San Diego

FM 949 Takes Alternate Path

The local radio station made a surprising announcement Thursday

Sean Combs. Puff Daddy. Puffy. P. Diddy. Diddy. Love. What's in a name?

A lot, apparently. With Combs-like creativity, Entercom Communications Corporation just announced a new name for one of San Diego's premier radio stations. FM 949 will hereafter be called ALT 949, cementing its role as the leader in alternative music (though 91x would probably beg to differ). 

The move, of course, comes in the wake of the shocking decision nearly two years ago to slash the slash from FM 94/9's name -- and transform it to FM 949. 

While the once "independent" radio station might no longer be "about the music" -- but about "San Diego's alternative" instead (like, what does that even mean, man?) -- not much else has changed. It will still broadcast Padres games, compete with 91x's local show on Sundays with the Local 949, and play the same alt-rock songs over and over (and over).

It also looks like Entercom, the parent company of ALT 949, has been busy adding the "ALT" moniker to a number of its other radio stations around the country (thanks for the heads up, @chickrawker, one of our favorite SoundDiego Twitter followers).  

Indeed, Entercom started its "ALT" rehaul after acquiring CBS Radio in a merger last year and thus far has rebranded San Francisco's "Live 105" to ALT 105.3, New York's AMP 92.3 to ALT 92.3, Dallas' AMP 103.7 as ALT 103.7 and Daytona Beach-Miami's WQMP 101.9 as ALT 101.9 (until it realized iHeartMedia had a station in that city already branded as ALT 101.1; Entercom has since changed its station's name again to FM 101.9). 

Funnily enough, iHeartMedia -- one of Entercom's main competitors -- has already branded several of their radio stations with "ALT." The company also just launched a Detroit station with the name ALT 106.7 in a move that an report called a "preemptive move to block Entercom from filling the modern rock hole in the market." Ah, nothing like good ol' radio wars.

And it begs the question: Sure, the rebrand will look great in Entercom’s annual report, but how does that help out in a local market where they’ve built a brand for 16 years? That remains to be seen.

Either way, for all you ne'er-do-wells out there, it looks like corporate radio is here to stay -- for now, at least.

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