Dre\’s Ramblings


Welcome the Vulcan, farewell gospel; the radio station carousel continues

UPDATE: 1.24.2007 – The Vulcan named their program manager yesterday. Click here to learn more.

 

UPDATE: Here’s a post from December 21, providing good news for fans of Reg’s Coffee House

NOTE: Here’s a post from Wednesday morning, December 6, about the current buzz taking place around town.

I hopped in the car, shorts and all, knowing that in all likelihood I would not be able to play Kickball yet again due to my wanting to update the home computer making it more usable (at least in my mind). By the way, you may want to know that the game is becoming so popular that Birmingham Magazine sent a photographer out to yesterday’s game. I started surfing through stations and stopped for a bit listening to some music. I really didn’t pay attention to where the seek function on the car radio had stopped. I then heard “You’re listening to 105.5 The Vulcan.

So Birmingham once again has an alternative music station, one owned by Clear Channel. The result of alternative rock lovers outcry (including mine) over the loss of the X at 100.5 was the loss of Hallelujah FM, a gospel station on the FM dial. Currently, visiting their former site only lets listeners know of the change. I have not necessarily stumbled across another FM signal for gospel music, meaning that fans will have to rely on the AM side of the dial for their fix. It may make some wonder about the changing demographics or tastes of the metropolitan area. Hallelujah FM consistently ranked in the top 10 of the local Arbitron ratings, the number that usually matters most for broadcasters. Unfortunately in this battle for radio supremacy, listener groups always suffer the most. It was interesting that many people, save the ones that listened to Hallelujah FM faithfully, did not know of the station’s launch unless they stumbled across it like I did (or receive Britney Kidd’s bulletin on MySpace yesterday). I’m sure that it was similar to the way that the guys at the X found out about their future.

I hope that this new venture is successful. The company recently announced plans to sell off stations that were located outside of the top 100 markets. Alabama had two casualties, Montgomery and Gadsden. I suppose that they feel that they can try out some more ideas with less to handle.

I have only one question; Will the guys at corporate let this station truly be an alternative music source for the region, perhaps allowing a local program manager to do as their title suggests, or will the station simply be another outlet for the corporate model applied to most stations nowadays where decisions on the songs played come from outside of the area? Maybe if they become the local vehicle for Reg’s Coffee House, they may be able to take some of the music featured and inject it into the playlist. It still makes you wonder where the outcry will be for those that enjoyed their gospel.

Not to say that it’s not already starting. I noticed several people stumble across a post that talks about an old, non-functioning neon sign in the city’s Civil Rights district. It used to be called “The People’s Station.” The call letters should be familiar to listeners of the X in the old days, WENN. It’s the same letters now associated with The Vulcan. I know that not everyone can be satisfied all of the time, but the current search should tell people that they may want to find out what we truly and really want around here, all of us.

For the new station, let’s see if we can bring back Vulcan doing the weather in Vulcan degrees. Let’s also hope that they listen to their listeners. People don’t have to vote with their wallets on this one; only with their preset buttons on the radio. Otherwise I know of some people who’d really love to hear some gospel on FM…

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46 Comments so far
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I listened to 105.5 a bit last night, and I thought it was interesting they proclaimed themselves a “rock” station and not an “alternative” station. They’re certainly playing a slightly harder mix of stuff than the X did in its last incarnation.

Comment by cbuchanan

which is why it was SOO much better

Comment by Ryan

The Vulcan is very similar to the X a few years before, playing more of an actual variety instead of what the mother company had programmed. There is, of course, not a single commercial that will be played on the Vulcan until after the holidays if you haven’t already noticed. Also, there are no DJs yet…
I think the true test as to what type of station this will be is when they actually have a crew and something besides a computer choosing random music from a compilation…

Comment by mary

Very true Mary. It’s a game of wait and see right now. And there’s still the question of who’s going to pick up where Halleljulah FM left off.

Comment by dresramblings

I consider myself one of those people who just luv music. I listened to 100.5 , the X and I was fond of 107.7 when it was alternative and I now listen to it as an R&B station, but what I don’t understand is that if Birmingham’s only FM gospel station was doing well,which I know it was because B-ham is a prime market for Gospel and this station even expanded and went to a larger frequency a couple of months ago, why would you get rid of it for a lack luster alternative rock station. I’ll tell you why RACISM!!!!!!! When this station fails it will be Divine retribution

Comment by Jazz

This reminds me of what the X was before corporate took over, remember ‘The Bear’. I hope this station will stay just the way it is. Please bring back the Vulcan weatherman.

