Classic rock 94.7 flips to Fresh FM

Yes folks, another radio station is flipping music formats in the D.C. area.  Last year smooth jazz stations all over the country including Washington, D.C. and Baltimore were flipping over to other formats. You know how much I bitched/vented about Smooth Jazz 105.9 flipping to the oldies format last year. Now I’m reading that 94.7 WTGB will flip from classic rock to the hot adult contemporary format. The station will be called 94.7 Fresh FM.

D.C. Radio’s Last Rock Overturned
DJ Cerphe Signs Off as ‘Classic’ WTGB Switches to Pop

By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 4, 2009; A01

No more Zeppelin. No more Skynyrd or Tom Petty or Rolling Stones. And not a whole lot more Don Cerphe Colwell, either.

Classic rock and the DJ who brought that music to local radio audiences long before the rock was considered “classic” are both fading from the airwaves. Beginning Monday, Colwell’s station, WTGB (94.7 FM, “The Globe”), will switch to playing contemporary pop tunes. With the demise of the region’s only classic rock outlet, the music that helped transform FM radio into a cultural force in the 1970s will become just another baby boomer memory.

Colwell — who has always gone by his middle name, pronounced “surf,” on the air — is arguably the voice of Washington’s rock generation. As an undergraduate at American University in the early 1970s, he began working part time at a little FM station in Bethesda called WHFS, where he explored records by such artists as Jimi Hendrix and interviewed such up-and-coming talents as Bruce Springsteen.

WTGB’s end closes a chapter for FM radio in the Washington area. Until the rock era, AM radio was the dominant force, with narrow, Top 40 playlists. But in the late 1960s and early ’70s, lured by the static-free FM sound, young people across the country turned in droves to the free-form, album-rock format pioneered by stations like WHFS. The music was introduced (and personally selected) by DJs such as Cerphe, Jonathan “Weasel” Gilbert and Damien Einstein, who became minor stars in their own right (Gilbert was let go by WTGB in October).

You can read the entire article here.

I have 94.7 preset on my car radio.   I like to listen to it when I’m driving around and running errands.  The main stations I listen to in my car are 94.7 and Magic 102.3. I’ll give the new format a listen to just to see what it’s all about but I will miss the classic rock format.  I read that BIG 100.3 plays a classic hits format.  I’ll have to check that one out.  And yes I still miss my smooth jazz station 😦

8 responses

  1. Agh – I was listening to 94.7 this morning because it was on my car radio. Why do they keep insulting their old listeners? The new station isn’t too bad but the insults at a rate of 6 per hour is too much. Bye bye 94.7.

  2. “someone committed murder, down on music row” – BRING BACK CLASSIC ROCK 94.7 – WE MISS Cerphe and the Weisel!!

  3. The response from “Mary” posted on the 16th is so dead on, I totally agree. My husband and I are in our 20’s and listen to Classic Rock, and this was the only station that played so much Pink Floyd, which we both love. This station was my favorite, and now it’s been taken off the car preset completely.

    The new 94.7 Fresh FM is awful, just as bad as it’s new cheesy name.

    I do hope that Fresh FM dies a quick death, and someone gets enough common sense to get the Classic Rock back onto our DC waves!

    This station kills the concept of music, if you even call it music that they play.

    Until then, I’m iPod-ing it for the rest of my car rides!

  4. Thank you WFHS and WGTB for ringing true for as long as you did – I already miss you deeply! The new ‘fresh’ is about as homogenized and bland as possible to still be considered music radio. The new programming has managed to withdraw nearly anything original or good from radio music. In fact, it could even be considered to be ‘stale’ in today’s culture. I hope ‘fresh’ dies a quick death to send investors a message that our ears aren’t for sale. Clearly, I’m in withdrawl after listening to the pasty music on the new 94.7 programming. I’m going to miss a lot of the original programming ideas on WGTB like the covers days, acoustic sunrise, and themes such as artists with names like ‘George’. The idea behind WGTB was to offer music and programming that wasn’t available anywhere else in the DC area. The fresh is just a copy of formats already crowding the airwaves and lacks original programming and music. I wasn’t aware of the programming format and heard Taylor Swift being played and was impressed by the station’s giving her an honorable mention, but the impressiveness waned quickly when I realized the 16-year-old-Swift-genre was what fresh was doing 24/7 (ad nauseum).

    Where did the hfs/gtb minor rock stars end up – maybe they can continue the classic rock tradition?

  5. Your show is awful now. Just awful — to go from Classic Rock to the same old stuff every other station plays. I am soooo very disappointed that I have removed you from any radio station I’d ever listen to again.

    And as a note: ALL MY FRIENDS AND MANY OTHERS FEEL THE SAME WAY — you were the best classic rock station going. Why change it to the same music all the other stations play ??

    There are no choices anymore.

    You won’t have the listeners you had before — I hope you’re able to stay in business.

  6. Good riddance, I say. The music was OK (it was better before the change over to the Globe), but the DJ’s (Weasel and Surf) were just not interesting at all. For me, it was just painful to listen to. In the Washington area, the best classic rock station I have heard so far is 106.3 but you have to be in Montgomery County and points north and west to hear it.

    Being from Providence, maybe I am just spoiled by the stations up there – 94.1 WHJY and 100.7 WZLX.

  7. I’m still trying to figure out how Bleeding Love became such a huge hit. I tried listening to it and the song didn’t impress me at all.

  8. Catherine Bishop

    I’ve been a huge fan of 94.7 since the 80s. Even though I’m still fuming and extremely sad about the format change, I decided I’d go ahead and give the new “fresh” format a listen on the 1st day today because I looked at the website and saw that they were doing “commercial free Mondays”. I kept the radio on 94.7 all day at work, but by noon I was fuming even more, and by 5:00 I was practically homicidal! I don’t know what their definition of “today” is, but I heard many songs that were at least several years old, and some older than 10. That’s not the worst of it though. They repeat! And some were repeats of a repeat! At least WASH-FM has a “no repeat workday”, so if you hear a song you don’t like you know you won’t hear it again that workday. And 94.7’s commercial for itself (that I heard several times each hour on a commercial free day) bashed WASH-FM. A lot of nerve.

    I don’t know why they think that all females want to hear their playlist. This isn’t the music that appeals to me. There was a large number of songs I had never heard and didn’t like once I did hear them today. There is a reason I was a long-term, loyal listener to 94.7 in its rock formats — they played the best music, had the best music features (box set, eclectic lunch, perfect playlist, cool covers weekends, etc.), and had the best DJs with great musical taste who taught me so much with their inside knowledge and introduced me to some great music and artists. The DJs also had a special rapport with the audience, which is so nice in these times. I don’t like the shrill “oooohoooey” songs that I heard today. That “Bleeding Love” song, as well as “What a Girl Wants” and “Beautiful” (Aguilara and James Blunt) – practically made my ears bleed and by 5:00 I had a horrible headache. If I wanted to listen to that kind of “music” – I have a choice of many other local stations that play that noise. There is not a station on the radio that I can get at work in Rockville that I want to listen to all day. I like but don’t love BIG100.3. BIG drives me nuts with the same few songs by AC/DC, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Gordon Lightfoot, the Stones, etc.., and then I hear Margueritaville at least once a day. I think BIG100.3 should pick up the slack, cut some of their stale songs off their playlist, play some deeper tracks (like “Those Shoes” by the Eagles instead of “Already Gone”, and add some of what we lost with the loss of the great 94.7. There is so much good music that can be played on a rock station that will satisfy a lot of people’s taste in music. Someone needs to step up and create a station like that. Like how 94.7 had been until about September ’08.

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