Out with the old

102.1 FM "The Bull" is focused on new country music


New radio station, new country music. That's what 102.1 FM "The Bull"is all about.

"We're doing new country for Wichita," said Tony Matteo, Operations Manager for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in Wichita, which operates 102.1 FM and three other stations here. "The concept is to focus on the really great music that's coming out of Nashville. We'll go back and do songs from the 2000s, but we won't get too past that."

"The goal, Matteo added, "is just to play people's favorite songs and to play them often enough that they get a chance to hear them."

So what was on the playlist when Matteo spoke a couple weeks ago? Well, three hits getting lots of love were Blake Shelton's "Sure Be Cool If You Did," Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs" and Little Big Town's "Tornado."

The Bull hit the air Feb. 8, replacing KZSN "Kissing Country" on that frequency. Morning DJ Bobby Bones, whose show broadcasts live from Nashville from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., was already familiar to many local listeners, having appeared on another Clear Channel station, KZCH 96.3 FM, back when his show originated out of Austin.

"He's got a pretty good following in Wichita," Matteo said. "He's made a lot of visits to Wichita and talks about it on the show. This was the first market he ever syndicated to back when he was doing a show out of Austin."

Now that he's in Nashville, Matteo attracts a steady stream of A-list country music stars such as Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean to his show. Matteo meshes his regular guy persona with a colorful cast of recurring characters that include "Lunch Box," who Matteo describes as "a single guy living the single guy lifestyle."

Brian Jennings has the shift after Bones. He's a Wichita native who's worked for KZSN and stations elsewhere. "He's as knowledgeable about country music as anybody you'll ever meet," Matteo said.

The station expects to add more on-air talent, perhaps by the time you read this.

Matteo said The Bull will be active in the community, whether promoting concerts, sponsoring festivals or helping charities raise money.

KZSN had been around as a country music station since 1986. "This is not a wholesale change," Matteo said, "but this is definitely a move in the direction of making sure we're covering the new stuff."

And while most of that may come from Nashville, what the station will really respond to is listener demand, he said. Another hit on the current playlist is "I Will Wait" by the English folk rock band Mumford & Sons.

"The point is, it doesn't matter where it comes from," Matteo said.

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