WEZB

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WEZB
WEZBlogo.jpg
City of license New Orleans, Louisiana
Broadcast area Southeast Louisiana & Southern Mississippi
Branding B-97 FM
Slogan "All The Hits"
Frequency 97.1 MHz (CHR-Contemporary Hit Radio) (also on HD Radio)
97.1 HD-2 (B-97 HD-2 The Beat of New Orleans) for Rhythmic Contemporary
First air date September 1, 1945 (as WRCM)
Format Top 40 (CHR)
ERP 100,000 watts
HAAT 300 meters
Class C0
Facility ID 20346
Callsign meaning W (East side of the Mississippi River), EZ (EZ Communications; former owner), B (for their former format, Beautiful music)
Former callsigns WRCM (1945-1967)
WNNR-FM (1967-1972)
Owner Entercom
Webcast Listen Live
Website b97.com

WEZB, aka B-97 today, is a mainstream Contemporary hit radio (CHR or "Top 40") radio station in New Orleans, Louisiana. The station is owned by Entercom and they broadcast their format at 97.1 MHz with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 100,000 watts. The station broadcasts in high definition through two stations, HD-1 (WEZB-HD, New Orleans) and HD-2 Rhythmic Contemporary. The station's studios are located at the 400 Poydras Tower in New Orleans' downtown area, and the transmitter site is in the city's Algiers district.

History[edit]

According to the broadcasting yearbooks, on September 1, 1945, 97.1 signed on the air. This was WRCM, the FM simulcast of WJMR-AM 990 and sister to WJMR-TV 12 (now WVUE channel 8), all owned by George J. Mayoral. Then, around 1966/67 after the TV station had already been sold, Supreme Broadcasting Company bought the two radio stations and changed the call letters to WNNR AM & FM. At the time, the station was located in the Jung Hotel at 1500 Canal Street in downtown New Orleans. It broadcast a forward power of only 20,500 watts from an antenna 310 feet atop the building.

On January 2, 1972, EZ Communications acquired the FM station and this is when it became WEZB, part of a chain of Beautiful Music stations (WEZC Charlotte, WEZR Washington, et al.) owned by EZ. It was never very successful against formidable competition in that format. Briefly in the 1970s when disco became a popular genre, it became "Disco 97 FM" on Thursday, February 8, 1979, but failed shortly after. "We had a big party in the Atrium at the Hyatt (Regency Hotel)" says Jim Roberts, B-97's first Bee Jock (disc jockey). "Baby New Year was dropped from the ceiling and we switched over from "FM97, The Rhythm Of The City" to the new "B-97 FM"".[1] According to Jackson "Jack Da Wack" Tally, who was also one of B-97's first Bee Jocks, in early November 1979, the station slowly started to work more and more Top 40 music into rotation. By the end of that year, the staff was ready for the format change to B-97FM. This station would be a popular Top 40 outlet for years to come; much like "The Mighty 690, WTIX-AM" was in the 1960s and 1970s.

Kent Burkhart, consultant to EZ Communications at the time, states on his website [2] that Dan Vallie was hired on by the company to change the ailing format of WEZB from disco/dance to Top 40. Over the years, the name went through minor changes (i.e. "The New B-97 FM", "B-97", "97.1 The New B-97 FM" etc.), the transmitting power was increased, and the antenna was moved to a taller location. Currently, many New Orleanians know B-97 as a well-known and established radio station playing the hits.

To note, WEZB has been a prominent Top 40 radio broadcast station in the New Orleans, LA metropolitan area for a little over 30 years, except for two brief, failed experiments. The first format change was a decision by now defunct EZ Communications, in which the station changed to a News/Hot Talk format in the summer of 1994. The decision to return to a music format came in June 1996, in which the station played Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart" repeatedly for one hour. After that hour ended, the station returned as an Adult Top 40/Hot AC format using the same name "B-97", and kicking it off with Hootie and the Blowfish "Only Wanna Be With You." Finally, on July 26, 1998, B-97 fully evolved back to its heritage Top 40/CHR format. To add, the station became more Rhythmic in its musical approach before making the shift in 2002, back to its current, true Top 40 approach.

