Archive for Monday, January 23, 2012

Town Talk: Some optimism about Lowe’s future in Lawrence; local youth to appear on Jones Soda Co. labels; skate park improvements planned: UPDATE: What’s up with 105.9 and no KU games on the radio?

January 23, 2012, 10:33 a.m. Updated January 23, 2012, 12:33 p.m.


News and notes from around town:

• Not everybody has given up on the idea of Lowe’s locating on the property just west of Wal-mart at Sixth and Wakarusa. Namely, the guy who has the property under contract still very much believes Lowe’s is interested in the community.

“We hope they’ll be back to the table in about a year,” said Nicholas Christifulli, a developer with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Vertical Holdings Company.

Christifulli stressed that he doesn’t yet have any deal in the works with Lowe’s, but he said getting the home improvement retailer on the site is still his main goal for the property.

If you remember, Lowe’s had filed for a rezoning of the property and the request was working its way through City Hall. But then in October the company announced it was indefinitely delaying plans for several stores across the country.

Christifulli said he’s been assured that the delay in Lawrence wasn’t related to the local market, but rather was just part of a larger corporate decision to re-evaluate expansion plans. Lowe’s now has a new director of real estate that is overseeing the area that includes Lawrence. Christifulli said he’s hopeful that Lowe’s will re-evaluate the Lawrence site in the near future.

“I don’t want people to get too excited because we don’t have a deal or anything, but I’m more optimistic about it than I have been in quite awhile,” Christifulli said.

The property, which is at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Congressional Drive, is zoned for an apartment complex/retirement community. But when that project fell apart, a regional bank took over ownership of the property. Christifulli has been working with the bank to redevelop the property for a big box retailer. Christifulli has been in the retail development business for about the last 25 years, and has developed about 23 million square feet of space in that time, he said.

So, take all of this for whatever you think it is worth. If you are in the retail development business, optimism is probably a requirement, but it seems like the site may be worth watching again.

• One national company definitely is showing an interest in Lawrence — or at least one Lawrence 3-year-old. Select bottles of Jones Soda have a label featuring the picture of Lawrence 3-year-old Cash McCoy. Seattle-based Jones Soda Company often runs a promotion where people can send in photos that they think should appear on the company’s soda bottle labels. A picture of Cash dressed in a variety of swim gear and holding a “super soaker” that is roughly the size of Texas was selected as a finalist. The picture was selected as the winner in an Internet contest last year, said Cash’s mother Amber Nickel.

Nickel hasn’t yet heard any official word from the soda company, but reports have surfaced that bottles with the Lawrence label on them have shown up for sale in parts of Canada. Thus far, none have shown up in Lawrence. If you want one, you’d be better be quick.

“Now is the time that I need to buy some stock in Jones Soda, because I have a suspicion we’ll be buying out our local retailers whenever they arrive,” Nickel said.

Nickel said she even plans to buy one case and save until Cash’s wedding day.

The photo was taken by area photographer Trina Baker. She’s been the one more in contact with the soda company. I’ve got a call into her, so perhaps she knows more information about when the bottles may arrive in Lawrence. I’ll let you know if I learn anything more.

In the meantime, Cash and Nickel (that sounds like a great cop show, by the way) are excited about the new found fame.

“I’ve been tickled pink by this,” Nickel said with a laugh. “I tell people Jones Soda today, Wheaties box tomorrow.”

• All you hipsters can grab a bottle of Jones and head on down to the Centennial skate park. As we have previously reported, the city has set aside about $125,000 to make improvements to the skate park. The process to spruce up the facility — which is located in Centennial Park near Sixth Street and Rockledge Road — will get started this week. The city on Tuesday will begin advertising for proposals from design firms interested in improving the park. The request for proposals makes its clear that repairing the old and cracking pavement is the No. 1 goal, but the city also expects its $125,000 to be enough to make some improvements to the ramps, jumps and other pieces of equipment at the park. The city also is asking any design firm to submit ideas for future phases of development of the park.

Proposals from design firms are due by mid-February, and the city hopes to have the project completed by May.

• Speaking of hipsters, you cool cats who actually have working radios in your car (the one in the F-150 has been broken for about two years now) may have noticed a change in the city’s radio scene. 105.9 The Lazer is no longer the Lazer. Instead, it is now known as 105.9 KISS-FM. According to the industry Web site Radio Insight, the station will continue to have a non-local host in the morning with Kidd Kraddick. The station continues to be owned by Great Plains Media. I’m not sure what type of music changes are on tap for the station, but according to Radio Insight, mid-day D.J. Beth B. will be moving over to Great Plains’ sister station Bull 92.9 and the mid-day D.J. for the Bull, Amber Lee, PD will be taking over the mid-day spot on KISS.

