"Where is Britney Spears and what have you done with her?"
This must have been one of the first thoughts listeners had Monday morning when tuning into 96.7 on their radio dials. Another: Whose are these dulcet tones, and why is he going on and on about someone or something called "Sam Darnold" at 8 a.m.?
The answer was Dan Patrick, a syndicated sports talk radio veteran, whose voice, among others, heralded the end of one era in Twin Cities radio and the... well, the expanded continuation of another.
Pride Radio, a source for dance, electronica, and upbeat Top 40 aimed at an LGBTQ audience, has been replaced by something called "KFAN Plus," a station featuring "both local and national sports news, including programming content from iHeart Media Minneapolis's sports partnerships."
Aside from Patrick, the station will feature the voice of Colin Cowherd (from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily), who, generally speaking, sucks, and Clay Travis (5-8 a.m.), who, ditto -- or, as iHeart's program director Chad Abbot called them in a press release, "some of the biggest and well-known national names in sports radio."
When it launched in 2015 during that year's Pride Month, Pride Radio was heralded as the first FM station in America dedicated entirely to programming for an LGBTQ audience. The "groundbreaking station" was to feature acts like Madonna, Sam Smith, and Katy Perry, while also becoming a "platform for the [LGBTQ] community."
Monday's announcement about KFAN Plus ditched those lofty ambitions for the pragmatic promise of "even more, around the clock, exclusive sports news content that [people who love sports talk radio] love." (Brackets ours.)
Asked about the change, a spokesperson for iHeart (which also operates KDWB, KOOL 108, and K102, among other Twin Cities stations) said the following:
"Sports fans in Minneapolis are very passionate and loyal, and we believe KFAN Plus will resonate well with our listeners. Listeners can continue to enjoy Pride Radio programming anywhere they are on Pride Radio KDWB-HD2 or iheartradio.com."
Asked if the company was getting feedback, positive or negative, about its sudden formatting switch-up the spokesperson demurred. Very well. Here's some from the Pride Radio Facebook page:
"Where is the station now? No news, updates, or info released. Just a sudden change to sports radio"
"All my friends are freaking out pride radio went off the air, we loved it on FM!"
"I would really appreciate a post/tweet/anything with additional information about the abrupt change of 96.7 Pride Radio to KFAN Plus. What is happening to Pride Radio in the Twin Cities? You commented on another post that it’s moving to a different HD Radio frequency. When? Will the frequency be on HD1 and/or simulcast so we can hear the station on normal FM? This station is loved by the community here. It was extremely upsetting and disappointing to wake up to it suddenly being on-air."
"What's going on?!? Why are you KFAN now????"
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