|WGVX 105.1 MHz||Lakeville||2,600 watts||A|
|WGVY 105.3 MHz||Cambridge||25,000 watts||C3|
|WGVZ 105.7 MHz||Eden Prairie||950 watts||A|
WGVX, WGVY and WGVZ is a trimulcast serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, and an area of central Minnesota to the north. The three stations are now owned by Citadel Broadcasting, along with sister stations KQRS-FM and KXXR.
On May 8, 2007, the three stations flipped to an oldies/soft adult contemporary hybrid format as Love 105, featuring mellow cuts by artists including Chicago, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Sade, Bread, and many others. The playlist also includes occasional adult standards, from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin, along with some more traditional oldies. Prior to this, they were Drive 105, playing adult-leaning alternative rock.
In their most notable incarnation, the 105 signals broadcast under the moniker REV105, which was a critically acclaimed alternative rock station with a widely diverse playlist. After being purchased by ABC Radio in 1997, the station went through a few transformations.
Citadel has recently moved WGVZ from Eden Prairie to the IDS tower in downtown Minneapolis. This significantly improved reception of the station in Minneapolis and western Saint Paul despite the proposed drop in effective radiated power from 5,800 Watts to 950 Watts.
Prior to their unification as REV105, the three transmitters were known by other names.
Today's WGVX was first licensed as KZPZ on November 15, 1990. They officially signed on the air in late 1992 as WTCX, airing a Hot AC format targeting the south metro area of the Twin Cities. This was the initial FM station purchased by Cargill Communications in 1993 to form the future REV105, and the call letters were changed to KREV in 1994.
WGVY began as KABG during the 1970s on 105.5. Call letters were changed to KXLV in 1983, and in 1991 the station increased its power, which necessitated a move to 105.3, and on December 13, 1991 became the latest of the many frequencies to use the WLOL call letters, after WLOL-FM was purchased by Minnesota Public Radio and the KSJN call letters were moved from 91.1 to 99.5. This longtime adult contemporary station became the northern signal of REV105, with the call letters changed to WREV in 1994.
WGVZ was first licensed as KOUO on March 26, 1992 to Jack Moore (creator/owner of the former Twin Cities stations WAYL 93.7 FM and KTWN 107.9 FM), and signed on as KCFE (Cafe 105.7) on March 11, 1993, airing a light jazz/adult album alternative format (which resembled the original format of Cities 97 from the 1980s, which was modeled largely on Moore's KTWN circa late '70s-early '80s). The station carried Don Imus's syndicated morning show for a short time. In October 1996, KCFE was sold to Cargill and briefly become REV105's third transmitter, prior to all three stations being sold to ABC Radio the following March.
REV105, "Revolution Radio," was owned by Cargill Communications (headed by Jim and Susan Cargill, heirs to the massive Cargill company fortune) and broadcast under the call signs KREV, WREV, and later KCFE on three different frequencies (105.1, 105.3 and 105.7). REV105 played a fairly wide variety of music, mostly alternative rock, and put a lot of time into promoting music from local performers. Minnesota has a very active music community, and a number of very diverse artists have received national attention (see music in Minnesota). Area highschoolers also contributed to some of the programming put on the air.
The station's genesis came out of another station. From 1990 to 1992, KJJO (KJ104) was an adventurous modern rock station, and gained a devoted (if small) listening audience. The station switched to country music in 1992, and many held out hope that KJ104's format would resurface soon. Two former KJ104 staffers, Brian Turner and Kevin Cole, actively sought out stations to pick up the format (on several occasions, they were turned down by the owners of both WTCX and KCFE).
Finally, with financial backing from the Cargills, they found that the owner of WTCX was ready to sell. In November 1993, they purchased WTCX for $2.6 million, along with big band music-formatted KLBB for $1 million and small suburban country music outlet KBCW for $400,000. The plan was to turn the one FM and two AMs into a modern rock radio network, eventually simulcasting programming around the country. Plans changed eventually and they decided to go with a more local approach (though REV105 did syndicate a show, Spin Radio for a short time). Soon, they were able to purchase WLOL (WTCX's immediate neighbor on the dial). Turner, Cole, and the Cargills were reluctant to change the big band music on KLBB, since it did have a small, if dedicated following, and decided not only to keep the format, but to simulcast it on their other AM signal, 1470 (105.3's legendary call letters, WLOL, were shifted to 1470). The only other changes made to KLBB was to give it a "hipper" sound, incorporating more lounge music and fresher advertising and imaging. Hence, the foundation of Rev 105 was set, with KREV and WREV soon to come.
