“Fringe FM” launching in Austin


Broadcast TowerGenuine Austin Radio will launch a new freeform/indie station called “Fringe FM” on the FM dial later this month. “What does fringe mean?” PD Ray Seggern told the Austin Chronicle. “It means we’re off the beaten path. It says that, relative to the competition, we’re slightly off center.”

The station’s future website looks to be FringeFMAustin.com, as it was registered by Jason Nassour on 3/27.

Seggern, a vet of local radio who recently abandoned his long-held post as host of Emmis Alternative/Indie KROX-FM 101X’s Sunday morning Chillville show, says the new independent commercial station will share space with sister station KOKE-FM – whose owners Bob Cole and Jason Nassour are the primary owners of Fringe. The home-grown Americana/Country outlet on 99.3 launched in 2012 and featured personalities well known to Central Texas listeners, including former Clear Channel KVET-FM morning host Cole and meteorologist Troy Kimmel.

Cole teamed with Austin attorney Nassour and former KVET morning show producer and afternoon host Eric Raines to acquire the 99.3 FM frequency from broadcaster Dick Oppenheimer.

The Fringe FM signal goes live in weeks and will offer a morning show and afternoon deejays playing free-form radio.

According to the story, rumors indicate that JB Hager and Sandy McIlree will handle morning drive. They were at Mix 94.7FM for 18 years before that station declined to renew Hager’s contract late last year and McIlree left shortly after.

“I know for a fact that Austinites love this morning show we’re about to unveil,” Seggern told the paper.

“When talking to the Fringe team, a singular narrative prevails: local guys rallying against the corporate radio model. They envision a station where deejays are instrumental in creating the brand’s cultural and musical identity, where making personal connections with your audience holds more water than Portable People Meter ratings, where the autonomy prevails instead of following the directives of out-of-town consultants.” said the story.

It can be this simple,” outlines Seggern. “All we have to do is put great music on.”

See the Austin Chronicle story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: Austin has a good deal of independent-minded FMs on the dial already, with 4 AAA/Americana stations, UT’s Indie/Variety KVRX-FM and Emmis’ KROX. Fringe FM may fit well with the “Keep Austin Weird” mantra of that cool city. Austin has two HD multicast/translator signals that show up on the ratings, too—AAA KVET-FM HD2 and Urban AC KKMJ-HD3. Having another DJ-curated FMs in a big college town like Austin is possibly a sign of a trend for how radio is “coming back around,” letting the local DJs be the Pandora of radio’s music discovery again. This is largely being helped along by LPFMs, HD multicast stations and their associated translators. The full circle will come when these stations are on full-power signals. We hope the station will be like the old WHFS-FM in DC (1969-1996)–pretty much full-power, but unpredictable and featuring DJs who seemingly brought in their own journey of a music collection on a daily basis.