The all-news format still exists in other areas around the country. Filled with talent that spanned decades in Houston media, the station continued to expand its talent pool despite suffering financial loss every year.

This is not the first significant change with 92.1. In 2011, before switching to an all-news format, 92.1 was Praise 92.1, an all-gospel station. The move to an all-news format angered some but satisfied others.

“Our review of Houston’s broadcast landscape told us that those listeners interested in local news as well as national news were being poorly served,” Radio One Regional Vice President Doug Abernethy said in a 2011 press release. “So, we decided to make a commitment to delivering the news in a dependable fashion.”

The change didn’t last long. With News 88.7 continuing to expand under Williams, it’s clear they seem poised to continue growth now that Houston is a two-news-station town.

“We’ve been growing steadily over the past 10 years adding reporters. We’ve been lucky our listener supporters value local news here in Houston,” Williams said.

“I hope people tune in and think we’re fair and don’t have an agenda.”

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