Comment by Lynn

I have to agree with Lynn, it reminds me of The Bear , actual rock not alternative . Very good so far !

Comment by Russell

very very good. it is what we have needed. Not alternative , but new rock. Good so far. Dont screw it up.

Comment by gman

I have been listening to the new 105.5 for the past two days and i love it. Not only do they play hard stuff they play enough true alternative to satisfy my want. It reminds me of what 105.9 The Bear used to be like. Love it!

Comment by Cargo

Birmingham NEEDED a Rock station, especially with the ending of the X. I don’t see why racism has to be brought into everything. This has nothing to do with racism. Rock music is in great demand here and it’s about time we have a decent station to listen to it. Gospel can be found on the AM frequency several places. This is the only Rock station we have. Not everyone in Birmingham is religious.

Comment by SuzyQ

best rock station birmingham has ever had…yall hiring

Comment by Len

I will say a couple of things. First of all, I hope that the good Lord is NOT going to use fire and brimstone to punish all those that listen to this station by not letting it succeed.
Second, unfortunately, race is an issue (at least one that will be perceived). The station that the Vulcan replaces was in the TOP 5 of ALL STATIONS in the Birmingham listening area! This means that it was more popular than most of the other stations, rock ones included, in this town. People are going to ask that question, whether it was done on purpose or not. The gospel station had just changed frequencies before the summer started and was gaining listeners. This new station is on auto pilot until the on-air talent is hired; we’ll have to wait and see what happens in terms of it being a good station or not.
If the rock station was limited to AM signals, I’m sure you would not have appreciated that comment at all Suzy.
Third, I’ve noticed that several comments have been made from the same computer. I write this because I love seeing what others think and love to see conversations continue. I do hope that people are brave enough to post comments under one name. Besides that, keep the dialogue going!

Comment by dresramblings

First off … I’m a grumpy old man waiting for the day Birmingham hatches a good classic rock station with deeper cuts and more playlist variety (if I hear Frampton’s “Do you Feel …” one more time … Anyway, I listened to the Vulcan on the way home tonight, definitely seemed like current rock on the hard side … but the non-music content was very X-ish, sophomoric clip about a pit bull for example, Vulcan-like snips. I think you’re going to be fed some corporate programmed stew, but I will listen just to hear how this radio shuffle plays out.

Comment by Grumpy Old Man

The Vulcan has a website up:

http://www.1055thevulcan.com

And if there was any doubt, it is a distributor of soft porn … errr wait, it is a rock station, no wait … oh, I am so confused!

Comment by Grumpy Old Man

Will there be another gospel station.
If so where is the station.

Pamela

Comment by Pamela Smith

I feel that we need to keep the gospel music alive. African American hardly ever listen to rock, acutally, I think that it was done on purpose just to keep Jesus off the air, but no one can stop the voice of Jesus, you can hinder it, but you can’t stop. I say that at least put on a different station, don’t cut it out all together.

concerned citizen,

Pamela Smith, Jasper, AL

Comment by Pamela Smith

This is all remeniscent of when Atlanta’s Power99 changed over to 99X many years ago. There was not advance notice, not DJs for a little while. There were a lot of people upset about loosing their bubble gum pop station in favor of a retro 80’s station (at the time) but eventually everyone found their new homes on the dial (preset or otherwise).

Comment by curtis

I, personally, am glad to hear the rock/alt music back on the air. Sorry that the previous station had to go, but as I’ve seen…that’s how it goes in the Ham. I just don’t understand why they do things on the DL leaving all the listeners sitting and scratching their heads wondering what happened to their favorite station. Kinda sketchy. I’m loving the new station…hope it does well and stays for a long time. It’ll be interesting to see who the djs will be.

Comment by Chas

So far I like the music they are playing on 105.5 now. I just looked at the website and it looks just like 103.7 the Q’s site. Hmmm, not so good. I agree that it seams like the Bear which I loved, but if it is owned by Clear Channel it is only a matter of time before they play the same 10 songs all day long. We should enjoy this while it lasts.

Comment by Melissa Isbell

Racism! come on man, this is a great station.Boohoo for the bible thumpers, YEA for ROCK!

