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TV & Radio Blog

Posted: 11:14 a.m. Monday, April 14, 2014

Austin getting new radio station 

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By Gary Dinges

A new Austin radio station is on the way that promises to generate significant buzz.

The Fringe could debut as soon as this weekend, according to Ray Seggern, the station’s program director.

Seggern, a local advertising executive and, up until a few weeks, ago, host of the “Chillville” program on alternative rock station 101X says there’s not much he can reveal yet.

That includes who will host the station’s morning show, a crucial spot, revenue-wise, on any station. Seggern promises the program will feature high-profile personalities who are very well known to Central Texans.

Their identities could potentially be revealed sometime this week, he said.

Seggern said he will serve as The Fringe’s afternoon host.

The frequency the station will occupy is also being kept a secret.

Beloved Austin broadcaster Bob Cole, who is heading up the station, oversees four local frequencies, so it’s a good bet The Fringe will wind up on one of those spots on the radio dial. Cole’s KOKE-FM, home to an eclectic mix of country music and more, can be heard on three of those frequencies: 98.5 FM and 99.3 FM since it launched in 2012 and, as of last summer, 105.3 FM, as well.

The fourth frequency is 104.9 FM, home to The Horn, a hybrid sports talk and classic hits station Cole and his partners took over in January.

Seggern also told the American-Statesman he can’t disclose the type of music the station will play, citing competitive reasons. Backers don’t want to give another Austin radio operator a chance to copy The Fringe’s format before it launches, a common trick in the highly competitive radio business. He did offer a few clues, though.

“It’s off the beaten path,” he said. “There are a lot of stations out there playing the same five songs every five minutes. Our station will be known just as much for what it doesn’t play as what it does play.”

One hint: Seggern promises The Fringe isn’t aiming to “out Maroon 5 the other stations” in town. Sorry, Adam Levine fans.

Music isn’t the only way The Fringe is setting out to differentiate itself from Austin’s existing FM stations. Seggern says he plans to use his advertising connections to “find new ways to make the station profitable without running too many commercials,” but wouldn’t elaborate.

Already, Seggern said The Fringe is getting “positive traction” from wouldbe sponsors.

Depending on listener response, the station has the potential to shake up Austin’s radio ratings, which have essentially remained stagnant for the past year.

In the most recent Nielsen report, Austin’s top-rated station was once again 103.5 Bob FM (adult hits), followed by KASE 101 (country), 98.1 KVET-FM (country), 96.7 Kiss FM (Top 40) and 102.3 The Beat (rhythmic), according to data from allaccess.com.  

Gary Dinges

About Gary Dinges

Gary Dinges covers bars/restaurants, movies, music, radio and TV -- plus a bunch of other fun stuff -- for the Austin American-Statesman.

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