New radio station plays harder-edged rock

By Jeff Kiger

Hard rocking in Rochester?

A new radio station — Z-ROCK 107.7 — is adding that option to the local music scene.

Cumulus Radio launched Z-Rock at noon Wednesday.


To make room for Cumulus’ seventh station in the area, classic rock station KLCX was moved to the frequency of 103.9.

Why add hard rock to its mix of music offerings?

"As time goes on, rock music is now spanning 40-plus years," said operations manager Brent Ackerman. "I don’t know if an audience that wants to listen to the Doobie Brothers and the Eagles wants to sit through Metallica; just as I don’t think a Pearl Jam or Ozzie Osborn fan wants to sit through Bruce Springsteen or Mellencamp."

By adding Z-Rock, "I think we can satisfy both needs," he said.

Z-Rock is mostly commercial-free for now and has no local DJs. The music is programmed here.

In the morning, Z-Rock is airing a syndicated show — the Mancow Morning Madhouse — that targets a similar audience to The Bob and Tom Show on Clear Channel Laser 101.7. The Mancow show, which does have advertising, runs from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Ackerman said the Z-Rock target audience is 18- to 34-year-olds, with about 65 percent of listeners expected to be male. Among bands to be heard often on Z-Rock are Nickleback, the Foo Fighters, Def Leppard, AC/DC and Nirvana.

By contrast, KLCX Classic Hits targets listeners 25 to 54, and the men-to-women ratio is estimated at 50/50. KLCX will keep its classic rock format with artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel and Boston.


A new program director, Jeff Cecil, was recently hired for KLCX. He will broadcast in the afternoon.

The addition of Z-Rock has been in the making for a couple years, Ackerman said. Cumulus originally bought the 103 slot at auction.

"We looked for what the hole was in the market and, we decided to go with the format," he said.

While Laser also plays rock, Z-Rock will focus on harder-edge music, he said.

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