Classic hip-hop might be rescuing terrestrial radio, but a Charlotte, North Carolina FM station has unlocked a can’t-miss formula for ruling the airwaves: All Drake, all the time. Two days ago, WQNC in Charlotte suddenly rebranded itself Drake 92.7, and the station has pumped out a playlist dedicated entirely to the Toronto rapper ever since.
According to The Fader, listeners first realized there was an all-Drake station when the gospel music that usually played on that channel was relocated to 100.9 FM. A Drake 92.7 Twitter and Instagram account were soon launched, with the promise of a “big announcement” on the station scheduled for Monday, August 18th.
It’s unclear whether the nothing-but-Drake playlist is here to stay or if it’s marketing ploy to drum up interest for whatever format 92.7 has planned next, reportedly Urban AC, contemporary rap or the classic hip-hop format that’s sweeping the nation. There were also rumors that Drake himself purchased the station as a publicity stunt, but the Federal Communications Commission regulations don’t allow for international parties to purchase American broadcast stations (although the FCC have relaxed on that law since 2013).
In October 2014, a Houston-area radio station employed a similar stunt when they made the move from all-news to classic hip-hop. To bring attention to KROI’s relaunch as Boom 92, the station deployed an all-Beyoncé format for a few days before shifting to its regular playlist. The stunt worked: Over its first two months, Boom 92 jumped from a 1.0 share (as KROI) to a 3.2 share, and their audience ballooned from 245,000 to 802,000.
The success of Boom 92 influenced parent company Radio One to launch similar classic hip-hop formats in Philadelphia and Dallas. Drake 92.7 is also operated by Radio One.