Happy trails to Halifax's last AM radio station
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Tones of dismay and disbelief radiated through Frank Lowe's voice yesterday as he signed off from Halifax's last AM radio station - 780 KIXX Classic Country.
The station's airwaves fell silent at 10 a.m.
"This is a tough day," the station's longtime music director told Metro Halifax as he arrived back at his Beaverbank home later in the day.
NewCap Radio, which owned AM 780 CFDR/KIXX Country, recently sold the 46-year-old station to Rogers Communications, which is planning to turn the station to FM.
Lowe said the switch from AM to FM radio has been "an ongoing process."
"(FM radio) sounds so much better," Lowe confessed, "and everything has to be better nowadays."
Ted Hyland, general manager of NewCap Radio, suspects AM radio will go off the air everywhere - eventually. But there's no telling how long that could take.
Hyland said he thinks the new FM station for Rogers will play light rock music.
"It is an evolution, a sign of the times," Hyland said.
KIXX is the third AM station in Halifax to bite the dust in three years. In July of 2006, AM 960 CHNS switched to the FM dial and became 89.9 Hal FM. And last year, AM 920 CJCH went full throttle into the mainstream music scene and became 101.3 The Bounce on May 30.
Hyland said more companies are switching to FM radio because it costs less to operate and the signal is clearer.
An emotional Lowe showered the airwaves with "thank you's" during his last moments on air.
"It's like saying goodbye to your family," Lowe told Metro, speaking through a subtle sob. Many last minute callers praised the station and Lowe's contributions.
"You're a big part of everyone's day and I know they're a big part of yours," said Lowe's daughter Amy in the station's last few minutes of air time.
One minute before the airwaves fell flat, a classic country tune wished fans and staff of KIXX, "happy trails to you until we meet again."