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|Broadcast area||Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex|
|Slogan||DFW's New Alternative|
|Frequency||103.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||August 14, 1961|
|Format||HD1: Alternative rock|
HD2: Smooth Jazz (The Oasis)
HD3: LGBTQ talk/EDM (Channel Q)
100,000 with beam tilt
|HAAT||507 meters (1,663 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Highland ParK VILlage Shopping Center|
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||KJKK, KLUV, KMVK, KRLD, KRLD-FM|
KVIL (103.7 MHz, Alt 103.7) is a commercial FM radio station dual-licensed to Highland Park and Dallas, Texas. It is owned by Entercom and it serves the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in North Texas. The station's studios are located along North Central Expressway in Uptown Dallas. The station is branded as "Alt 103.7" and airs an alternative rock radio format.
The transmitter site is in Cedar Hill off West Belt Line Road. KVIL-FM has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 99,000 watts (100,000 with beam tilt). It broadcasts from a tower at 507 meters (1663 feet) in height above average terrain (HAAT).
On August 14, 1961, KVIL-FM first signed on the air, as the sister station to AM 1150 KVIL (now 1160 KBDT). Because the AM station was a daytime only station, KVIL-FM was used to simulcast the AM's personality middle of the road music format around the clock.
The original location of the studios was in the Highland Park Village Shopping Center (hence the VIL call letters). The address was 4152 Mockingbird Lane at Preston Road, overlooking the Dallas Country Club golf course. In 1962 the owner/manager was John Coyle with the program director being Dillard Carerra. The station had an unusually high power of 119,000 watts in full stereo. (The power has since been reduced to 99,000 watts, because the antenna height was increased.)
The engineering of the audio was routed through a huge audio mixer with slider controls utilizing German silver rheostats. Audio phasing was a problem at that time. Capitol Records, for instance, used a reverse-phasing that prevented anything recorded by The Beatles to be played, unless it was monaural. The reverse phasing simply blanked out the audio tracks to a distorted muffle.
"The singing time clock" was one of the first digital breakthroughs – actually a marriage of digital and analog technology. The clock audio was recorded on 1/4" tape in stereo played on AMPEX recorders in individual segments, by the jingle singers at PAMS in Dallas. The project was huge, involving musicians, singers, and recording engineers who taped every minute on the 24-hour clock in at least two versions, to be played by the station at the appropriate minute. The sequential clock was synchronized to the individual tape segments. When the DJ pushed the button, the audience heard "It's nine forty-three on the Kayville Clock, K-V-I-L" or any imaginable variation of such limerick – and in stereo. The pronunciation of "KVIL" as "Kayville" is probably the best-known example of a station's call letters actually being sung or spoken as a word.
The KVIL logo consisted of a picture of a feminine hand with a bracelet. That logo was seen all over Dallas on billboards, matchbooks, and other media.
KVIL-FM was the first station in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to broadcast Top 40 on FM and in stereo. The initial attempt in April 1967 was bold, offering good personalities and some interesting programming including the first Dallas broadcast of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, played in its entirety on the evening of its release.
The 1967 to 1969 attempt to take on the Top 40 leader 1190 KLIF failed because FM was still a relatively new format and only a small percentage of people owned FM radios. FM was not a "standard" feature in original equipment car radios until the late-1970s even though it had been an option since the early-1960s. Additionally, KVIL's AM station was only on the air during daylight hours. This was an era where evenings were critical to a Top 40 station's success in the ratings, for teen listening after dinner. The failing station suffered in several ways, including employees running off with the records (possibly in place of the pay they were likely not receiving).
The owners of KVIL-AM-FM from 1968 through 1973 were Highland Park socialites James B. Francis, Robert D. Hanna and John Ryman. In early 1969, KVIL starting broadcasting under the new management and spent several weeks broadcasting only music. There were no commercials except brief announcements by Dallas radio veteran Ron Chapman, telling listeners what was in store. And this time it happened as planned. Chapman's fame in Dallas radio, along with the increasing popularity of FM stereo, brought the station to prominence. In 1973, KVIL-AM-FM were sold to Fairbanks Broadcasting and Chapman stayed on as morning DJ. KVIL hired Mike Selden from KLIF and installed Bill Gardner and Jack Schell in middays. This dynamic lineup was coupled with programming insights from consultant George Johns, upper management direction from Jim Hilliard and Chapman's panache for marketing and promotion started KVIL's steady climb in the ratings.
