Arts & Music
Many radio fans unhappy with 97X format change
Don't like the music on the radio? Blame yourself. That's the idea behind a new format on Tampa radio station 97X WSUN-FM 97.1, which is now letting its listeners pick all of the music the station plays. Listeners can vote from a selection of about 1,800 songs through an app or by visiting the station's website. Apparently though, not all of the station's fans are interested in being their own DJs.Since rolling out the changes Friday evening, the station has received a steady stream of messages on its Facebook page. Many are upset over the loss of the "Morning X" talk show, which the station eliminated with the new format. "The morning show was the only reason I would turn Pandora off and actually listen to the radio. I will miss the entertainment. Adios forever 97x," wrote one person. Others seemed to be okay with the changes, but annoyed with the selection of songs. Primarily known as a modern alternative rock station, the new format has been opened up to classic rock and pop songs as well. "I love the new 'Control the Music' app, but one complaint would be the idiots that seem to forget what format this station plays," another Facebook commenter wrote. "I wouldn't care so much but I have heard 6 Duran Duran songs in just the times I've been able to listen. It's making me want to take my eyes out with a pick axe." Dozens more comments likened the station's new sound to listening to their iPod, or streaming services such as Pandora or Slacker Radio. A "Bring Back the Morning X" Facebook page had more than 400 likes as of Tuesday afternoon. According to the station, 97X is the first alternative rock station in the nation to go to a user-generated format full-time. "The way we communicate has been reinvented in front of our eyes with social media," program director Michael Sharkey said in a news release. "And today we are injecting that experience into radio and giving our radio station to the listeners." In a video message posted by the station, former Morning X co-host Danielle Belusky pointed out that staffers on the eliminated shows were moving into new positions, and were not fired in the transition. "Morning X" co-host Drew Garabo will continue to be heard on 97X sister station 102.5 The Bone, as will former 97X midday host Chris Fisher. Belusky also said that popular station-sponsored concerts such as the annual 97X Next Big Thing and the 97X Backyard BBQ were "not going anywhere."