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

WEZB was also a member of the United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans, an alliance of broadcast stations formed by the joint ventures of WEZB's parent company, Entercom Communications with Clear Channel Communications, during Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

Current programming and hosts[edit]

Programming[edit]

  • Syndicated The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show (morning show airing 5am-10am Monday - Friday)
  • The iPod Shuffle (midday show, noon-1 pm playing music from the late 1980s - 1990s and current music, including requests) (live & local)
  • Corey B's Woot Woot (Monday-Friday nights beginning at 7pm) (live & local)
  • Friday Five O'Clock Free-For-All (old school tunes airing Friday afternoons at quitting time, 5 pm) (live & local)
  • Open House Party (hosted live by host John Garabedian, syndicated show, Saturday nights from 6pm-11pm)
  • Hollywood Hamilton's Weekend Top 30 (countdown show airing Sunday mornings 9 am-noon)
  • Saturday Night Big Easy Block Party (all request/party dedication show airing Saturday nights 6 pm-11pm) (live & local)

Current Bee Jocks[edit]

  • Jammer (Programming Director and middays)
  • The Afternoon Swirl (T-Pot & Stevie G.)
  • Corey B. (Weeknights and Saturday Big Easy Block Party)
  • Lil' Tony (part-time weekends)
  • Johnny (Promotions Director for B-97 FM)
  • Annette Wade (webmaster & fill-in DJ)

Past programming and staff[edit]

Past programming[edit]

  • The Howard Stern Show
  • Scott Shannon's Rockin' America Top 30 Countdown
  • Countdown USA with Dave Sholin
  • American Top 40 (AT 40) with Casey Kasem
  • Casey's Top 40 with Casey Kasem
  • American Top 40 (AT 40) with Ryan Seacrest
  • Rick Dees & The Weekly Top 40
  • Hollywood Hamilton's Rhythm Countdown
  • BackTrax USA with Kid Kelly (1980s & 1990s versions)
  • Friday Five O'Clock Whistle (circa 1986) (party music; upbeat, high energy songs from the 80's & 70's)
  • Friday Five O'Clock Free-For-All (1980s show from 5 pm-7 pm; later evolved into "Fat City Friday Night's")
  • Fat City Friday Night's (live from Kenny's Key West, Metairie, LA)
  • Saturday Night Throwdown (mix show; aired on Saturday nights)
  • Sunday Night Dedication Party (aired live from Bart's on the Lake, New Orleans, LA)
  • Totally On Demand B (all request show; aired Saturday nights 8 pm-midnight)
  • RadioMixes Crossover (mixshow; aired Saturday nights 8 pm-2 am)

Former Bee Jocks[edit]

(Many people listed below have contributed in the creation of this list)

