Talk about good timing: The same day that the new N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton” hit movie theaters nationwide last Friday on its way to scoring a major box-office victory and underscoring the popular of classic rap music, the second of two new retro hip-hop stations hit the airwaves in the Twin Cities, The Vibe 105.
“It was pure coincidence, but a good one,” said Scott Jameson, operations manager at Cumulus Media Minneapolis, which operates The Vibe alongside classic-rock mainstay KQRS (92.5 FM) and hard-rock outlet 93X (93.7).
Jameson did not go so far as to claim it was entirely a coincidence that his company’s new outlet debuted so soon after competitor Hot 102.5 FM hit the airwaves in June. Both stations are programmed via their large parent corporations – iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) in the case of Hot 102.
“It’s pretty well-known in the industry that this has become a popular radio format right now,” Jameson said. He cited women in their 30s and 40s as the primary demographic tuning into stations of this ilk.
The Vibe 105 replaced The Ticket, a sports talk outlet affiliated with CBS Sports, which was earning abysmal ratings. Jameson believes The Vibe 105’s stronger signal reach -- a patchwork of three frequencies, 105.1., 105.3 and 105.7 – will give it a leg up on Hot 102. But representatives from both stations agree it’s a surprise to suddenly have stiff competition in a format that heretofore was untapped.
Prior to these two stations, the Twin Cities has not had a full-time hip-hop radio station since 2010, when Pohlad-owned station B-96 made its first of three format changes in five years to Top 40-oriented 96.3 Now (now it's the modern-rock outlet and Twins broadcaster Go 96.3). However, there’s still not a station in town playing modern hip-hop full-time.
Here’s a sample of the playlist The Vibe 105 aired earlier today. It's easy to see how similar it is to the ‘80s/’90s rap and R&B singles played over at Hot 102.5.
- · “The Breaks,” Kurtis Blow
- · “Drop It Like It's Hot,” Snoop Dogg
- · “I Got 5 on It,” Luniz
- · “Candy Rain,” Soul for Real
- · “Roll Out,” Ludacris
- · “One More Chance,” Notorious B.I.G.
- · “Can I Get A...,” Jay Z
- · “Supersonic,” J.J. Fad
- · “Can't Deny It (feat. Nate Dogg),” Fabolous
- · “Bonita Applebum,” A Tribe Called Quest
- · “Feels Good,” Tony! Toni! Toné!
- · “Back That Thing Up,” Juvenile f. Mannie Fresh & Lil Wayne
- · “Here Comes the Hotstepper,” Ini Kamoze
- · “Ms. Jackson,” Outkast
- · “The Humpy Dance,” Digital Underground
- · “I Get Around,” 2Pac
- · “Peaches & Cream (feat. P. Diddy),” 112
- · “Feel So Good,” Mase