Radio Roulette

A SCANT SIX months after the Disney-owned radio conglomerate ABC/Capital Cities purchased Minneapolis's popular REV 105 and converted it to a metal station, it's apparently time for yet another game of radio roulette. Late Monday afternoon, a rumor began circulating among radio insiders that ABC's sister stations, 93.7 The Edge and REV-replacement X105, will trade places beginning Thursday. You heard it right. According to the reports, both stations will simulcast X105's "power rock" format for a week. After that, the metal format will remain at 93.7 FM permanently, while the alternative Edge format will reappear on the 105 band. The local advocacy group Americans for Radio Diversity, which protested the March sale of REV 105 to ABC/Capital, also suspects that ABC will try to buy the Rev's "Revolution Radio" name from Cargill Communications.

Even if the rumor doesn't pan out, ABC/Capital's motives for such a transition are clear. All of ABC's local radio properties--The Edge, X105, and KQRS--have suffered in recent ratings books thanks to competition with the new Chancellor-owned Rock 100.3. The Edge's spring Arbitrons were far down, its morning show especially hurt by competition with 100.3's Howard Stern. By switching the formats of 93 and 105, ABC would be positioning its hard-rock crew on the more powerful signal, for optimum competition. The big question remaining would be how The Edge's staff, character, and fortunes might change, once demoted to the former REV frequencies of 105.1, 105.3, and 105.7 FM.

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