Business as Usual: Too few advertising dollars lead to end of hip-hop format at Anniston radio station
by Star staff
May 28, 2012 | 5359 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WGBZ, the radio station that billed itself as Anniston’s first FM station to offer hip-hop and R&B, has changed formats after a little more than a year.

Listeners who tune in to 104.3 on the FM dial — WGBZ’s old frequency — will hear a classic rock format instead.

Jim Jacobs, general manager and owner of Jacobs Broadcast Group, which owns the station, said the hip-hop station was run by Gadsden resident Henry Granger and his business partner, Milton Chapman, under an agreement with Jacobs.

The agreement fell through about a year after WGBZ’s March 2011 opening, Jacobs said, when Granger and Chapman were unable to fulfill their financial responsibilities under the agreement.

Justin Simane, one of the on-air personalities for WGBZ, said advertising revenue was the problem.

“It wasn’t the fact that people weren’t listening. It was the advertisers,” he said. “If we were in a market like Birmingham or Atlanta, we never would’ve been shut down.”

Simane was a bit surprised the station went off the air in such a short amount of time. He said DJ Steen, his on-air persona, was popular with listeners because of the “Battle of the Beats” segment where local hip-hop or R&B artists could submit their songs for the audience to choose the best. The song with the most votes received the most airplay, and it created opportunities for local artists.

After Jacobs Broadcasting took control of the station, Jacobs said, he hired Simane as a DJ for WTDR-Thunder, a country station also owned by Jacobs Broadcasting.

— LaTonya Darrisaw

32 Degrees looking for franchisees

Birmingham-based Pizitz Management Group is looking for potential franchisee owners in and around Oxford, said CEO Jeff Pizitz, great-grandson of the owner of the original Pizitz department store chain.

The company owns 15 self-serve, frozen-yogurt shops throughout the Southeast, including one at the Oxford Exchange.

Seventeen people have expressed an interest in opening a second location in Oxford, said Jenny Buha, the company’s director of development and marketing. Franchise details are at www.32yogurt.com. Only those with a net worth of $500,000 or more need apply, according to the company, and franchisees must be willing to spend $275,000 to $473,000 for start-up costs.

32 Degrees “is very proud of the way the Oxford store is performing,” Buha said.

The Oxford store, which is owned by the Pizitz company, opened in March 2011, and is one of six in Alabama. Pizitz is looking for a franchisee to add a second location in this region.

Buha declined to discuss the company’s finances. Pizitz said the company’s goal is to open three to five new stores this year across the Southeast.

— Sherry Kughn

One Dollar Tree closes in Oxford

The Dollar Tree in Quintard Mall closed its doors May 21, a spokeswoman for the company said.

The remaining Dollar Tree on Plaza Lane is still open for business, said Shelley Davis, spokeswoman for the company.

She declined to comment on plans for stores in the city.

“I can’t tell you what would happen five years from now, five months from now,” Davis said. “If Dollar Tree continues to grow — and we are always looking to open new stores — so if there was an opportunity to open another store in Oxford, it would be a new store.”

But there are no plans to open a new store in Oxford at this time, she added.

— Laura Camper

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