Comment by Barry

I don’t have a problem with rock music personally I can actually listen to it and bob my head, but at the same time don’t you guys think yall already have enought stations to listen to that caters to the non-ethnic community. Birmingham radio stations need more diversity. The only thing the ethnic community have to listen to on the FM dial is 95.7 jamz, kiss98.7, hot107.7, and 92.9 which you can hardly pick up. I don’t think it’s a racist issue, but I can see why other people whould think that and that is because no radio station what to cater to the ethnic community. Me being an African-American would like to have more choices when it come to what type of urban music I would like to listen to. Personally, my opinion is that this is one of Satan’s ways to currupt our minds by taking the gospel away from us. I do not believe it’s racism because at the end, it boils down to religion. If Clear Channel had good faith in religion and believe in diversity, then they wouldn’t take the only gospel station we had and turn it into a rock station, especially when it was the top radio station in the city.

Comment by A

I don’t see what racism and gospel music have to do with each other. Gospel music is not listened to by only African Americans. Non-ethnic people listen to gospel music also. I would agree it may be a religious thing but not a racial one at all.

I also would not care if this station was on AM or FM..as long as we had a good rock station to listen to. I disagree the “non-ethnic” population has enough to listen to…..there are no other decent stations for us out there…this is it for us rock lovers. I’ve come across plenty of stations that seem to cater to other groups so I don’t see what the big deal is in giving us a good station for a change.

Rock on The Vulcan!

Comment by SuzyQ

Considering some of the commentary on here, and assuming that many of you have not been looking at some of the newer posts on the site, I’d like to encourage you to look at a couple of my more recent posts… including one from this morning and one from yesterday.

This one includes information about whether or not the name will stay.

This one offers (in the comments section) some interesting perspectives about what’s actually happening in the industry.

Check them out. I’d like to think that maybe some of this stems (at least on the rock side of things) as to what your definition of “rock” is. We do have other rock stations in town, they just don’t play what some of you like. And (on the gospel side of things) there are other gospel stations in the area, but the idea of trying to fight for an AM signal in a hilly area such as metro Birmingham is a little difficult for many.

Just some more observations to throw out there.

Comment by dresramblings

I’m sorry that anyones loses their favorite station. Whether it’s rock/alternative, gospel, whatever, but the X was the only alternative station in B’ham. It really wasn’t the best alternative, but it was the only one. There are more than one Hip Hop, Oldies, Rap & R&B, Country, Talk and Gospel stations, so why are people being so selfish? What would Jesus do?

Comment by Lynn

If you want to have a good look at where the Vulcan is heading look here:

http://www.project961.com/main.html

96 Rock was a great classic rock station in Atlanta that made the same sort of abrupt switch to become Project 9-6-1 on November 17th of this year.

I think you can listen to the live broadcast from the site.

I have listened to “The Project” while in ATL recently … good rock station … just don’t recall ANYTHING about DJs … maybe they are still on cruise control, too. Perhaps they are simul-casting????

GOM

Comment by Grumpy Old Man

The other rock stations played classic rock, 80s rock, and oldies. The X was the only new rock/alternative rock station and it was getting worse to me. The sad thing is that classic rock 99.5 was the only station that would play Metallica, not the X. I prefer hard rock and metal to alternative so a station that plays music that does not contain a piano solo is a welcome change. This station is awesome right now, let’s [see] what happens later.

Comment by Coyote

I’m glad we have a new rock station. I miss the X, and 105.5 has replaced it. I really like it. I’m sorry the gospel folks lost their station but it’s not the only gospel in town, is it?

Comment by Patricia Hefner

I love The Vulcan 105.5. I was horrified when the X went off the air. I think that this market needs at least one alternative rock station. I am so glad that the programming has more of an edge than the X did. I love that they mix some old metal in with the nu-metal. This station has a strong signal – I can pick it up past Jasper!

Comment by Cecelia W

[…] Partly due to lack of focus and lack of motivation I haven’t taken the time to flesh it out with any “stuff”.  Recently the city of Birmingham experienced a fairly innocuous event.  After some previous frequency shuffling a local radio station The X, WRAX, an alternative rock format station abruptly was converted to The Vulcan, a rock format station using the call letters of WENN by the broadcasting giant Clear Channel.  In the process of trying to find out a bit about this transition, I found Dre’s Ramblings and this thread, here. […]

Pingback by The Grumpy Old Man Blog » Blog Archive » The Grumpy Old Man Awakes!