KVIL instituted a music format that was unique for its time, a cross between Top 40 and MOR which would later be termed "Adult Contemporary." The station was meant to appeal to adult listeners who had grown up with KLIF by projecting the same type of "showmanship" typical of Top 40 stations, but with music that was not as teen-oriented as contemporary stations played. KVIL-AM-FM first finished in Dallas/Fort Worth's top 10 Arbitron ratings in 1974, the year after Arbitron combined Dallas and Fort Worth into a single market. It topped the ratings list for the first time in the fall of 1976 with Chapman in the morning and his cast of support players, Larry Dixon and Bruce Buchanan (Jim Edwards) in mid-days, and Mike Selden in PM drive.
For many years during the 1970s and 1980s, KVIL-AM-FM was the top station in the market. It aired 90 minutes of its morning show on KXTX-TV 39 for a week in May every year, to show extravagant stunts such as a camel race in the African desert. During the 1990s, it spent several years as the flagship station for the Dallas Cowboys, an unusual arrangement for an FM station in that era.
Infinity Buys KVIL for $82 Million
In 1987, Infinity Broadcasting bought KVIL-AM-FM from Sconnix Broadcasting. The sale price was $82 million, the largest amount of money in radio history for an AM-FM combo up to that date. Sconnix had acquired KVIL-AM-FM only the month before in an eight-station deal. Infinity president Mel Karmazin said his company wanted a station in Dallas and "the best there is KVIL." Infinity later was folded into CBS Radio.
AM 1150 adopted the call sign KVIX and programmed a separate AC format from KVIL-FM for a short time after the sale to Infinity. The station now operates at AM 1160 as Christian talk and teaching station KBDT, owned by the Salem Media Group.
In September 1998, KVIL rebranded as "Lite Rock 103.7," which was then changed to "103.7 Lite FM" in December 2005.
The "Sunday Jazz Brunch" hosted by Tempe Lindsey (formerly of KOAI "107.5 The Oasis") was dropped from KVIL-FM's line up as of September 27, 2009, and replaced with regular programming.
The New Sound of KVIL
On May 2, 2013, KVIL-FM dropped the "Lite FM" branding in favor of using its call letters and re-positioned the station as "The Best Variety...90s, 2K & Today." It was marketed as "The New Sound of 103.7 KVIL" to attract a new generation of listeners. Gene & Julie Gates took over mornings after Ron Chapman retired and initially had success in the ratings. But when the morning show ratings began to fall, they were replaced by Tony Zazza and Julie Fisk. Zazza & Fisk were released from the station in October 2014.
In mid-November 2001, KVIL flipped to an all-Christmas format that ran through Christmas Day. It followed this practice every holiday season until 2013. For 2011, the AC format returned on December 27 instead of December 26. With the format repositioning in May 2013, the all-Christmas format was moved to classic hits sister station KLUV 98.7 FM, which started on November 15, 2013.
For many years, KVIL had been the Dallas affiliate of the syndicated Delilah nighttime love songs program. In early January 2014, the show was dropped with no public announcement of the change. On January 21, Blake Powers took over as the evening DJ for the station. Byron Harrell, programming director of CBS Radio in Dallas said in an email to DFW.com regarding the change, "We respect the level of talent and service Delilah provided the KVIL audience over the years, but it was time for a change at 103.7 as we continue to contemporize the sound of KVIL and focus our attention on the Dallas-Fort Worth metro." Months later, KVIL began leaning towards Adult Top 40. The station dropped the "90s, 2K and Today" slogan, along with the "Throwback Thursday" program that allowed listeners to vote for their favorite past hits, including a few songs from the late 1980s.
Despite this format retooling, KVIL-FM was still listed with an adult contemporary format by Mediabase until May 2, 2014, when KVIL was moved to the "Hot AC" panel full-time, leaving the immediate Dallas/Fort Worth market without an Adult Contemporary station. iHeartMedia officially launched a Mainstream AC format on KDGE as "Star 102.1" on December 26, 2016. The lone competitor in the Hot AC era was iHeartMedia-owned KDMX.
More Hits, Less Commercials
KVIL shifted to a CHR format, branded as simply "103.7" on August 1, 2016, effectively eliminating the KVIL branding and adding the slogan "More Hits, Less Commercials." The station pledged to have 50 minutes of music every hour. This followed the URL registration of 'MoreHits1037.com'.
On January 18, 2017, at 7 a.m., after playing "Heathens" by Twenty One Pilots, KVIL rebranded again, this time as "Amp 103.7", adopting the moniker from sister CBS stations KAMP-FM in Los Angeles, WODS in Boston, WQMP in Orlando, WDZH in Detroit and WBMP in New York City. The first song to play on "Amp" was "Closer" by The Chainsmokers.
