The much lamented (by some, reviled by others) KHRO (Hero 94.7) a short lived alternative rock station in El Paso, Tx. Not a big fan of the station, but with rumors of a planned format change to Mexican Regional music floating around, I tuned in from Deming, N.M., 100 miles from El Paso and set out to aircheck the death throes of a "modern rock" station. KHRO was saddled with a lame as hell format and "let's throw shit at the wall to see what sticks" program direction. The smell of decay was in the air and the buzzard (overt Buzz Adams reference) was circling overhead. I eventually wound up with a half dozen 90 minute cassettes documenting Hero radio's Thanksgiving Unplugged marathon, Nov. 2004. ~ Dirt City Chronicles ~
HERO began with a "soft" transition from playing tunes like "Funky Town," to playing the living hell out of crappy bands like Smashmouth (another cover!) and Third Eye Blind (though I must admit there’s a soft spot in my heart for "How’s It Gonna Be"). I sat through this "crap" knowing the direction we were going in. Soon, we’d bust on the harder stuff like System of a Down and Korn, and then to my delight, we’d move into bands like Modest Mouse and Interpol. HERO blossomed into a full Modern Rock operation before the year was over and we were all thrilled with our public’s response.
My job consisted of branding my station and making sure that we had a solid public image. I also made sure that we were involved with lifestyle events that concerned our listeners. One day we’d be pushing a metal show, the next day it’d be a snotty indie rock happening, then it’d be a monster show like the Warped Tour. El Pasoans that didn’t listen to our station were thanking us for giving our town that big-city vibe. People had shows to see, now more than ever, and it wasn’t The Scorpions...again.
HERO made it possible for bands like The Strokes, Morrissey, Deftones, Ministry, 311, Disturbed, Soulfly, and countless others to come play the Sun City. Not only did they come play the Sun City, they SOLD OUT the Sun City, something I knew we’d always been capable of.
Here’s a bit of trivia-HERO’s first show was Tool at the El Paso County Coliseum, where we barged in and claimed it as ours. HERO’s first official show was Moby at the Pan Am Center, and our last show, was one that we co-promoted directly with the band’s management-- Korn at the El Paso County Coliseum (7,100 listeners in attendance). That last show was the hardest for me to work, as I was already clued into the change that was about to take our city by storm–HERO would be flipping formats to Spanish Pop/Rock come December 1. (Transitioning from HERO to Super Star, Marina Monsisvais)
HERO Radio: Where's Your Wallet?
December 16, 2004 - Martín Paredes
It seems like El Pasoans have this attitude, an attitude that everything wrong in society is business and business owes them. Nothing exemplifies this more than the demise of HERO radio. Letters to the editor, calls to local radio stations and even the former promotions director of HERO talking about what a great station HERO radio was. But was it really?
No, this isn’t about whether the music was good, contemporary or other, it is about the so-called fans supporting the station they so loved, or so they say. It is about what drives business and what drives it away. It’s about talking with your wallet rather than with your mouth. Sure it’s wonderful to hear what a good job you are doing, especially in times of dire-straights but talk can only feed one thing, your soul, it does nothing for the stomach pains of hunger. It’s about supporting that which appeals to you and ignoring that which doesn’t. It’s about the basics of economics, something El Pasoans are loathe to accept, something that keeps biting them back each and every time change is made by corporate offices.
So you liked HERO radio, huh? Let’s do a little soul searching; did you frequent the businesses that advertised on it? Did you eat at the restaurants that paid good money to promote the station? Better yet, did you buy advertising or encourage your friends to advertise on it? No, then why do you feel the need to complain about a business decision?