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PD Scarborough Says:  "Not A Fad;"
Advertisers Flock To Format

     When Mike Joseph started "Hot Hits" rolling, he knew he had a good thing. As with anything successful, others have grabbed hold for the ride to ratings and revenue. KHTR/St. Louis is an example of a station using many of Joseph's principles while learning from the experiences of CBS O&O sister stations WCAU-FM/ Philadelphia and WBBM-FM/Chicago, which both ran the Hot Hits format and subsequently modified its all-currents approach to include recurrents and a few oldies as well.

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  "I was appointed PD while KMOX-FM was still a background A/C station, and in August of 1981 we began an ever-so-slow transition toward CHR." Ed points out that it was more than just the philosophy of emphasizing currents which made the difference. "St. Louis, like a few other major markets, was primed for someone to fill a gaping format void created when the rush to go A/C was in full swing."
                  Filling A Hole

     Sparked by the success of WCAU-FM and WBBM-FM, KMOX-FM decided to do its own version of  'Hit Radio.'   "It was almost two years since KSLQ decided to go A/C, completing the effort by shedding those teen-oriented calls in favor of KYKY," recalled Ed.  "The hole was almost big enough to drive a truck through, but no one wanted to fill it.  We finally realized that you can only share that A/C pie so many ways."

    Tim went on to say, "The process of going CHR took almost a year and was complete in August 1982, just after malting a visit to WBBM-FM. At that time we were only playing six currents an hour, but right after the trip Ed jumped that to about 11." He drew an interesting analogy: "It's like taking a successful Broadway show on the road. It worked in Philadelphia, was a smash in Chicago, so why not St. Louis? we asked. KHTR really benefitted by their mistakes and from the positive ends of our sister stations' experience with a CHR format."

     Ed admitted, "We had straddled the fence for a long time, and agonized over songs that were too hard or too soft for us. We decided that if John Cougar had a hit record, then we were going to play it instead of rationalizing if songs were too extreme for us to deal with. At that point in our minds we made the jump to CHR."   

     I mentioned that KHTR has done something both WCAU-FM and WBBM-FM haven't done - put two up books together. "We'd like to make it at least three," Tim said, "I think it's something we can continue. I think the reason for our upward trend is that we're not a duplicate of those stations. We started KHTR where WCAU-FM and WBBM-FM have now evolved to. We've had currents, recurrents, and oldies on since the beginning. When you look at a Hot Hits station, they're all currents and no oldies."

                     Spreading The Word
               With The Phrase That Pays

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of KHTR's success was that the numbers in the first book "were simply attained by word of mouth," as Tim remarked.  "We hadn't changed our calls, but we

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     During a candid conversation with   PD Ed Scarborough and Station  Manager Tim Dorsey   (who have been in St. Louis for a  combined  total of 14 years),  I  was able to   learn how they went about building a powerful new image for a previously colorless station. Along the way, both gentlemen shared some interesting thoughts on contests, music, and the CHR format in general.

                      KMOX-FM To KHTR

     If you live in St. Louis, it's hard not to listen to KMOX (AM) at some point in time. The station is almost indelibly etched in the community consciousness with its 50kw signal and well-known personalities, which add up to a perennial 20+ rating. Then there was KMOX-FM . . . a   station with a small budget, no promotion, a semi-undefined A/C format, and a big signal with loads of potential. How do you get out from under your big sister?
     "There is no question that KMOX-FM for years has been in the shadow of KMOX," remarked Ed. "For that matter, every station in the market is in its shadow. What's happened during the last two books is that KMOX is still way above everyone with 20 shares, but then KHTR begins the next level of ratings." KMOX-FM debuted with a 6.9 share, changed calls to KHTR, and in the just-released winter Arbitron moved up to an 8.8 share, number two overall. In teens, KHTR has an amazing 40+ adults, in 18-34 it's a strong third, and it's looking healthy in fourth place for 25-49 adults.

"My primary concern is that the station sounds consistent in the morning, afternoon, and at night. If we aren't, then the people that tune in for one thing willhear something they're not expecting in another daypart and we'll end up satisfying very few in the long run."