RIP The Buzz 103.1 -- Goodbye South Florida Rock Shows?

Categories: Radio Daze
Buzz_Bake_Sale_Fans_Monica_McGivern.jpg
Photo by Monica McGivern
What will these Buzz Bake Sale fans have to cheer for with fewer and fewer rock acts visiting South Florida?
The future of rock radio is currently in question in South Florida with CBS eliminating the rock format of 103.1 The Buzz to a possibly sexist playlist geared towards today's chart topping "hits" minus rap. This sudden change comes only days after the station put on their annual Buzz Bake Sale concert. Currently, via the stations' official website, they are encouraging people to tune in via a smart phone app provided by radio.com or to tune into 103.1-2 on HD Radio. Though we're in different times, this sounds a little familiar? Zeta anyone? Revolution managing partner Jeff John could definitely see it coming too.

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.


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12 comments
clow_pr7
clow_pr7

They should merge she 103.5 and big 105.9 and add new music segments to it and we would have an awesome modern or active  rock station. neither south Florida  or the treasure coast has an active rock station witch really sucks!! you have to drive to Naples just hear 99X or all the way to Osceola county just to hear 101one WJRR The Rock Station. man does south Florida suck!! come on people Give us A active/alternative/modern Rock Station Already!!! :(

Franklin Hayes
Franklin Hayes

we just need a decent station that plays NEW stuff.  you never heard anything new on 93 Rock.  .they played the same songs over and over and over again.  Nirvana, Metallica, RHCP, GNR, repeat.  it sucked so bad.  even the DJ's were lame.  "Naughty" Natalia?  "Dangerous" Dave Hanson?  Is it a porno or radio station?  

create a station that plays NEW rock and you might have a chance, Clear Channel.

Native
Native

Let's face it, since 1985 this has been an uphill struggle here in South Florida, after the demise of K-102, which to this day remains the best AOR/new wave/heavy metal station to ever exist in this market.  Not surprisingly, that was the year that WSHE began their long slow downward spiral.  Since then, it's been one dissapointment after another:  97GTR, ZETA, 93 Rock, and now the Buzz.   The S. Florida radio listenership has always leaned toward simplicity & mediocrity, so this move should come as a surprise to no one.

Rock Cousteau
Rock Cousteau

While there is a sadness to the casualty of 103.1, it only leaves room for other platforms to grow and flourish.  At Rock Cousteau, it is our aim to fill that gapping hole that the loss of these terrestial radio stations leave us with in South Florida.  It used to be up to radio stations to feed us great sounds and yes, now all we are left with is commercialized music that is being forced down our throats and the throats of our children.  With all due respect, we disagree with the writer of this article, in that there are alternatives to the usual format of promotion, but it doesn't seem like they are willing to explore the alternatives.  Please, come along with us on our journey and you will be exposed to a whole new world of music that you never knew existed.  On a side note, yes, the numbers at the last My Morning Jacket show at the Sunset Cove Amphitheater were weak, but there are other forms of promotion that probably were not in place that should have been.  However, the MMJ show at the Fillmore was well attended.  Liv, Luv & Rock......Cousteau!  www.rockcousteau.com

scott medvin
scott medvin

My Morning Jacket is the best American touring rock band around, and the last two times they've played here there has been an incredibly piss poor showing. This is not a rock town, this is a town that loves prepackaged commercial garbage: hell, Jingle Ball sold out the same night less then 1,000 people were at MMJ!

Bryan
Bryan

rockstar mayhem tour is skipping us in 2012- they're stopping in Tampa.  and warped moved back down to Miami instead of WPB.  what happened with cruzan??

strangelove262
strangelove262

It's not so much that there's no market for mainstream rock in South Florida as it is lousy programming on the part of station owners. 93 Rock was in the same abysmal state as Zeta was when it choked on its dying breath, voice-tracked announcers reading scripts and playing the same tired Zeppelin and Skynyrd songs mixed in with a contemporary playlist that was as tight as a snare drum and trying to be everything to everyone. Being from Broward I can't speak with complete authority on 103.1 but the few times I was able to listen it sounded they like were heading the same way. It's the community that makes a radio station work and if the station isn't getting outside the safety of their focus groups and going out to the bars and clubs to see what people are into or encouraging local musicians to send in their stuff for airplay then people will just shrug it off and find what they want elsewhere. And as for concerts if they won't come here then we should just start making more of our own music.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

Its sad but true.  I work as a stagehand and work has rapidly dwindled to nearly nothing thanks to this.  When I started back in 2000 I was swamped.  I know there are those who are glad these rock stations are gone, but they ignore the much larger situation.  A big concert takes a lot of money to run, so have little for promotion.  Without any of these stations here, there is no promotion.  New Times can publish ads but it will not reach everywhere.  I bet most here do not even know Rammstein is coming here on 4/20.  And most of these music subscription services do not advertise incoming concerts to the area since it is not localized.What few shows that will come through will end up charging a much larger ticket price to cover their promotion fees, pricing out most people.  I know tickets for a couple of shows are now hideously expensive making them out of the range of the average person.South Florida does not need any more pop, latin, or rap stations.  That is all thats on the dial now.  The lack of any rock on the dial spells the end of a lot of things here, and not just rock concerts.Even the economy will be affected by this idiocy.

Amy T
Amy T

Why would warped go to miamI? There is even less of a rock scene there, being mostly Spanish, rap, and dance music.

Danny Tellez
Danny Tellez

i lived in broward for more then five years. i recentaly moved to WPB last year and i started listening to 103.1 the buzz and trust me the buzz was far better than 93.1. I knew 93.1 was going to close sooner or later but the buzz came to a big suprise to me and now i have to listen to 103.1 NOW which is the same thing played as in every channel. If it wasnt for 103.1 the buzz i wouldnt have found out about Redlight kings which have become one of my new favorite bands. So 103.1 was an amazing station which did show there faces and went to bars they were at Captian jacks evey wedensday and its truely sad we lost a great one. btw the whole thing about creating our own music good luck, sadly music aint an easy industry these days if u havent noticed

Reed Fischer
Reed Fischer

We know that Rammstein is coming on 4/20 :)

Mario
Mario

@ Amy, there's are plenty of folks down here that love alternative and indie. Midtown Miami has a large hipster population.

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