You can take the tin foil and coat hangers off your antenna. Listening to the latest “Come Back Clean” remix on the FM dial is now wonderfully clearer.
Initially launching in May of 2008, KVBE 94.5 FM The Vibe’s reception has been shoddy at best. Occasionally, you might pick up the smattering of Benny Benassi while rounding the 215, but most people probably didn’t even know the station existed. For those without satellite radio or an iPod in their vehicle (yes, we exist), the dance music pickings on the dial in Las Vegas were non-existent.
Flash forward to November 2009. Kaskade started coming in clear while driving all over the city. Guetta sounded great. Plumb was nearly perfect. Thanks to a new, more powerful transmitter in Moapa, it’s time to spread the word and finally give 94.5 FM a preset button on the stereo.
“For those people in areas that could not hear 94.5, we’re here!” says Director of Operations Dave Michaels. Initially doing behind the scenes and branding work on the station, Michaels took over in July and has been making headway on developing The Vibe and getting the dance music out—and static free—across the Valley. “Lately there’s been a lot more exposure,” he says. “The goal is just to keep it progressively growing.”
One of less than a dozen dance music stations currently on terrestrial radio in the entire U.S., The Vibe might have their work cut out for them. The popular Energy 92.7 FM in San Francisco flipped to Top 40 in July of this year after being the most listened to dance music station on the West Coast. On the East Coast, the plug was pulled on club and dance music station Pulse 87 in New York City.
“A lot of the major cities used to have them,” says Michaels of dance music stations. “Right now is a tumultuous situation for dance stations everywhere.” He explains that unlike other formats, such as country or Top 40, the same tracks won’t work in different markets. “With dance, there’s really no specific format that really anybody adheres to.”
However, with Vegas’ ever expanding nightlife and club scene, if dance music on the dial is going to be successful anywhere right now, Vegas is certainly a viable choice. “With the nature of this city, I would hope that if it could work anywhere it’d be here in Vegas,” Michaels says.
Electronic dance music has always been rooted in fostering a community built around the sound. “We’re trying to build it to be as open to everyone as possible, but realizing we have a target audience,” Michaels says. “We have to find a happy medium.” Currently, you’ll hear selections from Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk and Bad Boy Bill to remixes of Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas, along with old school dance favorites and underground tracks.
And The Vibe is making steps to build an involved listener base in Las Vegas. The station is hosting its weekly Vibeology party on Fridays at Blue Martini. Vibe also has local club DJs such as Vegas Vibe, DJ Maze, the Vegas House Mafia (Beaux Tech and Dave Onex) and Jordan Stevens in the mix on weekends. (Other local DJs are welcome to send in demos as well or contact Michaels at [email protected].)
Michaels hints at even more surprises in store for Vegas’ Dance Vibe 94.5 FM to build exposure and interact with listeners. “We’re going to keep growing the station as much as we can,” he says and remains confident in the possibilities for the future of the station. “If we can be in every clubber’s car on their way out for the night, I’d be a happy guy.”