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|City of license||Highland Park-Dallas, Texas|
|Broadcast area||Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex|
The New Sound of 103.7 KVIL (on air ident)
|Slogan||"Most Music Variety"|
|Frequency||103.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)
103.7 HD-2 for "NTX Honda Fever Radio" (Summer Variety Hits)
|First air date||1961|
|Format||Hot Adult Contemporary
(Adult Top 40 leaning fare)
|Callsign meaning||Highland ParK VILlage Shopping Center|
(CBS Radio Texas, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KJKK, KLUV, KMVK, KRLD, KRLD-FM
also part of CBS Corp. cluster: TV stations KTVT and KTXA
KVIL (103.7 FM) is a radio station broadcasting in the Dallas/Fort Worth market in Texas. The station previously featured a very popular adult contemporary music format for nearly forty years. However, as of May 2013, KVIL has leaned more hot adult contemporary/Adult Top 40 with the recent format tweaking to a playlist that mainly focuses on 1990s to current music known on-air as "The New Sound of 103.7 KVIL." Since 2009 and until 2014, Dallas/Fort Worth was the largest market in the United States with only one adult contemporary station, although DFW is the 5th-largest radio market in the United States.
The original location of the studios was in the Highland Park Village shopping center (hence the callsign) at 4152 Mockingbird Lane (at Preston Road), overlooking the Dallas Country Club golf course. In 1962 the owner/manager was John Coyle with the program director being Dillard Carerra. At that time the station was an AM/FM combo with the AM on 1150 and the FM on 103.7 with an unusually high 119,000 watts in full stereo.
The remarkable engineering of the audio was routed through a huge audio mixer with slider controls utilizing German silver rheostats. Audio phasing was a problem at that time. Capitol Records, for instance, used a reverse-phasing that prevented anything recorded by The Beatles to be played, unless it was monaural. The reverse phasing simply blanked out the audio tracks to a distorted muffle.
"The singing time clock" was one of the first digital breakthroughs – actually a marriage of digital and analog technology. The clock audio was recorded on 1/4" tape in stereo played on AMPEX recorders in individual segments, by the jingle singers at PAMS in Dallas. The project was huge, involving musicians, singers, and recording engineers who taped every minute on the 24-hour clock in at least two versions, to be played by the station at the appropriate minute. The sequential clock was synchronized to the individual tape segments. When the DJ pushed the button, the audience heard "It's nine forty-three on the Kayville Clock, K-V-I-L" or any imaginable variation of such limerick – and in stereo. The pronunciation of "KVIL" as "Kayville" is probably the best-known example of a station's call letters actually being sung or spoken as a word.
The KVIL logo was one of sophistication – the picture of a feminine hand with a bracelet. That logo was plastered all over Dallas on billboards, matchbooks, and most any imaginable media.
KVIL was the first station in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to broadcast Top 40 on FM and in stereo. The initial attempt in April 1967 was bold, offering good personalities and some interesting programming including the first Dallas broadcast of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, played in its entirety on the evening of its release.
The 1967 to 1969 attempt to take on (the then very popular) KLIF failed because FM was still a relatively new format and only a small percentage of people owned FM radios. FM was not even a "standard" feature in original equipment car radios until the late-1970s even though it had been an option since the early-1960s. Additionally, KVIL's AM (now KVCE) broadcast was only operating during daylight hours when the evenings were critical to a top-40 station's survival in the ratings. The failing station suffered in several ways, including employees running off with the records (possibly in place of the pay they were likely not receiving).
Owner of KVIL from 1968 through 1973 was Highland Park socialite James B. Francis, Robert D. Hanna and John Ryman. In early 1969, KVIL starting broadcasting under the new management and spent several weeks broadcasting only music, no commercials except brief announcements by Ron Chapman, telling listeners what was in store. And this time it happened as planned. Ron's expertise in broadcasting and his popularity, along with the increasing popularity of FM stereo, brought the station to prominence. In 1973, KVIL was sold to Fairbanks Broadcasting and Chapman stayed on as morning DJ for many years after. KVIL hired Mike Selden from KLIF and installed Bill Gardner and Jack Schell in middays. This dynamic lineup along with programming insights from consultant George Johns and upper management direction from Jim Hilliard and Chapman's panache for marketing and promotion started KVIL's steady climb in the ratings.
