KUBE 93 changes format, Eric Powers leaves

by: Casey McNerthney, KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

Eric Powers and Ludacris. Powers left KUBE in January 2016 after 25 years with the station. KUBE switched to a Top 40 format on Jan. 19.

KUBE 93 is back to a Top 40 format, and longtime host Eric Powers left the station after 25 years.

KUBE's rhythmic brand moves to 104.9 FM as "Tacoma’s new home for hits and hip-hop,” with Supa Sam in the morning and Tiffany during the afternoon drive, iHeartMedia announced.

The KUBE switch is one of several changes announced Tuesday.

KBKS 106.1 becomes a hot adult contemporary station with the “More music, more variety” slogan and hosts Bender and Molly on mornings. Last week, KYNW transitioned to Alt 102.9 FM, “Tacoma’s new home for hits and hip hop.” Harms, who previously worked for 107.7, is part of the Alt 102.9 lineup.

“We have identified a clear path forward that retains these stations’ core listeners, while also attracting new ones,” iHeartMedia Seattle market president Kent Haehl said in a statement. “These programming changes will build on the strengths of each brand and what differentiates them from one another. These chankbleges aren’t traditional format changes; this is a pivot strategy to enable these brands to resonate quickly with both listeners and advertisers.”

KUBE started as a Top 40 station in 1982 promising people $10,000 if they clocked the station playing less than 51 minutes of music per hour. That’s equivalent to roughly $24,600 in 2015 dollars.

KUBE was formatted that year to play one third current hits, one third old hits and one third recurrent hits and branded itself the New 93. Then station manager Michael O’Shea told The Seattle Times that people who “invested three paychecks in a stereo system” would want to hear music in stereo -- and that it was it was important for the call letters to form an acronym.

The only exception to the 51-minute music format was the morning show with Charlie Brown, who came to KUBE from KJR. That 51-minute format was possible because the F.C.C. dropped a public service announcement requirement in summer 1981.

Brown, who was later joined by Ty Flint, stayed in the morning spot until 1995 when he was replaced by Rob Tepper, The T-Man, who previously was an evening sports host on KJR-AM. (Dave “Softy” Mahler, now a longtime KJR host, was his sports producer.)

The FM station 93.3 began broadcasting as KBLE in 1964 with a country format. In the early 1980s, KBLE-FM was a religious station that included Dave Ballard, a longtime Seattle radio voice best known for his "Reflections" program that started on KIRO radio. (Ballard also was a grandson of Ballard namesake Capt. William Rankin Ballard.)

The KBLE call letters lasted until the 1982 switch to KUBE. The call letters first appear in The Times radio listings on Feb. 8 of that year; the Feb. 5 listings have KBLE at 93.3.

“Tuning in to The New 93 for music is something like going to McDonald’s for a burger,” Times reporter Sheila Anne Feeney wrote of KUBE on Jan. 20, 1982. “You’re in the company of lots of other young and middle-aged people, you get what you want without a lot of extraneous fuss, and its product is consistent, the same every time.”

KUBE switched to a rhythmic format in 1992.

Featuring Chet "The Jet" Buchanan and the Hot 7 at 7 broadcasting on the shores of Lake Washington, KUBE continued its popularity with a young audience. (It also was the Heavy 7 at 7.)

"My heart hurts today," Buchanan tweeted Tuesday afternoon. "RIP KUBE 93."

The station briefly changed to an alternative rock format in 1994, according to the station’s Wikipedia page, trying to compete with 107.7 The End (KNDD) with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame DJ Marco Collins. That switch followed the gang related drive-by shooting death of Ballard High School student Melissa Fernandez, an innocent bystander. Her death was one of 69 homicides in Seattle that year -- and all-time high.

KUBE branded itself as “Seattle's #1 Hit Music Station,” and Powers, a product of Nathan Hale High School where he was on air at KNHC, became program director in 1998. Powers could not be reached by phone or e-mail Tuesday.

"Thanks for an amazing 25 years," Powers tweeted Tuesday night. "This is where I grew up! I love this city."

Shellie Hart, a longtime midday DJ who hosted the Old School Lunch and worked as music director, left KUBE in 2011. She is now emcee for the Seattle Storm and a DJ on Warm 106.9.

Sir-Mix-a-Lot was on 93.3 from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays before the switch, and is still listed on the 104.9 lineup.

Previously 104.9 was rock station The Brew and, before that, Funky Monkey, KFNK

“It’s no secret that Seattle is a competitive market and these changes align our brands in a way that capitalizes on each stations strengths and gives us the best opportunity to win while providing a fresh new experience for our audience," Rich Davis, iHeartMedia’s senior vice president of programming, said in a statement. “Our talent, including new Power 93.3 morning team Carla Marie and Anthony , Alt. 102.9’s Harms, along with 106.1’s Bender and Molly and KUBE 104.9’s DJ Supa Sam make this lineup not just a big win for our stations, but for our listeners in Seattle too.”

<center><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="6" ><div > <div > <div ></div></div> <p > <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BAv8jxtFLSd/" target="_blank">Thanks for an amazing 25 years.... This is where I grew up! I love this city. #powers2the people4life</a></p> <p >A photo posted by @ericpowers933 on <time datetime="2016-01-20T05:29:43+00:00">Jan 19, 2016 at 9:29pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote><script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script></center>

<center>https://twitter.com/chetbuchanan/status/689554382086533120</center>