There’s a new hip-hop radio station in Detroit, but it’s not what you expect

You might have heard that 105.1 (WMGC) ended its run as a sports-talk radio station and was planning to change formats. Today, the station begins a new chapter as a golden-era hip-hop station. And frankly, it’s long overdue for the Detroit market.

The Greater Media-owned 105.1 is now “The Bounce,” marketing itself as “Detroit’s Throwback Hip-Hop and R&B.” It follows a growing trend in radio markets focusing narrowly on music from the early 1990s to around the mid-2000s – when R&B became more synthesized and experimental, and rap had a nice balance between West Coast gangsta, East Coast gloss and Southern boom.

Detroit’s R&B and hip-hop radio falls squarely into two categories. There’s urban contemporary, which targets a younger crowd with new music from new acts, and urban adult contemporary, which skews older and easier on the ears with old-school R&B (and some rap) from yesteryear. WJLB (97.9) and WGPR (107.5) cover the former, while WMXD (92.3) and WDMK (105.9) are the latter, and stations like WKQI (95.5) WDZH (98.7) sound a little more urban as the music landscape changes.

Problem is, neither format is all-inclusive of the wide breadth of Black music from years past. A “throwback” on urban contemporary radio is something from 2010. And urban adult contemporary in Detroit may just be starting to warm up to Tupac’s “I Get Around” and “Keep Ya Head Up,” but don’t expect them to play “Toss It Up” anytime soon.

That’s where stations like The Bounce, and stations like SiriusXM’s Fly and Backspin, KDAY in Los Angeles, KROI in Houston and WPHI in Philadelphia are welcome. They’re for those listeners not old enough for the Tom Joyner Cruise, but were as baffled as Fabolous during Desiigner’s performance at the BET Awards the other night. (For those who can’t understand those references, it means those listeners too young for sweater vests, but too old for skinny jeans.) And 105.1 flips at a perfect time, during a long holiday weekend when folks will be using their radios as background music for cookouts and pool parties.

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Welcome to Detroit, Bounce. Let’s hope your stay lasts a little longer than your previous format.

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