), is a Top 40 (CHR)
radio station based in Houston
, United States
. The studios located in Suite 700 of the Chase
building at 9801 Westheimer Road
in the Westchase District
in western Houston. The transmitter facilities located in Missouri City
. KRBE is owned and operated by Cumulus Media
KRBE signed on September 11
as a classical
station and continued as such into the late 1960s when it flipped for the first time to top 40. The call letters are from the acronym "Key to Radio Broadcast Excellence." In the late 1970s, KRBE billed itself under one of two nicknames, "Super Rock 104 KRBE" or "Houston's Super Rock", playing a mixture of top 40 and rock hits. In 1981, KRBE flipped to an Adult Contemporary format as "FM 104 KRBE".
KRBE's disc jockeys during the mid to late 1970s included, amongst others, 1976 til ? Roger W.W.W. Garrett (Roger W. Garrett is currently at KORA in Bryan, Tx) Dwight Shotgun Cook,(now at Soundworks.com) Barry Kaye, CC McCartney, Kenny Miles, The Catfish, and Bunny Taylor (KRBE's first female DJ). Mike Krehel was the Chief Engineer during that time and gave KRBE its "Flame Thrower" Signature Sound.
Rivalry with KKBQ
In late 1982 top 40/KKBQ AM (which had signed on in July of that year) moved to FM with great success. To counter KKBQ in the Arbitron ratings books, KRBE relaunched as "Power 104 KRBE" with a contemporary hits radio (CHR) format in the mid-summer of 1984. Both stations remained head to head throughout the remainder of the 1980s. In November 1986, Dallas-based Susquehanna Radio purchased KRBE as well as another Houston station broadcasting at 1070 AM, now known as KNTH.
In 1987, KRBE took a lean towards a dance friendly/top 40 format with evening weekend studio mixshows, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m, known as "The Friday & Saturday Night Power Mix". KKBQ matched it with its own mixshows aptly titled "Club 93Q". By the end of 1987, DJ Scott Sparks had been hired from Y-95 in Dallas to prop up the night show with a Dance/Pop heavy sound. The new dance lean had built so much momentum that KRBE had to top 93Q again and it did on the night of January 9, 1988 when it launched "The Saturday Night Power Mix Live from The Ocean Club , which was billed as Houston's first live four-hour (and later, six-hour) mixshow from a nightclub. On May 29, 1988, KKBQ launched its first live nightclub broadcast "93Q Live On The Cutting Edge" from Club 6400, a club that played a mix of industrial, new wave and goth music; no top 40 was allowed. While KRBE's show was a little more radio friendly, it was first to play some of the music 6400 was spinning, and turned out to be an instant success.
In 1990, this tradition continued with live broadcasts from Houston nightclub "Bayou Mamas" with host Joel Davis along with the current air personalities of KRBE.
"Hits Without the Hype"
KRBE and KKBQ continued their top 40 rivalry (including mixshows from various Houston nightclubs) until 1991 when the top 40 format was showing signs of wear. Under Program Director Steve Wyrostok, who was recruited from Susquehanna Radio sister station WAPW "Power 99" in Atlanta, KRBE stripped to a generic "no frills" top 40 format, in which the station dropped "lazer fx" sound effects, and did away with voice announcers. In addition, DJ's were asked to stop screaming
was pulled from its playlists. Even the "POWER" moniker of the 1980s era was gone.
KRBE was rebranded as 104 KRBE "Hits Without the Hype", using liners like "No Rap, No Screaming DJs". KKBQ remained on its same course for a short time after but eventually flipped to an "easy country" format on September 19, 1991, after a brief period in which it programmed a rock-oriented top 40 mix as a stunt.
Despite its new "no frills" approach, KRBE continued to offer the hottest dance music the world had to offer through its live club mixshows with the launch of "the Beat" started by DJ Rich, which aired from 1994-2002 and was mixed by some of the top local DJs in the Houston area, such as DJ Rich (now DJ RIDDLER
), and DJ Mark D
(Delange). The mixshows were broadcast from premier nightclub venues in Houston such as Shelter from 1994 to 1995, Kaboom from 1995 to 1996, and The Roxy from 1996 until its last broadcast in 2002. "the Beat" enabled KRBE to gain a worldwide audience when the station began streaming the on-air audio through its website in the late 1990s, thus billing itself "The World Famous 104 KRBE". The name "the Beat" was chosen to derail 106.5 KQQK's widely-speculated plans to change format from Regional Mexican to Top 40 as "106.5 the Beat", which would have put them in direct competition with KRBE. (It is also speculated KRBE used the "Wild" and "Channel" monikers on its Friday night mixshows for the same reason)
"The New Music Zone"
From 1992-1994, the station aired "The New Music Zone", an alternative music show that typically aired weeknights from 7 p.m. to midnight. In the mid-1990s, around 1995-1996, the station's playlist as a whole had a pronounced alternative lean, but it eventually drifted back towards mainstream CHR. In 1996, program director Tom Poleman and air talents Paul "Cubby" Bryant
and Ryan Chase left KRBE for similar positions with CHR/pop Z100 WHTZ New York, which had also leaned in an alternative direction for a time. Ryan Chase would eventually come back to KRBE ten years later.
