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KHMX (96.5 MHz, "Mix 96.5") is a commercial FM radio station in Houston, Texas. Owned by Entercom, the station broadcasts a hot adult contemporary radio format that serves the Greater Houston metropolitan area. The KHMX studios and offices are located in Houston's Greenway Plaza district.
|Broadcast area||Greater Houston|
|Frequency||96.5 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Slogan||Houston's Best Variety|
|Format||FM/HD1: Hot Adult Contemporary|
HD2: Active Rock
HD3: Smooth Jazz
(Entercom License, LLC)
|KIKK, KILT (AM), KILT-FM, KKHH, KLOL|
First air date
|February 1, 1948|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|HAAT||585 meters (1919 ft)|
|Webcast||FM/HD1: Mix 96.5 Listen Live|
HD2: Hard Rock 96.5 Listen Live
KHMX has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 100,000 watts, the highest permitted for non-grandfathered FM stations. The transmitter is off Farm-to-Market Road near Fort Bend Parkway in Southwest Houston. KHMX broadcasts in the HD Radio hybrid format. The HD-2 subchannel carries an active rock format known as "Houston HarD Rock." The HD-3 subchannel plays Smooth Jazz.
On February 1, 1948, the station first signed on as KXYZ-FM. The station mostly simulcast AM 1320 KXYZ, with both stations owned by Shamrock Broadcasting. They carried the ABC Radio Network, including dramas, comedies, news and sports. But because few listeners had FM radios in those days, management had little hope KXYZ-FM would ever become profitable. After five and a half years, the station went dark. It stayed silent for about eight years.
KXYZ-FM returned in 1961. KXYZ-AM-FM again simulcast, airing a beautiful music format. KXYZ-AM-FM played 15 minute sweeps of instrumentals, mostly cover versions of popular adult songs, with some Broadway and Hollywood show tunes.
In the late 1960s, the Federal Communications Commission began requiring AM-FM combos in large cities to offer separate programming. In 1968, KXYZ-AM-FM were acquired by ABC. The new ownership changed KXYZ-FM's format to automated progressive rock, branded as "Love 96 1⁄2 FM". "Love" was formulated by ABC Radio for its FM stations around the U.S., including WABC-FM in New York City, KABC-FM in Los Angeles, WLS-FM in Chicago, KGO-FM in San Francisco, WXYZ-FM in Detroit and KQV-FM in Pittsburgh.
Eventually, management wanted to give the FM station's rock format a separate identity from KXYZ's easy listening sound. The call sign switched to KAUM in January 1971. When the national "Love" format was discontinued later in 1971, the progressive rock music continued, but with local disc jockeys, changing its moniker to "KAUM 96 1⁄2 FM".
Top 40 and AOREdit
From July 24, 1980 through late 1986, the station operated as KSRR, first as "97 Star FM", and then again as "97 Rock." It had an AOR format, using the infamous slogan "Kick Ass Rock 'N' Roll!", and a logo similar to WABB in Mobile. The new station featured morning radio host and KEGL alum James Paul "Moby" Carney and Matthew, with Hannah Storm as the sports announcer. The station competed against the album rock format of 101.1 KLOL and for a short period, 100.3 KILT-FM. In mid-1985, due to the merger of ABC Radio and Capital Cities Communications, KSRR was spun off to Malrite Communications in order to meet the FCC's ownership limits at the time.
Adult Contemporary and RhythmicEdit
By mid-1987, heavy competition from Top 40 powerhouses 93.3 KKBQ-FM and 104.1 KRBE prompted the station to morph to adult contemporary. The station rebranded as "96.5 KKHT". In late 1988, Emmis Broadcasting bought the station.
On February 10, 1989, at 6 p.m., the station flipped to a new Rhythmic Contemporary format, with a focus on dance-oriented music, branded as "Energy 96.5". The station adopted the new KNRJ call letters on September 4.
This format was a competitive response to two other local stations, KKBQ and KRBE, whose Top 40 formats reflected the increasing presence of dance club-oriented tracks (catering to a then-lucrative target audience drawn to the flourishing night club scenes along Richmond Avenue and inner Westheimer Road). These competitors featured late-night, weekend live broadcasts from local dance clubs (e.g., Club 6400, The Ocean Club), where in-house DJs drew heavily from libraries of imported and small-label, extended-length modern tracks (which otherwise were seldom heard on most commercial stations). By early 1990, KNRJ had partnered with the Tower Theater's Decadance to host its own weekend, late-night live broadcast.
In May 1990, Nationwide Communications bought the station. The station's ratings during this time were low and the new owners wanted to improve the numbers. In the station's latter months, KNRJ began adding more new wave tracks to improve ratings.
On June 25, 1990, at 7:15 a.m., after playing "Please Don't Go Girl" by New Kids on the Block, and a bit featuring DJ Jeff Scott announcing his discontent for the format, KNRJ flipped to an alternative rock format. The station kicked off with "I Eat Cannibals" by Toto Coelo and a "Top 100 Best Alternative Songs of All Time" countdown. The Alternative 96.5 re-brand was a transitional format, lasting roughly 5 weeks, and was promoted while a forthcoming format was under preparation. A weekly playlist, under a makeshift Alternative 96.5 letterhead, was distributed to local retail and media outlets.
