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KX 96.9 undergoes talent, format changes

KX 96.9 undergoes talent, format changes

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Three Eagles Communications cleaned house Tuesday at radio station KX 96.9 (KZKX 96.9 FM), releasing three personalities and relaunching the station’s format.

Gone are morning show co-hosts Keith Cornelius, who worked on air as Keith Allan; Mick “The Sidekick” Kovar and midday host Kelly Garrett.

Three Eagles is moving morning show co-host Carol Turner to sister station KFOR (1240 AM), where she will work middays. She will replace Jill St. James, who has been moved to the newsroom.

KX 96.9 has rebranded itself “New Country KX 96.9” and will play new and current country music from young stars such as Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood. Listeners also will hear music from superstars such as Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley.

“New country is the fastest-growing format in the country,” said Rob Kelley, the new operations manager at Three Eagles, who also will host afternoons (3 to 7 p.m.) at KX 96.9. “The (Arbitron) shares are up immensely for it, especially among ages 18 to 34.”

Kelley returns to the Lincoln radio market from Fort Wayne, Ind. He was operations manager at Broadcast House when it was owned by Triad Broadcasting, leaving in 2003 after three years here.

KX 96.9 program director James “JP” Kyhn has moved from afternoons to mornings (5:30-10 a.m.), where he soon will be paired with newcomer Ally Morgan. The other new voice is Brian George, who once worked as “Al G” at crosstown rival Froggy 98 (KFGE 98.1 FM). George will work 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The changes come almost a year after the last major shake-up at the country station. Last March, the station reunited Cornelius, Turner and Kovar on the morning show and rebranded itself as “Proud Country KX 96.9 FM,” playing songs from the 1990s with today’s hits.

The trio came back together after Three Eagles released Cornelius in March 2008 for budgetary reasons and Kovar had left in December 2010 to pursue other business interests.

In Arbitron’s fall survey, KX 96.9 finished sixth among listeners 12 and older in the Lincoln market and trailed second-place Froggy 98, which is owned by NRG Media, by 2.2 average share points.

Among listeners 18 to 49 -- the desirable demographic to advertisers -- Froggy 98 finished 4.4 average share points ahead of KX 96.9.

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LJSjeffkorbelik.

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Features editor

Jeff Korbelik is the features editor and covers dining, performing arts, TV and local media. Follow him at @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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