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104.1 KRBE logo.
City of license Houston, Texas
Broadcast area Greater Houston
Branding 104.1 KRBE
Slogan "Houston's #1 Hit Music Station"
Frequency 104.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
104.1 HD-2 KHJK simulcast
First air date November 8, 1959
Format Adult Top 40 (CHR)
ERP 92,180 watts
HAAT 585 meters
Class C
Owner Cumulus Media
(Susquehanna Radio Corp.)
Sister stations KFNC, KHJK
Webcast Listen Live

KRBE (104.1 KRBE), is a Top 40 (CHR) radio station based in Houston, Texas, United States. The studios located in Suite 700 of the Chase building at 9801 Westheimer Road in the Westchase District in western Houston.[1][2] The transmitter facilities located in Missouri City. The call letters are from the acronym "Key to Radio Broadcast Excellence." KRBE is owned and operated by Cumulus Media.




Early days

At 6pm, November 8, 1959, KRBE signed on at 104.1 fm as a classical station and continued as such into the late 1960s when it flipped for the first time to top 40. The call letters are from the acronym "Key to Radio Broadcast Excellence." In the late 1970s, KRBE billed itself under one of two nicknames, "Super Rock 104 KRBE" or "Houston's Super Rock", playing a mixture of top 40 and rock hits. In 1981, KRBE flipped to an Adult Contemporary format as "FM 104 KRBE".

KRBE's disc jockeys during the mid to late 1970s included, amongst others, 1976 til ? Roger W.W.W. Garrett (Roger W. Garrett is currently at KORA in Bryan, Tx) Dwight Shotgun Cook, (now at Barry Kaye, CC McCartney, Kenny Miles, The Catfish, Jon Kelly (currently a paramedic in Katy under his real name Jeff Low), Matt "The Mighty" Quinn and Bunny Taylor (KRBE's first female DJ). Mike Krehel was the Chief Engineer during that time and gave KRBE its "Flame Thrower" Signature Sound.

Rivalry with KKBQ

In late 1982 top 40/KKBQ AM (which had signed on in July of that year) moved to FM with great success. To counter KKBQ in the Arbitron ratings books, KRBE relaunched as "Hot Hits 104 KRBE" with a contemporary hits radio (CHR) format in the mid-summer of 1985. Not too long after KRBE dropped the "Hot Hits" slogan to become "Power" 104. Both stations remained head to head throughout the remainder of the 1980s. In November 1986, Dallas-based Susquehanna Radio purchased KRBE as well as another Houston station broadcasting at 1070 AM, now known as KNTH.

In 1987, KRBE took a lean towards a dance friendly/top 40 format with evening weekend studio mixshows, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m, known as "The Friday & Saturday Night Power Mix". KKBQ matched it with its own mixshows aptly titled "Club 93Q". By the end of 1987, DJ Scott Sparks had been hired from Y-95 in Dallas to prop up the night show with a Dance/Pop heavy sound. The new dance lean had built so much momentum that KRBE had to top 93Q again and it did on the night of January 9, 1988 when it launched "The Saturday Night Power Mix Live from The Ocean Club , which was billed as Houston's first live four-hour (and later, six-hour) mixshow from a nightclub. On May 29, 1988, KKBQ launched its first live nightclub broadcast "93Q Live On The Cutting Edge" from Club 6400, a club that played a mix of industrial, new wave and goth music; no top 40 was allowed. While KRBE's show was a little more radio friendly, it was first to play some of the music 6400 was spinning, and turned out to be an instant success.

"Hits Without the Hype"

KRBE and KKBQ continued their top 40 rivalry (including mixshows from various Houston nightclubs) until 1991 when the top 40 format was showing signs of wear. Under Program Director Steve Wyrostok, who was recruited from Susquehanna Radio sister station WAPW "Power 99" in Atlanta, KRBE stripped to a generic "no frills" top 40 format, in which the station dropped "lazer fx" sound effects, and did away with voice announcers. In addition, DJs were asked to stop screaming and rap was pulled from its playlists. Even the "POWER" moniker of the 1980s era was gone.