The group's intended programming plans were public knowledge at the time and highly publicized. ABC Radio themselves felt the time was right to lay their own claim to the rapidly rising alternative rock format. On February 6, 1994, ABC agreed to purchase KQRS' main rival, KRXX (the first "93X") from Entercom, and KQRS management immediately took control of the station. Within two days, the former 93X became the Twin Cities' newest modern rock station, "93.7 The Edge". In effect, ABC killed two birds with one stone by striking down a bitter rival, and warding off a potential new one. This did not change Turner's and Cole's plans at all, as they felt their station would be unique enough to compete in the market. Pending FCC approval of Cargill's own station deals, WTCX officially went off the air February 7, 1994 (coincidentally, the first full day of The Edge's new format). WLOL followed on April 24. On May 1, REV105's eclectic new alternative rock format took to the air, with the first official song being "Crazy" by Patsy Cline.
REV105 was a unique station. They would not be an ordinary, consultant-programmed modern rock station like The Edge. Rather, they took many elements from typical modern rock stations, added a heavy amount of new, obscure and local artists, and mixed in other musical styles such as industrial, punk, classic rock, hip hop, world music, dance music and techno. According to Cole, when REV started, it would play the newly popular Green Day next to old Who songs, comparing and contrasting two different instances of similar music. In addition, there were a large number of specialty shows, featuring other musical styles like "old school" funk, imports, club mixes and ambient music. REV105 was instrumental in introducing newer artists to the airwaves, such as Ani DiFranco and Soul Coughing. As music critic Jim DeRogatis said, "The brilliance of REV105 was that I would hear a set that would go Bob Marley to Nine Inch Nails to Black Sabbath. And that's how real people listen to music."
The new "Revolution Radio" was a mild success, even with the high-powered competition from The Edge. In the first full ratings book, they obtained a 1.5 overall Arbitron rating, and did even better in the 18-34 age breakdown. Ratings were hampered throughout the station's history by signal reception issues, the eclectic nature of their format, and their limited budget. Signal issues were perhaps their biggest issue, as Rev's ratings were similar or higher than any of its successor stations. The limited transmitter reach of 105.1 and 105.3 were helped when Cargill purchased another neighboring signal, KCFE (Cafe 105.7) in October 1996, which improved their reach in the southwest suburbs and particularly in Minneapolis, where a large number of their listening audience resided.
REV105 enjoyed an almost three year run. But the end came at noon on March 11, 1997. That was when the station was purchased by competitor Disney/Capitol Cities/ABC, which already owned two powerful 100 kilowatt stations in the Twin Cities, KQRS-FM and KEGE (93.7 FM "The Edge"). By 1:15, most of the airstaff was fired, and the station was reborn with a hard rock format as "X105", with the three stations receiving the call letters KXXR, KXXU and KXXP.
This situation became a focal point for critics of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Fans of REV105 banded together to protest the loss of REV105, and out of this, the group Americans for Radio Diversity was formed. The purchase received fairly widespread news coverage, with articles appearing in Billboard magazine and Rolling Stone, where Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty stated, "Having officially walked through every radio station in North America, I can honestly say REV was the only one that had a cause that was righteous." Of course, Doughty had a somewhat personal stake in the station, as it is partially credited for making him very popular in the state (some have said that one in eight Soul Coughing albums were sold in Minnesota).
Many feel that the motivation to purchase REV105 was to eliminate the competition (as ABC obtained the rights to all intellectual property of REV105, including their logos and website, and Cargill reportedly signed a non-compete agreement). The purchase was seen in some ways as a defensive maneuver against other growing radio conglomerates such as Chancellor Broadcasting which then owned seven radio stations in the Twin Cities (eventually purchased by radio giant Clear Channel Communications in 1999). Of course, the basic fact remains that Cargill could not compete as a stand-alone owner in this environment and saw this as a perfect opportunity to sell the station. According to Cargill, "As we saw all this consolidation in the market, we just didn't feel we were going to be able to survive."
