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Cum On Feel the Noize

If today’s music gags you with a spoon, the crew at 100.9 Totally Awesome ‘80s say relax and take a chill pill. The totally boss Tulsa radio station is ready to spin you round (like a record).

Rob Harmon
January 1, 2017

Are you ready to be totally stoked by something so choice and absolutely clutch? There’s a rad new radio station in Tulsa making sure that Supernatural isn’t the only place you’ll find Rick Springfield these days. Def Leppard, Cyndi Lauper, Tears for Fears and the rest of the gang are all back, too, every time we turn on the radio.

It’s 2017 but you’d never know it if you listen to 100.9 Totally Awesome ’80s. Well, that’s not altogether true. Tulsa’s new retro radio station — that signed on the Tulsa airwaves back in September 2016 — qualifies as throw back with super-energetic, totally rad, fun DJs, just like the top 40 DJs many of us grew up with. But they’ll also tell you about their smartphone app, where you can use a microphone button called “Shout (Let it All Out)” to record your voice and make a request, dedication or just to say “what up.” e recording is then sent to the studio, sort of like the old “request line” but updated. It’s still all about the music, though.

The station embraces iconic music that fondly reminds many of all the important things that happened during one of the most memorable decades ever. You know, like Adam Sandler’s e Wedding Singer. Things like Pac-Man fever, the release of the first three Indiana Jones movies, E.T.
or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — those kinds of important things. Cabbage Patch Kids, car phones, Jane Fonda working out and MTV are also some of the other iconic things we remember about the ’80s. Mainly, though, Tulsa’s newest FM station reminds us of the music. No duh. 

“I always tell people,” says program director Bob Thornton, “listen for 30 minutes and try not to smile. We’re making radio fun, engaging and giving listeners what they want.

“We were looking at our audience and our potential audience and they were basically saying that out of the whole dart board, the ’80s is a bull’s-eye. So we just thought, let’s just focus on that.”

Ahead of the curve, 100.9 Totally Awesome ’80s may be taking advantage of a swelling trend of love for the 1980s. With rumors swirling of a Stranger Things and The Goldbergs crossover, it’s pretty clear the children of the ’80s are ready to relive the good old days, when perms were cool and the catch phrase “I’m totally wiggin’ out” was common vernacular.

Let’s face it, we miss the days of Prince, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Glenn Frey and so many others that have passed on. 

“I think there is a bit of a resurgence,” Thornton says. “Some people tried small ’80s stations around the turn of the century, in the early 2000s, but it was just too soon. For people who lived through the decade, the ’80s wasn’t as nostalgic [in the early 2000s] as it is today. It’s one of the most listened to decades of music for all ages.” 

‍Ahead of the curve, 100.9 Totally Awesome ’80s may be taking advantage of a swelling trend of love for the 1980s.

Thornton believes that if the Baby Boomers can have their oldies, with Elvis and the Beatles, that’s fine. They can most definitely have those decades. Meanwhile, the children of the ’80s will be jamming out to a radio station that only plays their music.

The station’s first major event, a 2016 New Year’s Eve party, rocked out to Broken Arrow band OMG It’s the ’80s. The event, with oversized ’80s props and retro video games, got such a response it had to be expanded to accommodate more people, highlighting the growing demand for all things ’80s.

People who remember when the Rubik’s Cube came out, or the
VCR or Walkman, are now going to their 30-year high school reunions and in reminiscing mode. What better way to reminisce than through music? Hearing “(Pride) In the Name of Love” by U2 brings back memories of their first dance in middle school. Hearing Prince’s “1999” immediately takes others back in time to their first spin behind the wheel of that new 1984 fourth-generation Corvette, cruising down Memorial to park so they could show o their double- cassette boom box or DynaTAC 8000X brick phone.

Most radio stations have a music library ranging from 150-350 songs. Not so with Totally Awesome ’80s. e station has a shockingly large music library of over 1,000 songs. When Josh Venable (KMYZ program director and host of the station’s hour long new wave show Sunday nights) and Thornton got together to launch the station, they started with every song that made the Billboard’s Top 100 in the ’80s — around 4,300 songs — and narrowed it down from there.

Every Monday through Friday beginning at 7 p.m., the station features a different specialty show. For example, every Tuesday night, a different ’80s episode from Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 airs.

Whether you were a goth, jock, head banger, skater, prep, nerd, or like, a valley girl, you’ll have to admit the music on this station is totally bangin’. With names like Chuck Stevens, Dave Weston, Kent Jones, Kevin Meyer and Jeanne Nass — all longtime professionals in the business — the station has a gnarly lineup of DJs way familiar with that nostalgic decade we call the ’80s.

100.9 Totally Awesome '80s
2449 E. 81st, Suite 5500 | Tulsa
Request Line: 918-460-8080