KRBE was rebranded as 104 KRBE "Hits Without the Hype", using liners like "No Rap, No Screaming DJs". KKBQ remained on its same course for a short time after but eventually flipped to an "easy country" format on September 19, 1991, after a brief period in which it programmed a rock-oriented top 40 mix as a stunt.

"the Beat"

Despite its new "no frills" approach, KRBE continued to offer the hottest dance music the world had to offer through its live club mixshows with the launch of "the Beat" started by DJ Rich, which aired from 1994-2002 and was mixed by some of the top local DJs in the Houston area, such as DJ Rich (now DJ RIDDLER), and DJ Mark D (Delange). The mixshows were broadcast from premier nightclub venues in Houston such as Shelter from 1994 to 1995, Kaboom from 1995 to 1996, and The Roxy from 1996 until its last broadcast in 2002. "the Beat" enabled KRBE to gain a worldwide audience when the station began streaming the on-air audio through its website in the late 1990s, thus billing itself "The World Famous 104 KRBE". The name "the Beat" was chosen to derail 106.5 KQQK's widely-speculated plans to change format from Regional Mexican to Top 40 as "106.5 the Beat", which would have put them in direct competition with KRBE. (It is also speculated KRBE used the "Wild" and "Channel" monikers on its Friday night mixshows for the same reason)

"The New Music Zone"

From 1992-1994, the station aired "The New Music Zone", an alternative music show that typically aired weeknights from 7 p.m. to midnight. In the mid-1990s, around 1995-1996, the station's playlist as a whole had a pronounced alternative lean, but it eventually drifted back towards mainstream CHR. In 1996, program director Tom Poleman and air talents Paul "Cubby" Bryant and Ryan Chase left KRBE for similar positions with CHR/pop Z100 WHTZ New York, which had also leaned in an alternative direction for a time. Ryan Chase would eventually come back to KRBE ten years later.

KRBE today

On October 31, 2005, Susquehanna announced it had reached an agreement to sell its radio assets, including KRBE, to a partnership including Cumulus Media (which also owns Houston radio stations KIOL-FM (103.7) and KFNC-FM (97.5)) as well as Bain Capital, Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The deal was expected to be completed sometime during the first half of 2006. Sometime after the purchase, KRBE quietly changed their logo from "104 KRBE" to "104.1 KRBE", a technically more accurate description of the station.

KRBE has evolved to an adult-oriented Top 40 (similar to co-owned station WWWQ in Atlanta) under Cumulus ownership. In late January 2006, KRBE launched its digital HD signal. Its HD2 signal began simulcasting sister KHJK in late 2007. The HD3 signal is still undetermined.

Morning show shake-up

On July 7th, 2006, morning radio show personalities Atom Smasher and Maria Todd were let go immediately following the Friday show. Cumulus Media cited they were taking the morning show (as well as the station) in a new direction and needed a show that widely appealed to the entire Houston market and a team that knew the city and its people. That same day, longtime DJ Scott Sparks exited KRBE after nearly 20 years to begin mornings at classic hits station KLDE (now KGLK) (107.5 FM), reuniting Sparks with former KRBE program director and morning show DJ Paul Christy. Atom Smasher eventually wound up at KHKS in Dallas, which, like KRBE, is a CHR/pop station. Maria Todd moved to do the morning show, 5-9:30am, at KMVQ a rhythmic station in San Francisco, but as of February 22, 2010, Maria moved back to Houston for a morning show with KHMX "Mix 965" with KKHH "Hot 957's" Brad Booker, who had been previously been doing a morning show Hot 957.

On July 13, 2006, it was announced that "The Roula and Ryan Show", which previously aired on hot adult contemporary rival KHMX, would return to Houston airwaves on KRBE. The team, which relaunched their show on July 24, 2006, is Roula Christie and Ryan Chase, the latter of whom returned to KRBE after a ten-year absence, along with Eric Rowe, who goes by the name "Producer Eric". Ironically, Roula also returned to KRBE after a six-year absence. She was paired with the aforementioned Atom Smasher from 1998-2000 on the 6-10pm shift.


