It’s tough for all media outlets that have to sell ads to exist, but it’s even worse for XETV/Channel 6 since the local station lost its Fox affiliation last summer. Channel 6 manager Richard Doutre Jones says the loss of Fox triggered a “significant” loss of income but says he is looking forward to when all TV stations switch to digital this year, because of all the local TV channels, only Channel 6 appears on the FM dial at 87.7.
One year ago, a New York TV station used its analog 87.7 signal to launch an electronic music station, “Pulse 87.” Last week it was announced that two TV stations in L.A. and Chicago will also start to carry their own Pulse 87 FM electronic-music station.
Jones admits he “just started looking into” the possibility that his 87.7 signal could be used for a dance-music station. He explains that the Mexican version of the FCC would have to sign off on the conversion of 87.7 from a TV-audio channel to an FM music station because XETV is based in Tijuana. But if it does, he says he would pursue the launch of a new FM music station for San Diego.
“If you’re going to survive in this business, you have to change,” says Jones.
Joel Salkowitz, who runs Pulse 87 in New York, admits the 87.7 position at the bottom of the dial doesn’t help. “87.7 is not a place you stumble on unless your car battery goes dead and your dial defaults to 87.7. But that’s why it’s good to have a distinct and different format there that is unique that people will seek out.”
Salkowitz says Pulse 87 has survived because it doesn’t play only trance and house tracks. “You can’t sound like a rave all day long and have it be a success. This is not weird music. You don’t have to be on drugs to listen to and enjoy Pulse 87.”
Veteran DJ Jon Bishop says Pulse 87 would make it in San Diego in spite of the fact that the electronic club scene here is “horrible… There is no 18-and-up scene here as far as electronica goes. It has all dried up unless you go to Tijuana, but that is a war zone down there.” Bishop says he has to travel to L.A., Seattle, and Portland for his gigs. “I just played to 7000 in Denver. The rave scene is coming back. But there are no promoters here bringing it to the kids. I think if this station were around, there would be plenty of new people exposed to it who simply aren’t getting that option now. Clubs and promoters here just aren’t taking chances. The majority of local club nights here is Top 40, mainstream stuff.”
XETV aired the locally produced Fox Rox, which showcased local music. Station manager Jones says his station is bullish on music, having just launched a new, locally produced, music-oriented show March 7. “It’s called Karaoke for Cash,” says Jones. “It airs every Saturday at 11 p.m. People can use their phone to call in and sing along.”
Regarding the rumored resurrection of Fox Rox, Jones says, “We are working on something right now that I don’t want to give away.” He declined to divulge the name, concept, or launch date. “Let’s just say it’s a lifestyle show.”