  • David "Kidd Kraddick" Cradick (1987-2013 Kidd Kraddick In The Morning)
  • James "Fast Jimi" Roberts (B-97 FM's 1st Bee Jock)
  • Johnny Shomby
  • Kenneth "Cajun Ken" Cooper
  • Cami McCormick (news director & host of the "B-97's 60-Second News Update;" worked alongside "Cajun" Ken Cooper in the mornings, and later "Walton & Johnson". Left for Moscow in 1991 to do an all-English radio show until its end in 1994, then became a CNN reporter. Now a dedicated journalist with CBS news. Received three Edward R. Murrow awards, as well as two Gracie Allen Awards, among others)
  • Scoot In The Morning (Scott Paisant; now host of The Scoot Show on sister station "The Big 870" WWL-AM & 105.3 FM)
  • Boomer (hosted "Top 8 at 8", and "Boomer's Rumors")(Later at 93Q KKBQ Houston and one of original DJ's (Jon Paul West) at MIX 96.5 KHMX with Guy Zapoleon in '90)
  • Edward "Fast Eddie" Coyle (did the 10 am-2 pm & 6 pm-10 pm time slots at B-97; now sells pre-owned cars and trucks in the Dallas, TX area)[3]
  • Jackson "Jack Da Wack" Tally (One of B-97 FM's 1st Bee Jocks. Was at B-97 in 1979 right after its launch. Jack went on to work at WHTZ a.k.a. "Z100" in Newark, NJ From 1983 to 1991. Now he's Jackson "Cactus Jack" Tally at "The New 93Q" KKBQ-FM in Houston, TX)
  • Brian Pierce Afternoons as "Pierceshow" Moved to (WZOU Boston and KLUV Dallas. 17 years at WNNS Springfield Il, Now KFDI Wichita. 2011 CMA Personality of the Year.
  • Thomas "Skinny Tommy" Cheney (worked at WTIX-AM 690 for many years before going to FM on B-97FM. Now doing country artist promotion with the George Strait group in Nashville, TN)
  • Nick Bazoo (PD the station's highest 12+ share of a 12.5)...left to relaunch KMEL as a CHR station in San Francisco under the name of "All Hit 106 KMEL"- also worked as PD at Magic 101.9 (WLMG-FM) KMEZ and 92-3 The Point (WCKW-FM) also programmed their B-94 FM in Pittsburgh
  • Michael Jackson (not the singer) (probably B-97 FM's 1st PD [4])
  • Kris O'Kelly
  • Ugly Jock Lousteau (worked sometime during the 1980s)
  • "The Walton & Johnson Morning Show" (John Walton & Steve Johnson)
  • Scott "Shadow Stevens" Wright(VP/PD, 1987-1989 & 1993-1995) (previously from Z-100 (WHTZ-FM) in New York and KQLZ a.k.a. "Pirate Radio 100.3 FM" in Los Angeles)
  • J.J. Malone (known as Geronimo since 1991 on WABB-FM Mobile, WKXX Providence, WBLS New York, WKTU New York and SiriusXM Satellite Radio)
  • Elvis Duran (doing the Z-100 Morning Zoo at Z-100 (WHTZ-FM) in New York, NY)
  • Donnie "The Fatman" Banks
  • Ross "The Boss" Cannon
  • Joe "Mama" Mason (Who went to KSHE in St. Louis after that)
  • Allen "The Legend" Beebe (Maybe one of the longest running DJ's on B-97; now at Magic 93.7, WMJY-FM in Biloxi, MS)
  • Bo Walker (host for the "Top 9 at 9" in the early 1990s; later at Lite 105, Lite 92.3, then at The New 99-5FM WRNO New Orleans; now Production Director at Clear Channel New Orleans)
  • "Bubba" Carson (Paul Donovan; worked briefly at 101.1 WNOE-FM after a long run on B-97; now at country station KYGO, Denver)
  • Kimberly Carson (Worked on country station 101.1 WNOE-FM New Orleans for years. Later went to B-97. Married to Bubba for a while and has her own country music band)
  • The Monkey Boy (prime time host)
  • Ronnie Carter
  • Bernard "Buddy" Diliberto (did WDSU-TV 6 sports reports during the morning show with "Cajun" Ken Cooper in the 1980s; deceased)
  • Bob Breck (meteorologist from WVUE-TV 8; gave daily weather reports mornings with "Cajun" Ken Cooper)
  • Jeffrey St. John (part-time, spent many years in afternoons at KYLD San Francisco and KBIG in Los Angeles, now afternoons at Movin in SF)
  • Eddie Munster
  • Eddie "The Hurricane" Monson
  • Cadillac Jack (late 1980's; left to do a stint at KQLZ Pirate Radio 100.3 FM Los Angeles. Nowadays he's the PD at WBQT in Boston)
  • Dave Buss (early 1990s)
  • Brian Thomas (PD)
  • Rob Halloway ("Rob & Robb In The Morning") (left B-97 to do mornings on MIX 104.1 (KHOM-FM)
  • Scott Robb ("Rob & Robb In The Morning") (left B-97 to do mornings on MIX 104.1 (KHOM-FM); was recently working with Kidd Kraddick)
  • Adam Smasher (not the "ATOM" SMASHER of Mix 104.1 (KHOM-FM)
  • Charlie Matkin
  • Rob Waggman (PD & Afternoon DJ, now APD/MD at WXRK/92-3 NOW FM in New York)
  • Regular Joe (PD & DJ)
  • Hollywood Harrison (nights 1988) also as Ted Kelly nightly bedchecks (now runs a website for Christian radio HisAir.Net [1]
  • Cheryl Robichaux (mornings at 94.5 KSMB-FM, Lafayette, LA, now Editor-in-Chief of 008 magazine, Lafayette, LA)
  • Patty Steel (now middays at GO-FM in Biloxi; not to be confused with Patty Steele at WCBS-FM in NYC)
  • Catfish (later PD at KIX 106 in Birmingham, AL now at country KNCI in Sacramento, CA)
  • Jake "The Snake" Bowman (part-time)
  • Charese Frugé (now in San Diego; was most recently PD at Star 98.7, KYSR-FM in Los Angeles. Eunice, LA is her hometown.)
