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Austin American Statesman 10/1996

The Juice changes its on-air fare

Majic 95 sister station shifts from soul oldies to urban contemporary
BYLINE: John Herndon DATE: 10-03-1996 PUBLICATION: The Austin American-Statesman

KJCE-AM's new program director Ben Bryant is bringing new energy to Austin's only commercial station playing urban music. Bryant, a 19-year-old college student, began working in radio just last July, when he became an unpaid intern for sister-station Majic 95 (KKMJ-FM). A chance to substitute in a vacant on-air slot led to a regular weekend spot on Majic. This month, his interest in KJCE earned him the top spot there. Although KJCE, the Juice, changed its format months ago, Bryant says, too many people still think the station's playing soul oldies. Instead, KJCE is the first commercial station in a long time to program contemporary urban music. The new format, called urban adult contemporary, features such acts as Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, TLC, R. Kelly, Michael and Janet Jackson and Brandy, Bryant said. The oldies of soul, such as Aretha Franklin, Al Green, James Brown and the Motown sound, have been relegated to Sundays, he said. Popular syndicated DJs Tom Joyner during morning drive and A.J.Parker and Doug Banks in the afternoons anchor the program day. The station, with a low-power AM signal, remains fairly obscure, consistently ranking near the bottom of the market with a 1 percent share or less. But Bryant says efforts to spread the word are changing that. ``A lot of people who like this music don't even know we're on the air,'' he said. ``But when they discover the Juice they love it. They don't mind that it's AM. In fact, AM is getting kind of hip. It's kind of retro, like discovering a bunch of old 45's.'' Bryant also has plans for a Saturday morning talk show that will better serve the needs of
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Austin American Statesman 10/1996

Austin's black community -- although it's not known yet when the show will debut. ``I've thought for a long time we're ignoring the needs of our core demographic (group),'' he said. ``My talk show will focus on community affairs of interest to'' the black community. There will be some focus on the music industry, as well, he said. Although it might seem obvious that a station playing urban music would appeal primarily to blacks, the appeal of the format is actually much broader, Bryant said. ``A whole bunch of different people listen to urban AC,'' he said. ``A lot more people than we thought listen to it, people of different ages, different races, different backgrounds.''

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