Another FM dial tune-up: 96.3 becoming K-TWIN

Pohlad-owned Northern Lights Broadcasting is dropping the "Now" pop flavor and adding more news and rock.

Eric Perkins

Photo: Provided by KARE 11

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Get ready for another major identity change on the Twin Cities' FM dial.

Breezy pop and R&B station 96.3 Now will be reborn Sunday as adult Top 40 station K-TWIN, trading in Lady Gaga and Rihanna for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bon Jovi and adding more of a news element.

The K-TWIN rollout will include the debut on Wednesday of a new morning show with KARE-11 TV personality Eric Perkins and veteran 96.3 personality Tony Fly, plus more reports on weather, sports and other news throughout the day.

"We want it to be very reflective of the Twin Cities," said Steve Woodbury, president of Northern Lights Broadcasting, which operates the station.

Northern Lights, which is owned by the Pohlad family and the Minnesota Twins, altered the 96.3 outlet just two years ago when it dropped the all-hip-hop B96 format and launched the poppier Now playlist. Woodbury admitted the Now format was too repetitive of competing Top 40 mainstay KDWB-FM.

K-TWIN is dropping the teenybopper flavor -- which caused some controversy when it was brought over to Target Field during Twins games last season -- but the station will still play a lot of current hit artists such as Adele, Maroon 5, Daughtry, Coldplay and Foster the People alongside '80s and '90s rock favorites, Woodbury said.

Northern Lights is betting its on-air personalities and news content will set the station apart. In addition to Perkins, who will maintain his TV duties, the station is bringing in two former KARE-11 TV reporters, Rick Kupchella and Amy Hockert.

Some of the 96.3 Now DJs will stay on, too, including Danni Starr. The personalities won't take the air until Wednesday, but the music will change right away with the calendar.

This will be the second major changeover on the FM dial in just over a week. Competing company CBS Radio's 102.9 outlet, light-rock-formatted WLTE, was remade into a country hits station, BUZ'N 102.9.

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658

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