Then on July 18, KNRJ began stunting with a 48-hour ticking clock countdown sequence. A series of disjointed song samples were eventually interspersed into the sequence within the last 12 hours. After the countdown concluded, a fictitious "teacher" conducted a "roll call" calling out the names of program directors from competing radio stations, asking the "class" to start their tape recorders and take notes as this "lecture" was to begin. At that moment, KNRJ's call letters switched to KHMX as the station changed formats to hot adult contemporary, known as "Mix 96.5." The first two songs on "Mix" were Steve Winwood's "Roll With It" and Taylor Dayne's "I'll Be Your Shelter".
General Manager Clancy Woods and Nationwide National Program Director Guy Zapoleon used the roll out at KHMX to launch other new Hot AC stations, branded as the "Mix" format. The Mix brand tagline, "More Music, More Variety, A Better Mix", was commercially successful. The formula for the Mix format was replicated through the 1990s and early 2000s in several other radio markets across North America and in cities as far away as Sydney, Australia by KHMX consultant Alan Burns. Around the same time, research expert John Parikhal, who also worked with KHMX, was helping PD Greg Strassell of Steve Dodge's American Radio Systems in Boston launch another Mix station known as "Mix 98.5", WBMX-FM. This station was more of a Rhythmic AC and an early example of today's MOViN format. Another Mix station was launched a few months earlier in the Summer of 1989 at WOMX Orlando by Nationwide Communications GM Rick Weinkoff and PD Brian Thomas, with help from Guy Zapoleon.
Nationwide sold all of its radio stations, including KHMX, to Jacor in October 1997. After a series of mergers, Clear Channel Communications acquired KHMX in early 1999. KHMX was broadcast nationwide on XM Satellite Radio from 2001 to the end of 2003, when a unique-to-XM Mix channel debuted.
On December 15, 2008, Clear Channel and CBS Radio announced a multi-station swap: KHMX and sister station KLOL would go to CBS Radio, while CBS Radio-owned stations WQSR in Baltimore, KBKS in Seattle, KLTH and KXJM in Portland, Oregon and KQJK in Sacramento would go to Clear Channel. The sale was approved on March 31, 2009, and was consummated on April 1. After the sale of the station to CBS in 2009, KHMX tweaked its sound to include more Top 40/CHR currents.
During its tenure as "Mix", the station has rotated through several morning shows, including Roula & Ryan from 2003-2005 (and now currently on KRBE since 2006), Sam Malone 2005-2007 (formerly of KRBE), Maria Todd 2009-2011 (also formerly of KRBE), The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show 2011-2012 (the show is now on KROI since 2020), Atom Smasher 2013-2015 (also a KRBE alum) and Dave, Mahoney & DK 2015-2016 (formerly of sister KXTE/Las Vegas).
Dave, Mahoney & DK were let go from the station in December 2016. On April 5, 2017, it was announced that "The Morning Mix" would become the new morning show on KHMX consisting of former KKHH host Sarah Pepper, along with afternoon host Lauren Kelly and Geoff Sheen, formerly of KTKR in San Antonio, which began on April 10, 2017. Lauren Kelly however has left in 2019.
KHMX signed on HD Radio operations in 2006. 96.5 HD2 first carried a rhythmic contemporary - dance music format, known as "Energy 96.5." Energy 96.5 was the moniker KHMX used prior to becoming "Mix" in 1990. After the sale of the station to CBS in April 2009, KHMX 96.5 HD2 and KKHH 95.7 HD2 swapped formats, with KHMX-HD2 becoming smooth jazz "The Wave", while KKHH-HD2 taking on the dance format and "Energy 95.7" moniker. "The Wave" would eventually evolve into a Smooth AC (a hybrid of Smooth Jazz and R&B music) format with an emphasis on Smooth Jazz.
In December 2016, "The Wave" moved to KHMX-HD3. After a brief run with an album adult alternative (AAA) format as "Third Rock Radio", and nearly a year of airing a message redirecting Smooth Jazz listeners to KHMX HD-3, the HD-2 re-launched as Active Rock-formatted "HarD Rock Radio 96-5 HD-2" on November 20, 2017.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 294
- "FM Chronology - Part 5 - 1947 - 1950". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1961-1962 page B-168
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1970 page B-199
- Bob Grace, "'97 Rock' Becomes 'Hit 96.5'", the Houston Chronicle, October 25, 1986.
- Louis B. Parks, "KNRJ feels like dancing, makes another format change", the Houston Chronicle, February 14, 1989.
- "Energy 96.5 KNRJ Becomes The Alternative". Format Change Archive. 1990-06-25. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
- "Clock is running on KNRJ changes", the Houston Chronicle, July 19, 1990.
- Louis B. Parks, "Radio station KNRJ changes its format and call letters", the Houston Chronicle, July 20, 1990.
- "96.5 KNRJ becomes "Mix" KHMX". Format Change Archive. 1990-07-20. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
- RARE! Debut Ad for Houston's Mix 96.5 KHMX, retrieved 2020-01-05
- Associated Press, "Jacor buys 17 Nationwide radio stations", the Houston Chronicle, October 29, 1997.
- Bruce Westbrook, "'The Buzz'; 'Mix' being sold; changes coming", the Houston Chronicle, June 17, 1998.
- John Nolan, "Texas-based Clear Channel gets Jacor; $3.4 billion stock deal creates third major player in radio industry", the Houston Chronicle, October 9, 1998.
- CBS Radio to Swap Five Mid-Size Market Stations for Two Large Market Stations with Clear Channel Communications Archived 2008-12-19 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved December 15, 2008)
- CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
- "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- "Welcome The Morning Mix - Houston's New Favorite Morning Show". Retrieved 2017-04-05.
- Official website
- KHMX in the FCC's FM station database
- KHMX on Radio-Locator
- KHMX in Nielsen Audio's FM station database