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"We're a rock station now" is how one station staffer describes the new direction of 91X. Employees of Finest City Broadcasting who operate 91X have lately been telling others in the industry that the station is moving toward a harder rock sound.

Although the change is not drastic, some have noticed that the station now plays new music by Korn, and a Metallica cut was heard on the noontime Resurrection Lunch show; neither act has been a 91X mainstay. The station is also playing more songs by Three Days Grace, Stone Sour, and Operator while it backs away from emo artists such as Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance.

The move to harder music could be a response to the latest quarterly Arbitron ratings that indicate 91X earned its lowest ratings in its 24-year history. The station's 1.6 rating makes 91X the 25th most popular station in San Diego County (FM 94/9 is in 21st place; Rock 105.3 is in 15th).

A new afternoon DJ/music director named Capone -- from an alternative station in Albany, New York -- may be credited for 91X's redirection. While still in Albany, he pointed out that his station was "...number three in the market." When asked if he would make 91X rock harder, he said all comments would have to come from his new boss, 91X program director Phil Manning.

Manning had no comment on any new musical direction, nor would he comment on why he moved the two-hour all-local Loudspeaker show from 6 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday or why he fired 11-year veteran DJ Trevor Trent.

Another incentive for 91X to rock harder is the fact that, last Friday, CBS Radio pulled the plug on its low-rated FM talk station "Free FM" (103.7 FM) and replaced it with a "modern adult contemporary" station called "Sophie 103.7." The new station relies on new cuts by many of the emo pop artists championed by 91X including Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Panic at the Disco.

In response to 91X playing harder rock songs, Rock 105.3 has begun airing a promo that alludes to the 91X slogan ("The Cutting edge of rock"): "If you have to say your're the cutting edge of rock, then brother, you ain't."

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