For many years during the 1970s and 1980s, it was the top station in the market. It even put 90 minutes of its morning show on KXTX-TV for a week in May every year, to show extravagant stunts such as a camel race in the African desert. During the 1990s, it spent several years as the flagship station for the Dallas Cowboys.
KVIL's programming was simulcast on both the FM (103.7) and AM (1150) signals. KVIL-AM signed on as a daytime-only station in 1960, and KVIL-FM was added a year later. Yet, despite an attempt to take on the legendary KLIF with a Top 40 music format in 1967, neither AM nor FM attracted a very large portion of the listening audience until 1969, when the station hired Chapman (better known to KLIF listeners as "Irving Harrigan") to do the morning show. At the same time, KVIL instituted a music format that was unique for its time, a cross between Top 40 and MOR which would later be termed "Adult Contemporary." The station was meant to appeal to adult listeners who had grown up with KLIF by projecting the same type of "showmanship" typical of Top 40 stations. KVIL first finished in Dallas/Fort Worth's top 10 Arbitron ratings in 1974 (the year after Arbitron combined Dallas and Fort Worth into a single market) and topped the ratings list for the first time in 1976.
AM 1150 adopted the calls KVIX and programmed a separate AC format from KVIL-FM for a short time in the mid-1980s. The station now operates at AM 1160 as conservative talk station KVCE, while KVIL continues with its AC format on 103.7 FM.
Today's programming features Tony Zazza and Julie Fisk hosting the morning show.
The "Sunday Jazz Brunch" hosted by Tempe Lindsey (formerly of KOAI "107.5 The Oasis") was dropped from its programming as of September 27, 2009, and replaced with regular programming.
On May 2, 2013, KVIL dropped the "Lite FM" branding in favor of using its call letters and re-positioned themselves as the "Best Variety...90s, 2K & Today" to attract a new generation of listeners, making it the first format change in less than 45 years for the station.
Since 2001 in the middle of November, KVIL would flip to an all-Christmas format that ran through Christmas Day. For 2011, the AC format returned on December 27 instead of December 26. With the recent format repositioning in May 2013, the all-Christmas format has moved to classic hits sister station KLUV sometime in November 2013, which started on November 15, 2013.
For many years, KVIL has been an affiliate of the syndicated Delilah nighttime love songs program. In early January 2014, the show was dropped with no public announcement of the change until January 21 when Blake Powers took over as the evening DJ for the station. Byron Harrell, programming director of CBS Radio in Dallas said in an email to DFW.com regarding the change, "We respect the level of talent and service Delilah provided the KVIL audience over the years, but it was time for a change at 103.7 as we continue to contemporize the sound of KVIL and focus our attention on the Dallas-Fort Worth metro." Months later, KVIL has leaned more Adult Top 40 with songs from Zedd and Pitbull added to the playlist. They also dropped the "90s, 2k and Today" slogan with the addition of their "Throwback Thursday" program that allows listeners to vote for their favorite "throwbacks", which includes a few songs from the late 80s.
Despite this recent format retooling, KVIL was still listed as "Adult Contemporary", according to Mediabase until May 2, 2014 when they moved KVIL to the "Hot AC" panel full time, leaving the immediate Dallas/Fort Worth market without an Adult Contemporary station, although KLAK (97.5) in Tom Bean, Texas is the sole "AC" station that serves areas north and east of the metroplex. KVIL competes head-on with Clear Channel-owned Hot AC station KDMX (branded as "102.9 Now").
When KVIL began broadcasting a second channel in HD Radio, KVIL launched "Chick Rock" (Rock for Women) on 103.7 HD-2. The HD-2 channel now broadcasts Christian alternative rock music as "Rise". It also broadcast Christmas music from November 1 to the middle of November, when it switched to KVIL's AC programming when the main KVIL station broadcast Christmas music from mid-November to December 25 every year. With the format retooling in May 2013 on KVIL's main station, this programming arrangement has been discontinued, leaving KVIL-HD2 to only air the "Rise" format. However in July 2014, CBS Radio in Dallas, in conjunction with the North Texas Honda dealers introduced a new seasonal format for the summer season identified as "NTX Honda Fever Radio". The station's variety hits playlist is a diverse mix of classic hits and adult top 40 songs with 'Freddy Fever' as the DJ.