Amazing station! In my opinion it’s much better than the X was. At the beginning, The X was awesome, but they just went downhill after they switched stations, they didn’t play as good of music. I really love this station, so does my mom! We always turn it on when we get in the car, and dance. It’s by far the best station in Alabama. I feel bad that they cut off the gospel station, but come on! It’s over and done with now, There will most likely be more people listening to rock music than gospel. I know me, and all of my other friends love it! 😀

Comment by Courtney

Love it! I am 55 years old and LOVE new music.
The Vulcan 105.5 has made my day I was considering ordering Serieus Radio because we lost our only alternative station in Birmingam. Who said Alternative Rock was only for the young? The young at heart love it, too. As a matter of fact, I have heard some songs that I’m crazy about and would love to know the artist’s (Crazy Bitch). I hope The Vulcan gets some cool DJs soon and the name, artists and titles of the songs be announced so I can buy the CDs. Keep up the great job and give us a chance to continue to listen to the kind of music we LOVE. Thank you for creating a format for the audience, that includes ALL ages, so that we can thrive on new alternative music. As with other commenters on this site, I think the Vulcan is better than the X and it really ROCKS. LOVE IT, LOVE IT! Thanks for listening to my opinion.
Sincerely,
Young at Heart

Comment by Young at Heart

For those that check back on the site regularly and who haven’t heard the good news about Reg’s Coffeehouse, please click here and scroll down to the second headline. I can’t wait until Sunday!

Comment by dresramblings

Gosh. I’m 55 and love alternative rock, and all rock. Does that make me young at heart?
I know you got to sell ad space to survive, so that I can expect. So far I’m with you, good job.
There is a lot of music that is not the title track or hot track of a given CD, but if you just keep playing the most popular songs over and over, your going to be just another station. Be big and bold, like Vulcan, and play all the artists music.
And another thing, I’m not a prude, but you don’t need to be crude. You can loose the “You bitch …” clip. Its already old and grinding. That’s just my worthless two cents.

Comment by Jacey

Someone should comment on the possibility of the return of Beaner and Ken. Should The Vulcan bring them back?

Comment by Christi

BTW – I like the new mix of rock music, but I hope a little more of the alternative makes it into the line-up. As much as I like Nirvana, I’ve moved on and don’t care to hear them as much as I did in the 90’s. I do like the old rock, and the edgier new rock, but it would be nice to hear great alternative at least half of the time.

Comment by Christi

I love the new Vulcan. Everyone is upset about the gospel station, but is 93.7 not considered a gospel station? Its contemporary christian, but isn’t that what the 105.5 used to be? I love the new Vulcan channel though!

Comment by Cindy

I normally don’t say something like this, but I’m going to pretend that Cindy did not ask that question… except to say that comparing contemporary Christian to gospel is like comparing Nirvana to Puff Daddy. Both are well liked, but they’re nothing alike.

Comment by dresramblings

Jacey… the comment from Young at Heart was actually Crazy Bitch, and she’s refering to a song that is played on the Vulcan… she’s not calling names. PLEASE!!!

Comment by chris

Chris, Jacey wasn’t talking about Young at Heart’s comment. J’s comment was about one of the radio spots where the term was used. You may not want to jump the gun so soon. Thanks for the comment though.

Comment by dresramblings

duuude. the vulcan is frikkin sweet! i listen to it day and night..shahh they play everything! well, everything that actually matters! its like outta control awesomness to the extreme maximum! keep rokkin.

Comment by melinda

It was GREAT when you guy’s played just straight music, off the computer, before “Lex & Terri” it was the BEST station in town!
PLEASE, PLEASE bring back BEANER & KEN!!!!!! That is ALL you are missing!!!!!!!!
I can’t STAND their am show!
I have not been able to listen to your station in the am, due to not being able to stomach it. It’s like they are trying SO HARD to be cool, they are NOT funny, and JUST GET ON YOUR LAST NERVE!
PLEASE, consider bringing back Beaner & Ken, PLEASE!
Or, at least if they must be on, just have them say “Good morning” and then hit play so we can hear the music that you had on before them.
You had sooo–ooooo many people that raved on and on about it BEFORE these guys were brought on!
thanks for your time,
Leyla~

Comment by Leyla

I was the first to suggest it… please bring back Beaner and Ken!! Death to Lex and Terri.. (not really, just wishful thinking).

Comment by Christi

I am looking for information for the X Fest. If you could give me a webcite were I can find a listing of bands and such please.
I think 105.5 is just what birmingham needed except for one thing. I listened to Lex and Terry’s morning show for 3 hours and did not hear not one song. I like the bantering and such but I expect to hear music when I listen to the radio.

Comment by phyllis

Thanks Dre, exactly right, I was referring to the stations promo. ‘The Vulcan’ is the only X in town, I need it to feed the inner me. (Some day, I will buy a CD player)

Comment by Jacey

Bring Back Beaner and KEN!!!!!!!

Comment by Doug

What a rubbish. How can you call it a website. Change the style, so it will be a bit more interesting

Comment by Lemon Essential Oil




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