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WTKK spins rhythm and dance music as new permanent format after 13 years of talk radio

The former talk radio station WTKK-FM relaunched Tuesday with a rhythm and dance music format and a new name, Hot 96.9. Owner Greater Media Inc. had been stunting, using several temporary names and music styles, since last Wednesday, when the final talk show aired.

The station will mix contemporary music with hits from the 1980s and 1990s, featuring such artists as Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, and Rihanna. Its first five songs under the new format were hits by Jay-Z, Ne-Yo, Destiny’s Child, Adele, and 50 Cent.

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Hot 96.9 will attempt to differentiate itself from hip hop station Jam’n 94.5 and pop station Kiss 108, both owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc., by targeting adults instead of teens, said Rob Williams, Greater Media’s Boston market manager.

“We may play some of the same music, but it’s about the way it’s put together — the image and personality of the station,” Williams said.

Greater Media has hired veteran radio executive “Cadillac” Jack McCartney as the programming director for its cluster of five Boston radio stations and scooped up longtime Jam’n morning show host Susan Lynne Semedo, known on-air as Pebbles, to fill the same role at Hot 96.9, after she was fired last month.

Williams said the company is in the process of hiring other disc jockeys.

WTKK had been a talk radio station since 1999, but low ratings prompted Greater Media to begin mulling a format change early last year, Williams said.

Callum Borchers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.
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