On October 31
, Susquehanna announced it had reached an agreement to sell its radio assets, including KRBE, to a partnership including Cumulus Media (which also owns Houston radio stations KIOL-FM (103.7) and KFNC-FM (97.5)) as well as Bain Capital, Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The deal was expected to be completed sometime during the first half of 2006. Sometime after the purchase, KRBE quietly changed their logo from "104 KRBE" to "104.1 KRBE", a technically more accurate description of the station.
In late January 2006, KRBE launched its digital HD signal. Its HD2 signal began simulcasting sister KHJK in late 2007. The HD3 signal is still undetermined.
Morning show shake-up
On July 7th
, morning radio show personalities Atom Smasher
and Maria Todd
were let go immediately following the Friday show. Cumulus Media cited they were taking the morning show (as well as the station) in a new direction and needed a show that widely appealed to the entire Houston market and a team that knew the city and its people. That same day, longtime DJ Scott Sparks exited KRBE after nearly 20 years to begin mornings at classic hits station KLDE (now KHTC
) (107.5 FM), reuniting Sparks with former KRBE program director and morning show DJ Paul Christy. Atom Smasher eventually wound up at KHKS
in Dallas, which, like KRBE, is a CHR/pop station. Maria Todd moved to do the morning show, 5-9:30am, at KMVQ
an rhymtic station in San Francisco.
On July 13, 2006, it was announced that "The Roula and Ryan Show", which previously aired on hot adult contemporary rival KHMX, would return to Houston airwaves on KRBE. The team, which relaunched their show on July 24, 2006, is comprised of Roula Christie and Ryan Chase, the latter of which returned to KRBE after a ten-year absence, along with Eric Rowe, who goes by the name "Producer Eric". Ironically, Roula also returned to KRBE after a six-year absence. She was paired with the aforementioned Atom Smasher from 1998-2000 on the 6-10pm shift.
KRBE has spawned numerous competitors over the years. Currently, its two main competitors (as of March 13, 2008) is Houston's other Top 40 station KKHH Hot 95.7
and KHMX Mix 96.5
, which broadcasts a Hot AC
format. Other competitors are Urban KBXX 97.9 The Box
, Rhythmic KPTY Party 93.3
, and Alternative KTBZ 94.5 The Buzz
- Super Rock 104 KRBE (mid 70's)
- 104 KRBE (Late 70s)
- FM 104 KRBE (1980-1985)
- Power 104 KRBE (1985-1991)
- 104 KRBE (1991-1999)
- Station 104 KRBE (1999-2001)
- 104 KRBE (2001-2006)
- 104.1 KRBE (2006-current)
Current DJs and Schedule
- The Roula and Ryan Show (formerly of KHMX)
- Roula Christie (6am - 10 am) (formerly of KHMX)
- Ryan Chase (6am - 10 am) (formerly of KHMX)
- Producer Eric Rowe (6am - 10am) (formerly of KHMX)
- Special K (6am - 10am) (formerly of KLOL)
- Mojo (6am - 10am) (formerly of KODA)
- Freddy Cruz (M-F; 10am - 1pm)
- Leslie B. (M-F; 1pm - 3pm)
- Mat Mitchell (M-F; 3pm - 7pm)
- Carson (M-Th; 7pm - 12m, F; 7pm-10pm)
- L.C. (M-Th; 7pm - 12m, F; 7pm-10pm)
- Tony Styles (T-F; 12m - 5:30am)
- Weekend DJs
- Roger W. W. W. Garrett hosted mornings 1976 - ? (Currently Program Director at KORA/Bryan, Texas)
- Paul Christy (Previously hosted mornings at classic rock/KRBE-AM) (Dates unknown - 1987-1988) (currently at KHTC)
- Debbie Somers (co-host 1987-1988)
- Glenn Beck and Clydie Clyde (1988-1990)
- Mark Waldi (1990-1991)
- The Barsky Show, with Paul Barsky - September 23, 1991 - March 15, 1993
- Sam Malone and the Morning Show, with Maria Todd and Psycho Robbie - March 31, 1993 - September 8, 2004
- Sam Malone and the Morning Show, with Maria Todd and Johnny Bravo - September 9, 2004 - March 4, 2005
- Atom Smasher and Maria Todd in the Morning, with Johnny Bravo and Josh Reno - March 28, 2005 - July 7, 2006
- Mixshow DJs
- Tim Flanigan (former Ocean Club Dj, whereabouts unknown)
- DJ Rich (now DJ RIDDLER currently at KKHH ] and at Sirius Satellite Radio)
- Mark D (currently spinning at Rich's nightclub and produces mixes for XM Satellite Radio's BPM Channel 81