  • Woody
  • Stacey Brady (former mornings APD/MD; now hosting middays on Rock 92.3, WRKN-FM, New Orleans; engaged to John Marty)
  • Johnny Marty (was recently on 97.5 WABB-FM, Mobile, AL hosting the morning show "John & Q-Tip In The Morning.")
  • Danny Cruz (Afternoons, Stu Gray now doing nights on the WAY-FM Network based in Nashville, TN)
  • Janet Gross (news/traffic director & part-time DJ; later went to WVUE-TV to anchor the Saturday morning news; married to WDSU-TV news reporter Heath Allen)
  • Maxwell (Former mornings, now on-air nights, APD for WIOQ-FM, Q102 Philadelphia, PA)
  • Matt Cain (Formerly Host of The Bee Morning Buzz, now a Registered Nurse in Houston, TX)
  • Will "The Thrill" (former Nights/Afternoon Drive, mobilized for wartime operations since 2005 with the U.S. Army)
  • Carson (in Cincinnati, OH as PD of WKFS)
  • Jason Reed (part-time overnights and weekends; worked for other Entercom New Orleans stations. Now producer and voiceover talent for Cumulus Media, New Orleans.) (DJ in 2008 at 106.7 The Wolf KKND-FM New Orleans. Recently AP for "Sports Talk with Gerry V." (Gerry Vaillancourt) at 106.1 The Ticket WMTI-FM. Noted: Gerry V. departed The Ticket to become a WVUE-DT FOX 8 anchor).
  • Celeste Matthews
  • Jessica Ryan (was later producing the Ron & Don Show at 106-7 The End, KKND-FM New Orleans, LA)
  • David "Brother Dave" Nichols
  • Ricky Idol (went on to Dallas at KHKS and KRBV, later to St. Louis at KSLZ now afternoons on WILN/Island 106 in Panama City, FL and Production Director for Magic Broadcasting cluster all as Kato)
  • Yvonne (part-time)
  • John Tyler (previously from "The Rock of New Orleans," 99.5 WRNO-FM)
  • Billy Brown (now in Florida)
  • Michael Bryan (former midday DJ, assistant PD, & music director; now PD of XL-106.7, WXXL-FM in Orlando, FL)
  • Mikey Shaft
  • J.J. (did weekend overnights; most recently known as "G-Man," afternoons on Island 106 (WILN-FM), Panama City, FL)
  • Robert Elfman
  • John Roberts (PD, last seen as PD in Denver)
  • Teddy Striker (previously worked at Island 106 (WILN-FM), Panama City, FL. Worked briefly at B-97, but left to become PD of Hot 104.1 in Mobile, AL; now a full-time loan officer at a major bank and still in radio, part-time in Seattle, WA)
  • Booker (Mornings with Booker and Brady; spent several years in mornings at WSTO, Evansville, IN; now mornings at KKHH in Houston)
  • Joey Giovingo (PD responsible for the format switch from talk radio, back to music ~1996)
  • Charlie Scott (retired)
  • J. Love
  • Tony Buonoguera (gave MetroScan traffic reports mornings with "Cajun Ken" for a number of years)
  • Barry Foxx
  • Anthony "Gangi" (On-Air/Promotions Director; now owns his own television production company)
  • Wankus In The Morning
  • Tommy Mitchell (worked in Las Vegas at CBS Radio, now Afternoon Drive at 94.5 KSMB-FM, Lafayette, LA, his hometown)
  • Bam-Bam
  • Travis Torrence, the #1 Hotboy in the Crescent City (part-time; graduated from Yale Law School, and now practicing law in Texas)
  • Terry "Motormouth" Young (currently a host on XM Radio's "60s at 6" Channel)
  • Jason Peavy (previously worked for 102.5 WFMF Baton Rouge, and later at B-97)
  • Rick Friedman
  • Larry "The Gator" Knight (left for Clear Channel NOLA, spent several years in nights at WWXM in Myrtle Beach, SC)
  • Kimberly Diamond (left Lite 105, WLTS-FM New Orleans for B-97; now in the Biloxi/Gulfport area of Mississippi)
  • David "Skid Marx" Marxx(left MIX 104.1 (KHOM-FM) for B-97; now D.K. Pierce doing Afternoons & PD at 92.9 Bass Country in Springfield, Missouri)
  • Jeffrey Scott (PD, now NSM of Cox Radio stations in San Antonio, TX)
  • Tyler (Ben Stewart) (APD, Imaging Dir, On-Air Middays 2004-2007; Writer/Host of popular podcast, "Tyler's Tinseltown Tattler".)
  • Mikey Kaplan (PD, now PD of sister KNDD in Seattle)
  • Ron Chatman (Overnights; also producer for "Steve & Gary"; did afternoons on WRNO; now doing afternoons at WZZK/Birmingham.)
  • Scott "Scotty C." Chapin (Production Director, weekends, parody songs with "The Twisted Bees", later being nationally known Television News Voice Talent)
  • Speedy (The Night Time knockdown and The Sunday Night Slow Motion, left B97 on October 28, 2012, now is the night time personality at Hot 107.9 in Lafayette / Acadiana)
  • Phillip O'Bryan (Left for KZOU in Little Rock, AR in 1986. later at WRVR in Memphis, TN and KIX 106 in Birmingham, AL before buying a small station in rural Arkansas in 1989.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ B-97's Alumni page on Facebook.com
  2. ^ http://www.kentburkhart.com/kentburkhart49.htm Kent Burkhart.com
  3. ^ http://fasteddiecoyle.com/ Coyle Auto Group LLC
  4. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°55′12″N 90°01′30″W / 29.920°N 90.025°W / 29.920; -90.025