One of my favorite times in radio was helping to launch San Antonio station KBBT (98.5 The Beat) in the fall of 2000.
I was the No. 1 rated night jock in Austin for two years from 1998-2000 and my contract was up and wasn’t renewed because I wanted more money than the company was offering. I figured, I helped KQBT (The Beat 104.3) take out legendary radio station KHFI in the Austin market and deserved a pay raise from my original pay in ’98. The company thought otherwise.
Enter J.D. Gonzalez from Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., he called me about an opportunity to help start another station in San Antonio and take out another legendary station, KTFM.
I loved the research that J.D. had compiled showing what it would take and that I was one of the puzzle pieces he needed to help him do the job. I agreed to join the team and on September 29 of 2000, 98.5 The Beat (KBBT) launched in SA with JD at the helm and me doing the night show and Music Director of The Beat. We kicked the station off with “Who Let The Dogs Out” by Baha Men.
Here’s an excerpt the from San Antonio Express-News on Thursday, October 5, 2000 written by Jeanne Jackle:
‘Clean’ hip-hop station?
Did you know hip-hop was suppose to be tip-top in San Antonio?
That is why the Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. just launched its first San Antonio station that isn’t dominated by Latino music or talk.
KBBT (“The Beat” at 98.5 on the FM dial) signed on Friday afternoon and it will be airing music from rap artists such as Eminem, Destiny’s Child, Sisqo and Snoop Doggy Dogg. And the bosses there promises that the version played on KBBT will be clean and kid-friendly.
The music will come to listeners non-stop and commercial-free for up to the next six weeks.
The station is in the process squaring away its air talent and sales staff.
“We’ve got two heavy hitters coming to us right of the bat. Coming to us from Corpus is Danny B. , who was formerly in the San Antonio market where he had No. 1 ratings in his day part at (top station) KTFM,” announced J.D. Gonzalez, KBBT Program Director. “In addition the widely popular Romeo (from the No. 1 night show in Austin) will helm the evening shift.”
He said he hopes to steal the thunder from No. 1 KTFM here, which scores “phenomenal” ratings at night, when it concentrates on R&B and hip-hop music.
Research has shown the format “has tremendous appeal among young Hispanics, and we plan to run it 24 hours a day on our station,” said Gonzalez.
He predicts it won’t be long before KBBT zooms to the top of the audience charts in the same way “The Beat” format in Austin has.
Hispanic Broadcasting Corp, certainly has been blanketing the city with Latino-flavored entertainment for just about every age and taste. KXTN, of course, is widely known for its popular Tejano sound; and the company just launched a Latino oldies outlet, KCOR-FM.
In just one ratings period we took down the legendary KTFM, so much so, that they changed to Wild 102.7 for awhile before they flipped back to KTFM a year later.
If it wasn’t for JD and my former program director at KQBT, Rick Thomas, I wouldn’t have spent 8 great years in one of my most favorite cities and created lasting friendships with the San Antonio community and many media friends.
I was at KBBT until 2008, when now Univision Radio had budget cuts and then I was off to Houston, but that’s another #TBT story to come.