MN Showdown (1992- 1996) Radio Loop Stunt; 93X versus 93 The Edge…?
“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It”
KLXK was clearly influenced by another young station, WKLH in Milwaukee, which had recently adopted a similar format. KLXK enjoyed modest success, but rival KQRS-FM had retooled their format to include a large amount of classic rock product, and also had the top-rated morning show in the market.
KLXK eventually decided to attack KQRS from another front. On January 28, 1992, 93.7 flipped to hard rock with the call sign KRXX (“93X”). The owner of rival KQRS-FM, took control of 93X pending purchase (but not KMZZ, which was sold separately later) from Entercom on February 4, 1994. The selling price was $20 million, and then a record for highest amount ever paid for a radio station in the market. The following day, 93X began stunting with a loop “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M. throughout the weekend.
Confused listeners flocked in droves to the KRXX studios in Eagan MN that Saturday to see what was going on. Some listeners thought the DJ’s were being held hostage and reportedly, more than 50 calls regarding KRXX were logged to 911. Finally, on Sunday, February 6, at 8 p.m., 93.7 began simulcasting KQRS’ weekly alternative rock show, “Over the Edge”, leading the way for “93.7 The Edge”, which billed itself as “Minnesota’s New Music Alternative”. In a massively popular stunt to secure 93X listeners, the first song played after the switch was “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M.
The new KEGE-FM call letters were soon registered for the new station. The move to create The Edge was due to the growing popularity of modern rock format nationwide, and to thwart Cargill Communications pending plans to roll out the format on the new Rev 105. The Edge came on the air almost two years after KJJO switched to country music, and it did what KJ104 couldn’t – it became a massive ratings success. At one point, KEGE had the highest overall Arbitron market ratings of any modern rock station in the country.
A station-sponsored annual concert known as the EdgeFest (later 93XFest) debuted soon after, and took place annually in Somerset, Wisconsin. It was so popular that even rival Rev 105 gave away tickets for it (though not mentioning the “Edgefest” name). When KEGE went back to being 93X and the “Edge” name was retired in the Twin Cities, the festival briefly continued as “Edgefest” and was later renamed 93XFest. The annual festival in Somerset continued until 2004, when “93X Riverfest” replaced it.
Following the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that relaxed ownership restrictions, ABC purchased KEGE’s rival, “Rev 105” in March 1997 and immediately began broadcasting hard rock on that station as “X105”. Later that year, on September 18, at 2 p.m., the two stations did a format swap of sorts, with 93.7 returning to active rock and the 93X moniker with new call letters KXXR, while The Edge’s format moved over to the 105 frequencies and rebranded as “Zone 105” (though it would be tweaked to AAA) on September 24 after six days of simulcasting 93X on all four frequencies. On the final day of broadcasting, The Edge played “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M. on a continuous loop.