Hip-hop music is back on the air waves full time in the Madison area.
The 6,000-watt FM station 106.7 Jamz began broadcasting the music of artists such as Beyonce, Fergie, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent at 4 p.m. Friday, two weeks after a previous hip-hop station, WKPO-FM 105.9, went off the air, blaming a lack of advertisers.
Part of Mid-West Family Broadcasting's group of eight radio stations, 106.7 had been simulcasting the same classic rock format as 93.1 FM. The switch was made because 105.9, owned by Good Karma Broadcasting of Beaver Dam, switched from hip-hop to hard rock, said Randy Hawke, operations manager of four of Mid-West Family's stations.
"The outcry from when 105.9 went away was big enough to hear," Hawke said. "Anyone who has high school- or college-age kids knows how mad they were when it went away."
He said Mid-West Family decided last week to turn 106.7 hip-hop and "five or six staffers have gotten a total of 20 hours of sleep this week" to make it happen so quickly. For now, there are no live announcers, but Hawke said he'll have a better idea of how many people are needed within a few weeks.
The station's antenna is in Mount Horeb and its signal reaches Dane, Sauk, Columbia, Dodge and Jefferson counties, Hawke said.
He said he's not too worried about attracting enough advertising dollars because the signal is closer to Madison than Janesville-based 105.9. In addition, with seven other stations in Mid-West Family's Group, "the burden of how much it has to make isn't as bad," Hawke said.
Keith Williams, general manager of Good Karma's former Hot 105.9 -- now known as 105.9 The Hog -- said he has no regrets about switching off the rap music. But he said he'll listen to the new hip-hop station.
"I love the format," Williams said. "I wish them the best of luck."
Good Karma owns six radio stations in Wisconsin, two in the Cleveland area and one in West Palm Beach, Fla.