RADIO STATION B101 will be no more Dec. 26. But it's only the name that's retiring. The station will be known as MoreFM at 101.1.
The format of the station will not change, the DJs won't change, the place on the dial won't change. Just the name.
In a statement, station owner Jerry Lee said the name change did not reflect poor ratings. And he's right. B101 consistently dominates in the Philadelphia radio market, a feat for an independently owned station.
Instead, Lee thought of the change as a branding update. During market research, station head honchos found that B101 was strongly associated with artists who are no longer played on the station (Michael Bolton, anyone?). "People still thought we played Celine Dion and Neil Diamond," vice president and station manager Blaise Howard told me. "We haven't played Barbra Streisand since 1995."
A similar move was made in 1993 when the station went from EZ-101 to B101. The station changed formats from an all-instrumental station to adult contemporary in 1988.
Howard said the name change has been in the works for about two years, but they decided to make the announcement during the station's annual Christmas-music marathon because of their higher-than-average ratings. Howard added that with the name change, he expects a 10 percent bump in ratings.
MoreFM reflects how the station views itself after extensive market research - less talk, less attitude, more music - Howard said.
But what about Buzzby, the station's lovable bee mascot? "We thought it was time for Buzzby to retire," Howard said. "He's moving to Boca."
* In other radio news, WMGK program director Charley Lake is retiring from the classic-rock station in January. He has captained the ship since 2007. Before Philly, Lake did stints in Phoenix, Chicago and New Orleans.
* Joe Manganiello, the superhunk from HBO's "True Blood" and stripper classic "Magic Mike," dined at Chima Brazilian Steakhouse (1901 John F. Kennedy Blvd.) on Monday night after a signing of his new book, Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted, at Barnes & Noble in Center City.
Notice two new faces on NBC10 as of late? They would be Iris Delgado and Christian Cazares. Delgado reported yesterday for the first time on the station, but Cazares has already done a couple of reports. They're technically not new NBC10 reporters; they're two of the new faces on the local Spanish language newscast WWSI/Telemundo Philadelphia. While their main gig will be at WWSI, they'll pull double-duty for their sister station when stories overlap. The newscast, hosted by Ramon Zayas, will begin Jan. 6.
Get in the holiday spirit with Daily News sportswriters (and all-around awesome dudes) Ed Barkowitz and Mike Kern when they guest bartend at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Shamrock Pub (1400 S. 2nd St.). Bring a toy or make a donation and get a free drink. Barkowitz and Kern will also dole out trivia questions, and the Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers game will be on all TVs.
The Raven Society, the young friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia, will hold their holiday fete Friday, celebrating 450 years of good ol' boy Billy Shakes (that would be William Shakespeare). The society is a group of people in their 20s and 30s dedicated to fostering literacy and inspiring curiosity. Tickets are $75 for non-Ravens, but that gets you a yearlong membership into the not-so-secret society. Check out freelibrary.org/ravensociety for more info.
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