The country music radio hadn’t even left the Bay Area before another station made sure it stuck around.
San Jose station KBAY-FM (94.5) switched from its classic hits format to country on Tuesday afternoon, less than two weeks after KRTY – at the time the last country station in the Bay Area – announced that it had been sold and would cease broadcasting in June.
Bay 94.5’s last song was Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” just before 3 p.m., and then things got a little more nasal with the launch of “Bay Country.”
A local staff, yet to be announced, will be joined on April 15 by “The Bobby Bones Show,” a syndicated program from Austin that’s heard on more than 150 stations nationwide and is slated to air on mornings on weekdays from 6 to 10 am. While non-domestic fans may not know Bones’ co-hosts — Amy, Eddie and Lunchbox — he may be familiar from his appearances on “Dancing with the Stars” and as a mentor on “American Idol.”
Unfortunately for KBAY listeners, the change means the loss of the format of the classic hits of the past six years and the adult contemporary music that preceded it for more than 20 years, along with familiar voices like Bruce Scott in the Morning, Jona Denz-Hamilton during the work day and Danny Miller in the afternoon. Denz-Hamilton, a 32-year veteran of KBAY or its former sister stations like KEEN, announced the staff layoffs on Facebook, saying that for the first time in more than three decades, “I’m on the loose! ”
David Durtz, Market Director for Alpha Media, which owns both KBAY and KEZR, better known as Mix 106.5, said, “With KRTY’s imminent departure from the format, we felt this was a good decision for KBAY to continue to serve national audiences (and expand the format’s signal coverage throughout the Greater Bay Area).
“Bay Country” programming will also air on Walnut Creek station KKDV-FM (92.1), expanding its reach beyond the South Bay to Contra Costa County, as well as online at www.kbaycountry.com.
This means that for the next two months, the Bay Area will be rich in the sounds of Nashville. At least until June, when KRTY goes off the air after 28 years and its 95.3 signal is handed over to Educational Media Foundation, the Christian broadcaster behind the “K-LOVE” and “Air1” formats.