Unlike other CBS-owned CHRs, KVIL leaned more toward adults, and was essentially a hybrid of the Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40 formats, much like sister WWMX in Baltimore. It competed head-on with iHeartMedia-owned KHKS, Cumulus-owned KLIF-FM (ironically, KVIL, during its short duration as a Top 40 station in the late 1960s, competed with AM station KLIF), and to an extent, iHeartMedia-owned KDMX. Like KVIL's Top 40 format in its first incarnation, Amp did not last long.
On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom. The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th. At 10 a.m. that day, after playing "Sorry" by Justin Bieber, KVIL flipped to alternative rock, branded as "Alt 103.7." That put it in competition with iHeartMedia's active rock 97.1 KEGL. This returned the format to the market after KEGL's sister station, KDGE dropped alternative rock exactly one year earlier to the day.
The first song on "Alt" was "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys.. A similar move also occurred in New York City with sister station WBMP ALT 92.3 dropping the CHR format and flipping to alternative rock that same day. This followed a trend of Entercom stations switching to the "Alt" branding that would later include KITS San Francisco and WQMP in Orlando (which has since rebranded in response to a branding conflict).
When KVIL-FM began broadcasting a second channel in HD Radio, it launched "Chick Rock" (Rock for Women) on 103.7 HD2. Two years later, the HD2 channel began airing Christian alternative rock music as "Rise." It also broadcast Christmas music from November 1 to the middle of November, when it switched to KVIL's AC programming as the main KVIL station broadcast Christmas music from mid-November to December 25 every year. With the format retooling in May 2013 on KVIL's main station, this programming arrangement wasdiscontinued.
In July 2014, CBS Radio in Dallas, in conjunction with the North Texas Honda dealers introduced a new one-time seasonal format for the summer season identified as "NTX Honda Fever Radio." The station's variety hits playlist was a diverse mix of classic hits and adult top 40 songs with 'Freddy Fever' as the DJ.
As of October 7, 2015, KVIL HD2 broadcasts a smooth jazz format as "The Oasis." Previously co-owned 107.5 KMVK 107.5 HD2 carried smooth jazz from the days when KMVK's main channel called itself The Oasis and played Smooth Jazz.
As of June 3, 2019, KVIL-HD3 has become the Dallas Metroplex home for Radio.com's LGBTQ+ talk and EDM-formatted network "Channel Q." With the addition of Dallas, Channel Q is heard in the nation's five largest radio markets. It is currently on about 30 Entercom stations, mostly on the HD2 or HD3 subchannel.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1963 page B-179
- Radio & Records "Infinity Buys KVIL for $82 Million Cash" April 3, 1987 page 1
- KVIL Turns Out the Lite
- "103.7 KVIL - News". CBS. April 2, 2013. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
- Philpott, Robert (November 16, 2011). "Christmas is Coming To KVIL". DFW.com. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
- Philpot, Robert (November 11, 2013). "KLUV/98.7 FM to launch Christmas format ... soon". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- "Playlist 2013-11-15". KVIL. November 15, 2013.
- "KVIL adds Blake Powers as evening DJ". DFW.com. January 21, 2014.
- #TBT - Throwback Thursday - 103.7 KVIL (accessed April 24, 2014)
- Mediabase Announces Panel Changes (Published April 22, 2014, Retrieved May 16, 2014)
- 103.7 KVIL Dallas Prepping Monday Revamp - Radio Insight (Published July 31, 2016)
- "Mediabase Panel Changes" from All Access (October 5, 2016)
- KVIL Rebrands as Amp 103.7
- KVIL Relaunches As Amp 103.7
- CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
- "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- And Now Entercom Launches Alt 103.7 Dallas Radioinsight - November 17, 2017
- ALT 103.7 Is Dallas’ New Music Alternative - D Magazine (published November 17, 2017)
- Amp 103.7 Dallas Becomes Alt 103.7
- Listen to NTX Honda Fever Radio - radio.com (accessed July 9, 2014)
- Your Chance To Win All Summer – NTX Honda Fever - CBSDFW.com (accessed July 9, 2014)
- http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=10 HD Radio Guide for Dallas-Ft. Worth
- InsideRadio.com "Channel Q Adds Six New Stations" June 4, 2019
- ALT 103.7 official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KVIL
- Radio-Locator information on KVIL
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KVIL