REV105 was in many ways a successor to the Twin Cities area's original "alternative" station, KJJO 104.1 FM (now KZJK), which changed their format in 1992. Kevin Cole, the former program director at REV105, and a veteran of the old KJ104, later resurfaced at KEXP in Seattle, Washington. General Manager Brian Turner eventually went back to KTCZ, where he worked in the 1980s and hosts their morning show. In 2005, a few former REV hosts reunited at Minnesota Public Radio, as they signed on a new station, KCMP. "89.3 The Current", as they're called, has some similarities to REV105's old format. Although not mentioned in the overall Arbitron ratings released to the public, The Current has had some ratings success.
|Name (call signs)||Format|
|REV 105 (KREV/WREV/KCFE)|| Alternative (1994-1997)|
(KCFE added 10/96)
|X105 (KXXP/KXXU/KXXR)||Active Rock (1997)|
|Zone 105 (KZNR/KZNT/KZNZ)|| Adult Album Alternative (1997–1999)|
Classic alternative (1999–2000)
|V105 (WGVX/WGVY/WGVZ)||Rhythmic Oldies (2001–2002)|
|Drive 105 (WGVX/WGVY/WGVZ)|| Adult Album Alternative (2002–2004)|
|Love 105 (WGVX/WGVY/WGVZ)||Soft AC/Oldies (2007-present)|
Soon after the birth of X105, a new hard rock station arrived in the Twin Cites when WBOB dropped country music and switched to a hard rock format with Howard Stern's morning show. ABC has long done everything in its power to fight off any potential competitors to its main highly rated station, KQRS-FM. The two stations swapped formats on September 18 when KEGE, the station with the stronger signal, became 93X once again and X105 became Zone 105, with an adult alternative format a week later. After a few months, 93X took the KXXR callsign from the former X105, and the three Zone 105 stations became KZNR, KZNT and KZNZ.
After the station became Zone 105, a few of the old REV hosts were brought back. Brian Oake, who had gone over to The Edge, and Mary Lucia hosted the morning show, and Lucia hosted a weekly local music program named Popular Creeps from the local Bryant-Lake Bowl. Creeps won multiple awards for programming quality.
Over time, Zone 105 went in more of a classic alternative direction but toward the end of its run leaned more towards alternative rock. None of the post-REV 105 incarnations of these frequencies were true alternative rock, as the frequency had to keep a safe distance between itself and sister station 93X. For this reason, any song with a rock "edge" was discarded by the 105s during this time.
On March 8, 2001, after so-so ratings as an alternative rock station, the three Zone 105 stations became V105, an automated rhythmic oldies outlet. Call letters were changed to the current WGVX, WGVY and WGVZ. V105 lasted less than a year before reverting back to a revised version of the old Zone 105's format as "Drive 105" on January 17 2002.
Drive 105's format was an adult-oriented version of a typical alternative rock station, and similar in many ways to the previous Zone 105. However the fact that they were forced to distance themselves from sister station 93X by avoiding harder-edged rock meant that they played a lot of music that has more in common with the adult album alternative format. For the better part of the last several years, the station frequently promoted "This station is not owned or operated by Clear Channel Communications," though the station was actually part of another huge media conglomerate—Disney.
Drive 105, along with sister stations KQRS-FM and KXXR (93X), were often referred to as Disney's "Wall Of Rock". Both 93X and the 105's are programmed with formats designed to fight competition off of Disney's flagship in the market, top-rated KQRS. When WRQC became a KQRS-fighting rock station in 1997, the current KXXR switched to a similar format despite a profitable alternative format already on that frequency. It is widely known in the local market that Disney will go to great lengths to protect its "cash cow".
In fact Drive 105 was in large part created to ward off competition from KTCZ, Cities 97. After the fall of Zone 105 and in the months before Drive 105 was created, Cities 97 made significant gains in the 25-54 age group. Disney saw this as a threat to KQRS and created Drive 105 originally to jab at Cities 97's ratings. To keep a distance from sister 93X, the station targeted an older age group than most alternative stations, hence the unique adult alternative format not heard in any other market in the United States. Like predecessor Zone 105, Drive would avoid any song that featured a significant amount of guitar distortion. When the station first aired in January 2002 they aired spots such as, "Remember when Cities 97 and KS95 sounded different? We do, that's why we're true to the music." This was a stab at Cities 97's old slogan, "true to the music" and a criticism of its recent tweak in the direction of pop sounding KS95. During its first two years on the air Drive 105 frequently made cracks at Cities 97. However, this came to end after criticism from the public and as the station began to take on an identity of its own.
Ratings-wise, Drive 105, like all of the previous formats, were hampered by the limited signal reach in the Twin Cities area and experienced only moderate success, usually reaching a 1% or 2% overall ratings share. Just before 3:00 PM on Monday May 7, 2007, the plug was pulled on the three signals' longest-running incarnation. Drive 105 played its last song, "Say It Ain't So" by Weezer, prior to temporarily switching over to a simulcast of sister station KXXR, in anticipation of a format flip. The flip to the current Love 105 happened at 5:30 AM the next morning, with Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" as the new format's debut song.
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