Any more face lifts, WSSF (104.3-FM) may be...

IF IT GETS

October 28, 1994

IF IT GETS any more face lifts, WSSF (104.3-FM) may be known as the Zsa Zsa Gabor of Baltimore radio stations.

This is the station, you might recall, that ran the same five songs over and over for days last winter as if trying to drive Noriega from Panama. That bizarre interlude preceded the station's switch from adult contemporary music to so-called "soft" listening. The station hitched its wagon to the stars of Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow. You probably saw the trio's faces peering out Mount Rushmore-like on area billboards this year.

Less than a year later, the station has now pulled the plug on that format and has redubbed itself "The Colt -- the station of the '70s."

Capitol Broadcasting of Raleigh, N.C., which bought the station two years ago, has figured out that if you attended high school at any time during the '70s, you're now in that highly coveted, disposable-income demographic tribe for advertisers: 30-40 year-olds.

Our call to station manager Ardie Gregory to inquire about the change produced this reply: "She doesn't want to talk about it" -- an unusual response for a medium seeking a new audience. (The station, once known as WBSB-FM, "B-104," was actually a top-rated station in town before undergoing turmoil since Capitol purchased it.)

Because of Ms. Gregory's reluctance to be interviewed, we can't get our sole question answered: How can a station based on '70s music play zero disco? We realize the music of the Village People, the Bee Gees and John Travolta repulsed a great many Americans, but bringing back '70s music without disco is like airing a documentary on the Civil War without mentioning slavery.

After all the hubbub over the sanitizing of the Enola Gay atom bomb exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution, isn't all this revisionist history going too far?

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