First Listen: Delilah’s KDUN; ‘Throwback’ 24/7, WREO

Of the half-dozen or so format changes that took place over Labor Day Weekend, there are at least three that will likely be of special interest to Ross On Radio readers. There’s the first fulltime affiliate of Tony Lorino’s Throwback Nation Classic Hits format, the launch of syndicated host Delilah Rene’s venture into station ownership, and a distinctive take on Soft AC.

KDUN (K-Dune) Reedsport, Ore.

“Once upon a time, every small town had a big voice,” says the promo. That’s been Rene’s stated intent since purchasing her hometown (and first on-air) station. Another promo, like the ones that KLSY (Classy 92.5) Seattle would have run during Delilah’s time there, asks listeners to help build “America’s last real radio station from the ground up.” Already there are ads for a local swap meet and a local realtor (“Liz loves this community; she lives it and lists it”). And there’s a swap-shop show in middays.

One of the great things about Soft AC KSWD (the Sound) Seattle in its early days was hearing Delilah on middays followed by PD Smokey Rivers in afternoons. Rene showed her versatility by being herself, but in a different framework. Rivers brought unexpected over-the-intros energy to his afternoon show. Now, KDUN is using Clear Media Networks’ ‘60s/’70s “Big Oldies” format, overseen by Rivers, and with him in afternoons. Delilah’s syndicated show is heard at night with AC music. 

Liners promise “good times and great music for the Oregon Dunes” from a time when “radio was A-M-azing.” Here’s KDUN around 4:30 p.m. on its second day, Sept. 7:

  • Fleetwood Mac, “Go Your Own Way”
  • Temptations, “My Girl”
  • Elton John, “Crocodile Rock”
  • Dire Straits, “Sultans of Swing”
  • Jackie Wilson, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”
  • Eagles, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”
  • Diana Ross, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
  • Rare Earth, “(I Just Want to) Celebrate”
  • Rascals, “Groovin’”
  • Staple Singers, “I’ll Take You There”
  • Joan Jett & Blackhearts, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”
  • America, “Sister Golden Hair”
  • Rolling Stones, “Brown Sugar”
  • Jackson 5, “I’ll Be There”
  • Simon & Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson”
  • Jean Knight, “Mr. Big Stuff”
  • Aerosmith, “Dream On”

WYET (Throwback 102.3) South Bend, Ind.

WYET was already Classic Hits and an evening affiliate of veteran PD Tony Lorino’s syndicated Throwback Nation show. Now, they’re the first full-time Throwback affiliate, billed as “the greatest hits of the ‘80s and ‘90s.” Lorino’s evening show will be joined by former KYKY St. Louis morning host Paul Cook, middayer Trisha Moore from WKKW Morgantown, W. Va., and former KHMX (Mix 96.5) Houston PD Chase Murphy. 

Throwback 102.3 launched commercial-free for Labor Day weekend, and will also do a commercial-free 9 a.m.-noon bloc. Here’s the station at noon on Sept. 7:

  • Bryan Adams, “Heaven”
  • Daryl Hall & John Oates, “You Make My Dreams”
  • John Mellencamp, “Hurts So Good”
  • Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping”
  • Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
  • Huey Lewis & News, “The Power of Love”
  • Naked Eyes, “Always Something There to Remind Me”
  • Robert Palmer, “Addicted to Love”
  • Dead or Alive, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”
  • Loverboy, “Working for the Weekend”
  • Haddaway, “What Is Love”
  • Eddie Money f/Ronnie Spector, “Take Me Home Tonight”
  • Billy Joel, “Tell Her About It”
  • REO Speedwagon, “Take It on the Run”

WREO (Lite Mix 97.1) Ashtabula, Ohio

The rise of Soft AC was, in part, a reaction to the quest for a “millennial AC” format. As Mainstream AC stations moved closer to Hot AC and CHR, suddenly the Air Supply soft ‘80s seemed novel again. But what about a “millennial Soft AC,” based not in Hall & Oates and Christopher Cross, but with a lot of music from the last 20 years? 

WREO softened from Hot AC “Mix 97.1” on Labor Day, a change brought to my attention by reader Tristan Sanchez. The sister station of WQGR (Gold 93.7), another ROR reader favorite, WREO is billing itself as ‘90s-to-now Soft AC. It still has some ‘80s, but the center of the station is a lot of ‘00s AC titles that you haven’t heard for a while. 

Here’s Lite Mix 97.1 at 10 p.m., Sept. 6:

  • Colbie Caillat, “Brighter Than the Sun”
  • John Legend, “Ordinary People”
  • Selena Gomez, “Love You Like a Love Song”
  • Daughtry, “Start of Something Good”
  • Duncan Laurence, “Arcade”
  • Shawn Mendes, “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”
  • Rachel Platten, “Stand by You”
  • Lifehouse, “Halfway Gone”
  • Mariah Carey, “Dreamlover”
  • Madonna, “La Isla Bonita”
  • Pink, “All I Know So Far”
  • James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”
  • U2, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
  • Simple Minds, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”
  • Ashe & Finneas, “Till Forever Falls Apart”
  • Justin Bieber & Benny Blanco, “Lonely”

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