Classic rocker rolling with the changes


POSTED: Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Honolulu's only classic rock radio station, KPOI-FM 105.9, altered its format over the weekend.




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The original, circa-1950s KPOI “;was basically a rock and roll station ... we're just bringing back a little bit of the roll on top of the rock,”; said John Aeto, general manager.

“;It's just sort of rounded out a little bit,”; for women and “;guys that didn't grow up in the rock genre ... hopefully we'll bring them into the tent.”;

“;The guys that grew up listening to Metallica, they are probably the ones that are going to be disappointed.”;

Metallica “;is going away,”; confirmed Brock Whaley, KPOI morning man and director of programming for the Oahu stations of Visionary Related Entertainment LLC.

The format's foundation is still rock, however.

“;When you have Bruce Springsteen playing at the Super Bowl and Cadillac using “;Rock and Roll”; (by Led Zeppelin) ... rock really is the great American music now,”; he said.

Barriers between and classifications within genres “;have been dropped.”;

“;Look at anybody's iPod, look at the variety of artists on there. You won't say, 'This is a classic rock iPod, or a techno-iPod or an alternative iPod'—everybody's got everything on there.”;

Your columnist's iPod swings and sways, swivels and headbangs with Glenn Miller to Tony Bennett; Latin salsa and jazz artists; and rock bands from classic to Disturbed, as an example. No polka, though.

Whaley researches the music local people download through a service.

“;People were not downloading Jethro Tull”; and very few bought Guns 'N Roses' new album, he said. The entire “;Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band”; album by the Beatles and songs from the Rolling Stones' “;Sticky Fingers,”; album are still in demand. “;The numbers are staggering on records like that.”;

“;In this day, in this economy, people speak with their wallets,”; said Whaley.

KPOI will still air classics by the Beatles, Stones, ZZ Top, U2, Journey, Eagles and more

It has added “;a broad spectrum of music from the 1970s, 80s and 90s that wasn't being played in Honolulu,”; including such artists as Carole King, Carly Simon, Prince and Joni Mitchell. “;Some giants of R&B”; are also on the playlist, including Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Aretha Franklin.

“;The difference between us and an oldies station is that we shy away from bubble gum like the Archies and teen pop like the Osmonds,”; Whaley said.

KPOI will not change call letters, but the station invites listeners to come up with its new moniker by entering online or calling 948-9488. The prize is $1,000 and the new name will be announced during a broadcast from Murphy's St. Patrick's Day Block Party.