By Lee Hubbard
Entercom, the radio media corporation that recently bought formerly Black-owned KBLX102.9 FM for $25 million in bankruptcy court, is making dramatic changes in the station’s personnel and listening line-up.
Entercom dropped Kevin Brown, KBLX’s radio program director and morning time drive host for the past 22 years, as well as afternoon drive time host Antoine Davis and station manager Harvey Stone, who was at the station since it began in 1979.
The company is taking on syndicated morning host Steve Harvey and will begin airing the “Steve Harvey Morning Show” on May 7 in the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. slot.
“Steve Harvey in the morning makes KBLX better,” said Dwight Walker, Vice President and Market Manager of Entercom San Francisco.
“His mass appeal will resonate with KBLX listeners and bring in a wider audience over time. Steve’s success in markets across the country will make a difference with our clients and advertisers,” Walker said.
Harvey is a well-known comedian and host of the new Family Feud show. He is the best selling author of a book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man,” which spent several months on the New York Times Best Seller list. The movie based on the book is currently rated number one.
“KBLX has a long history in San Francisco, and I truly feel blessed to be a part of their lineup,” said Harvey. “I have the number one book and movie in the country at the same time.
“Now, I’m in the Bay Area, and I want to continue this winning streak! I will be waking KBLX listeners up every morning with inspiration and a whole lot of funny!”
Besides adding Harvey, Entercom has revamped KBLX’s radio line-up. Nikki Thomas will give updates on news and traffic from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Sterling James will remain at the station, on the air from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Victor Zaragoza moves from weekends to daily duty, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Weekend hosts will remain in place.
“This new lineup makes KBLX stronger from top to bottom,” said Walker. “Our new lineup is a great mix representing the Bay Area.
“Saying goodbye to Kevin Brown and Antoine Davis is not easy. Inner City Broadcasting will take care of Mr. Brown and Mr. Davis.”
Listeners are greeting the changes with mixed emotions. While many are fans of Harvey, some say the replacement of Brown by a syndicated morning show is not good for KBLX.
“This move may not be well received based on the history of pre-recorded syndication shows in the Bay Area,” said Harrison Chastang, news director and talk show host at KPOO 89.5 FM, a Black-owned, non-commercial community station.
“African American morning shows, when they are syndicated, have not worked well in the Bay Area,” he said.
“I think a lot of people will leave the station based on Brown leaving,” continued Chastang. “They will just move down the dial to Renel on Kiss. With lower ratings, there will be a dramatic change in the station’s format.”
Walker doesn’t see it that way. He sees room for the new KBLX to grow and expand its listener base.
“KBLX has had a lot of success, and we want to continue that,” he said. “We will make sure the community will continue to be heard.”