As a classic rock station, 96.9 The Eagle is trapped in a time machine.
His playlist revolves around bands that have released albums on 8-track cassettes and graced the cover of Hit Parader magazine. His website features photos of “Rock Girls” posing seductively next to classic cars.
On weekday mornings, its airwaves are filled with the cackling “Bob & Tom Show,” a syndicated comedy program so old that “Bob” retired seven years ago.
But from an unusual perspective, The Eagle acts modern.
In late spring, KKGL-FM unveils a custom version of its station logo on Facebook. The familiar bald eagle head is superimposed on a Pride flag, in support of the LGBTQ community. The rainbow-colored transformation coincides with Pride Month, celebrated internationally every June.
Not all listeners in the Boise area — and beyond — were thrilled.
So last week, The Eagle did what any member of the dwindling legacy media in the face of customer complaints could do.
The station announced that the logo would remain. Even though Pride month was over.
“The flag stays up for another month, do it”, The Eagle writes on facebook. “If we continue to be harassed, it will go another month. Plus, Freddie Mercury rules.
The threat is not in vain. In 2021, the station extended the campaign all summer, published on August 2: “We warned you, now the pride flag remains for another month.”
Radio hit? Publicity shot ? Are they milking this now? Or is it a sincere gesture from caring and socially progressive local staff?
I wish I could tell you. It’s a mystery.
The company that owns the Eagle, Cumulus Media – whose slogan, ironically, is “Where every voice counts” – declined a request for an interview. (So the station Is have at least one other modern, albeit sad aspect.)
Exactly how much outrage is Pride support really generating? Are there also phone calls? Emails?
We just don’t know.
Either way, the situation is an internet marketing sensation. The Eagle’s Facebook page has over 377,000 likes and 384,000 followers – extraordinary numbers for any radio station, let alone licensed in Nampa, Idaho.
The post about leaving the rainbow flag until July received nearly 4,000 comments and 3,500 shares. So far. There is also a thread on the Boise Reddit page with 115 comments.
The Eagle makes fun of negative comments on Facebook. And the vast majority of reviews are positive.
“Remember last year… how many snowflakes did you cry, because of that?” a Facebook commenter wrote. “Hands down one of my favorite things about seeing old men go off balance.”
Old men? It’s hard to know which segment of society represents the most furious “listeners.” Obviously, they’re not all from Idaho.
But, yeah, some people apparently get tripped up when you combine an eagle with a gay pride symbol.
“Wake up, go bankrupt!” one commenter replied to The Eagle, adding “Enjoy the descent!” before promoting a crazy conspiracy theory.
Yet many more people are becoming inspired.
“Can we talk about how the eagle is a symbol of our freedom?” a commenter wrote last year. “So that means your freedom to do whatever you want with your picture, and my freedom to be married to my wife.”
If some listeners actually turn the dial? Not serious. Through social media and streaming, The Eagle is also adding new fans.
“I love seeing him. I listened when I lived in Boise, only to listen again in Oregon,” one wrote.
“I’m listening to you now on Radio Garden. New fan in Lexington, KY!” writes another.
“Right now I’m listening to your show from FL, and I’ve NEVER been to Idaho in my life,” another added.
Meanwhile, the Eagle continues to fly those rainbow colors. While launching a resolutely grizzled rock music.
As the station asked this week: “WWDBD (What Would David Bowie Do)”.
This story was originally published July 6, 2022 1:05 p.m.