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Goodbye ‘Morning X,’ Hello Robot Radio

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 00:01

The 97X, WSUN-FM 97.1, radio station — one of the largest and most popular among Tampa and USF listeners — revamped its
format last week to what now gives listeners 100 percent control over what their next song will be — all listeners do now is download an app on their phone or tablet, and vote for whichever song they want to hear.

The station had over 1 million song votes by Tuesday, but the new format has been getting mixed reviews, many of which oppose the lack of human interaction within the station.

Brittany Masterson, a junior majoring in chemical engineering, said she has been listening to the station since she moved to Tampa from Fort
Myers in August 2009 and even attended the 97X’s “Next Big Thing” concert in December.

But she certainly isn’t a fan of the station’s new groove.

“I don’t like it, the only reason I listened to it was because of the ‘Morning X’ and now that’s gone,” she said. “And the music that listeners are
choosing are stupid and weird techno/rock.”

Conceptualizing the change in the station has caused a stir mostly among the alternative rock fan base in Tampa. Now the station can play anything from Bob Marley’s reggae to early-’90s gangster rap.

Kinks are still very apparent to listeners, and those who work for the Clear Channel radio station are still trying to figure out how to get rid of them.

This Tuesday Danielle Belusky, former “Morning X” co-host, posted on their Facebook page “A LOT of you guys have been
asking how we will get ‘New Music’ to you guys with the new voting process ... We’re still working on that.”

But listeners — and former listeners — laced into the station via Facebook because of their changes.

“A million votes that translate to 7 goth kids sitting in front of hot topic voting for depeche mode til their black fingernails fall off. I just don’t see this new format finding success,” one listener. wrote on their page. 

“Radio is dead again,” said another.

A “Bring back the Morning X” Facebook page had nearly 500 likes by Wednesday night.

Though the new format is losing listeners and former show hosts, such as Drew Garrabo who now has his own show with WHTP 102.5 “The Bone” with Cox Media, they are gaining new listeners of different genres who enjoy the interactive radio theme.

Meanwhile 97X’s listeners are now learning the consequences of their music preferences.


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