KRBE has spawned numerous competitors over the years. Currently, its main competitors are: Houston's other Top 40 station KKHH HOT 95-7, and KHMX MIX 96-5, which broadcasts a Hot AC format. Other competitors are Urban KBXX 97-9 The Box, and Alternative KTBZ 94-5 The Buzz.

Moniker History

  • Super Rock 104 KRBE (mid 70's)
  • 104 KRBE (Late 70s)
  • FM 104 KRBE (1980-1985)
  • Hot Hits 104 KRBE (1985)
  • Power 104 KRBE (1986-1991)
  • 104 KRBE (1991-1999)
  • Station 104 KRBE (1999-2001)
  • 104 KRBE (2001-2006)
  • 104.1 KRBE (2006-current)

Former DJs

  • Mornings
    • Kenny Miles
    • Weaver Morrow
    • Roger W. W. W. Garrett hosted mornings 1976 - ? (Currently Program Director at KORA/Bryan, Texas)
    • Paul Christy (Previously hosted mornings at classic rock/KRBE-AM) (Dates unknown - 1987-1988) (currently at KHTC)
    • Debbie Somers (co-host 1987-1988)
    • Glenn Beck and Clydie Clyde (1988-1990)
    • Mark Waldi (1990-1991)
    • The Barsky Show, with Paul Barsky - September 23, 1991 - March 15, 1993
    • Sam Malone and the Morning Show, with Maria Todd and Psycho Robbie - March 31, 1993 - September 8, 2004
    • Sam Malone and the Morning Show, with Maria Todd and Johnny Bravo - September 9, 2004 - March 4, 2005
    • Atom Smasher and Maria Todd in the Morning, with Johnny Bravo and Josh Reno - March 28, 2005 - July 7, 2006
  • Middays
    • Mark Waldi (currently at KRSP)
    • Chris Kelly
    • Matt "The Mighty" Quinn
    • Jon Kelly
    • Ernie Brown
    • Eric Chase (now of Eric Chase Creative Services)
    • Eric Leikam (currently at KGSR/Austin)
    • Lori Bradley (currently at WMVX/Cleveland)
    • Larry Davis (currently at KBIG Los Angeles) 1995-1999
    • Michele Fisher (currently on KHMX) September 2, 1992 - June 21, 2005
    • Scott Sparks (currently on KGLK) October 4, 1987 - July 7, 2006
  • Nights
    • Shotgun Cook (currently at Soundworks, Houston) (1970-1977)
    • CC McCartney
    • The Catfish
    • Kimberly Fullilove aka "Kasi Love" (1986- d.1988)
    • Elvis Duran (1986-1988)(currently at WHTZ/Newark)
    • Robert O'Quinn
    • Craig Chambers
    • Chuck Contreras
    • Susie Wad (1989-1990)
    • Adam Cook (New Music Zone)
    • Ryan Chase (New Music Zone)
    • Paul "Cubby" Bryant (1990-1996)
    • Larry Davis (1995-1999) (currently at Studio Center and KBIG, Los Angeles)
    • Atom Smasher (currently at CHUM-FM in Toronto, Ontario) and Roula Christie - November 18, 1998 - October 24, 2003
    • Joel Davis (1989-1993)
  • Overnights
    • Steve Vidal
    • Jennifer Wyld
    • Dave Andrews (1988-1989) now known as Outlaw Dave (recently of KLOL & KIOL, now at KPRC)
    • John Leach
    • Brian Christopher (national voiceover talent BC Audioboy Soundworks / BC KRBE Legal ID)
    • Louis Cruise (formerly of KHMX)
  • Mixshow DJs
    • Tim Flanigan (former Ocean Club DJ, whereabouts unknown)
    • DJ Rich (now DJ Riddler currently at KKHH and at Sirius Satellite Radio)
    • Mark D (currently spinning at Rich's nightclub and produces mixes for XM Satellite Radio's BPM Channel 81


  1. ^ "KRBE Contact Information." KRBE. Retrieved on January 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "SECT6-key.gif." Westchase District. Retrieved on January 13, 2009.

External links


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