On Monday, after a few weeks of hints and teases, Kiss 92.1 FM officially changed formats and re-branded itself as 92.1 The Beat. The station, operated by iHeartMedia in Norfolk, has changed its musical format from “urban adult contemporary” to “throwback hip-hop.”
Nathan James, spokesman for iHeartMedia, said the new format should be a natural fit in a Hampton Roads market that produced not only Missy Elliott, but also Timbaland, Pharrell Williams and others who helped to define that musical genre in the 1990s.
“We are excited to bring our listeners the music they grew up with and that has a deep heritage in Hampton Roads,” iHeartMedia manager Matt Derrick said in a press release. “Combining the sounds of Throwback Hip-Hop and R&B together allows our audience to embrace a genre of music that had influential lyrics and rhythm at an important time in their lives. Hampton Roads is a marketplace that will embrace this musical change.”
Shortly after Christmas, the station announced that Kiss 92.1 had temporarily turned its programming chores over to Missy Elliott, the hip-hop superstar from Portsmouth. The payoff came Monday morning when the format change was officially announced.
The programming will be almost exclusively local, with DJ Bee in studio from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays, followed by DJ Fountz from 3-8 p.m. The syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show” will start airing on 92.1 The Beat on Monday, Jan. 19.
To introduce the format, the station has vowed to play 5,000 straight songs without a commercial break, all leading up to Joyner’s debut on The Beat. The format will focus on hip-hop tracks from the late 1980s through the early 2000s. The format changed officially kicked off at 9 a.m. Monday with Naughty By Nature’s 1993 hit “Hip Hop Hooray.”