RIP The Buzz 103.1 -- Goodbye South Florida Rock Shows?
|Photo by Monica McGivern|
|What will these Buzz Bake Sale fans have to cheer for with fewer and fewer rock acts visiting South Florida?|
When Clear Channel changed the format of Miami's 94.9 Zeta to Latin and Reggaeton in 2005, they encouraged fans to head to their website where they could still listen to the style of music that was a part of their playlist. After a while that avenue disappeared as well because a great deal of us listen to radio stations through our car stereo, not at our computers. Though tons of people do use their smart phones for entertainment value more than actually talking, it's most likely only a matter of time before CBS sadly decides to end its life as well.
The other casualty to come out of this won't be quite so easy to detect at first, but the Buzz's demise will certainly take away from our local rock concert offerings -- and it has already begun. Here's why:
It has to be mentioned that shortly after Zeta was ended Cox Broadcasting changed the format of 93.1 to current popular rock somewhat in the vein of Zeta. Though it did not last, it was a very admirable attempt on their part to bring a rock station to those too far out of the reach of the signal of The Buzz. In their first year they even put on a Holiday concert dubbed the Christmas Khaos with quite a few big names (Korn, Mudvayne, 10 years, Sevendust). One can't say that they didn't try.
Those who have lived in South Florida and listened to rock radio at least since '00 would have to agree that we got a lot more concerts to our area up until around mid-2005. Though at the time many were crying that Clear Channel was the devil, the fact is that they were most definitely a necessary evil. Clear Channel is the biggest broadcasting company, and with that comes big money, and lots of advertisers. As big as the, at the time Infinity Broadcasting owned Buzz was, they weren't as big as Zeta and didn't have the kind of financial muscle behind them that they did.
If you want evidence of this, take a look at some of the concerts that Zeta put on in a given year -- The Zeta Bonzai, Zeta Fest, The Kamanajuanaleia Luau, The Halloweenie Roast, Nutcracker Ball. Each boasted big names, as well as up and coming acts. The Buzz only put on one big blowout per year, The Bake Sale. Besides the radio shows Clear Channel played host to many other touring acts, both big and small to visit the South Florida area. Zeta was, without a doubt, the biggest rock station in our area.
I must have attended at least 30 shows per year while Zeta was around, but after their disappearance it dwindled down to half of that. Though we have had some great shows come through our area over the years there have been many tours that don't make the extra three hour trek that normally would have. Tampa and Orlando have it made with two very large Clear Channel owned stations, 98 Rock in Tampa, and WJRR in Orlando. Take a look at their respective websites at any given month and the number of concerts from artists both big and small exceeds ours by far.
Concertgoers will soon start to notice that fewer and fewer tours will come our way. After all, why should agents book tours to an area where there is apparently no rock market and no avenue to help in promoting? Not everyone uses the internet to find out what concerts are coming to their area; radio has a hand in that one, as well as bringing the sounds of new music to our ears we otherwise would not have known about. A lot of smaller alternative artists may not have had a fan base in South Florida if not for the Buzz giving them the necessary spins for listeners to discover them and venture out to experience them live.