Clear Channel re-brands KYOT-FM, KFYI-AM in Phoenix


Clear Channel/Phoenix Director of Programming and Operations Smokey Rivers has made changes to the Smooth Jazz Coyote (KYOT-FM) and News Talk KFYI-AM. 95.5 KYOT has evolved from a predominantly instrumental presentation to a predominantly vocal music blend, featuring artists like Norah Jones, Beyonce, John Mayer and Alicia Keys. The station started out in 1994 with a New Age sound to it, incorporating southwest Indian influences and relaxing tunes from artists like Philip Glass. It eventually moved over to the Smooth Jazz genre.

The new Smooth AC mix will add play “immensely popular songs that evoke strong emotional bonds” while keeping in the mix the all-time most popular smooth jazz tracks each hour. However, the word “jazz” is being removed from from KYOT’s station descriptor. The new imaging revolves around: “The new 95.5 KYOT. The smoothest place on your radio.”

We asked Rivers about some of the reasoning behind the switch. Was it just about demographics? “We started the year with a 70/30 instrumental to vocal ratio.  That became 60/40, then 50/50.  Upside: We have seen improvement in our appeal to W25-54 in recent months, which gives us the confidence to press forward with the ‘vocalization’ of KYOT.”

The imaging will not change as much as you’d think. Rivers told RBR-TVBR that after creating it all and scheduling it for days and now looking at it and listening to it, “The textural makeup of the station is identical to what it was before. The vocal styles are very similar to what we’ve played before. I think we have inherently more appeal in the vocal music simply because of familiarity. And in the PPM world you are rewarded for that.”

Meanwhile, 550 KFYI and have co-branded with the Fox News Radio brand to be now named “Fox News Radio 550 KFYI.” Anchor store hosts Barry Young, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh will stay on the menu. The station had used network casts from Fox News previously on evenings, weekends and select drivetimes. Rivers tells us he is now airing Fox News Radio network news at the top of the hour, along with local newscasts to follow. “I told our local people, be more aggressive with local now–be ‘local news ninjas’ and follow the local stories.”

Said Rivers: “KFYI has enjoyed the leadership position among Valley talk stations for the past decade.  Recent host additions Mike Broomhead and Jim Sharpe have demonstrated their appeal by growing their respective afternoon and early morning listening audiences.  To enhance our position as the leading radio source for news and information, we will be adding hourly news updates around the clock from Fox, America’s most trusted news, to the KFYI program schedule.” 

RBR-TVBR observation: We assume the KYOT move is just to increase ratings and resonate better with the demos in the market. But it is a little confusing that the format will lean more towards sister station AC KESZ: “99.9 KEZ-FM.” Rivers told RBR-TVBR that when you have eight stations in a market, you are bound to be competing with everyone, including yourself. “It’s nice to have a station that’s a P1 and a sister station that’s a P2 to the same listener.”