The changes come after Great Plains — which is based out of Cape Girardeau, Mo. — recently installed a new general manager for its Kansas stations. The Web site reports that Jay Wachs, a former sales director for a group of stations in Austin, took over in December as general manager for 105.9, 92.9 and 1320 KLWN.

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.: I just got off the phone with Jim Marchiony at KU Athletics, and he confirmed that the swtich-over at 105.9 did disrupt KU men's basketball coverage on Saturday. And it may impact tonight's game coverage as well. What happened is that 105.9 is running 105 hours of commercial free music as part of its new station launch. That apparently, Marchiony said, caused 105.9 to push the KU men's basketball game against Texas over to its sister station 92.9. Marchiony said the move caught KU officials by surprise.

"They do need to get permission from us for issues like that, and we're in the process of working that out right now," Marchiony said.

Marchiony said his office also is working to figure out whether tonight's game against Texas A&M; will be broadcast on 105.9 or on 92.9. Marchiony said KU's preference is for the game to be on its longtime home of 105.9.

Regardless, Marchiony said once this commercial-free promotion ends at the radio station, he expects the KU games to return to 105.9.

I've got a call into the new general manager at the radio station to find out more. I'll update you when I hear more.

UPDATE: 11:35 a.m.: Well, the situation has changed some. Jim Marchiony at KU Athletics just called me back and said he misspoke earlier. The game on Saturday was not broadcast on 92.9 FM. In other words, the Lawrence radio station that is part of the Jayhawk Radio Network didn't play the game on either one of its FM stations. (I assume the game was on its AM station KLWN 1320.) Marchiony said he doesn't know yet whether tonight's game will be on either FM station.

"I think they are thinking about putting it on 92.9, but that is still being talked about," Marchiony said. "That is not a done deal."

Marchiony said KU officials were caught off guard by the change. He said KU Athletics absolutely believes it is important that KU men's basketball games be broadcast on an FM station in the Lawrence market.

"We didn't know anything about this until the middle of the game on Saturday," Marchiony said. "A little advanced communication would have helped us a lot. But we'll work through it."

I still haven't gotten a call back from the folks at 105.9. Marchiony has said he'll let us know about the plans for tonight's radio coverage as soon as he knows. In the meantime, here's a list of all the radio stations that are part of the Jayhawk Radio Network.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: This just in from Jim Marchiony at KU Athletics: The KU men's basketball game tonight will be broadcast on 105.9 on the FM dial. Marchiony said he's been told by Great Plains Media — the company that owns 105.9 — that all future KU men's games also will be broadcast on that station.


cellogrl 6 years, 5 months ago

Is that why the game wasn't on 105.9 on Friday? Will it be again or was that a Longhorn Network thing?

NotASquishHead 6 years, 5 months ago

Duplicating the question from "cellogrl", will KU basketball continue to be on 105.9? Really missed them on Friday. It would be ridiculous if we can't get KU basketball on a FM station IN LAWRENCE!

Chad Lawhorn 6 years, 5 months ago

I just added an update regarding that issue. Please see it above. Thanks, Chad

Chad Lawhorn 6 years, 5 months ago

Well, the situation has changed some. I just got off the phone again with Marchiony and he said he misspoke earlier. The game on Saturday was not on 92.9. In other words, Lawrence's FM station that is part of the Jayhawk Radio network didn't play the Texas game at all. Marchiony said he doesn't yet know whether tonight's game will be on either 105.9 or 92.9. I'll write an update and post above soon. Thanks, Chad

jackpot 6 years, 5 months ago

Nothing like a 2 hour story. Thanks for staying on top of it.

Jean Robart 6 years, 5 months ago

What's wrong with hearing the games on an AM station?

d_prowess 6 years, 5 months ago

Just to add to the discussion, I too would love to know if they will have the KU games still. I was counting on them on Saturday and was very disappointed!

chong 6 years, 5 months ago

I too was caught off guard. However, I found the game on 580 AM. Perhaps it will be on there tonight, as well.

levicircle2 6 years, 5 months ago

580 AM (WIBW-AM) carries all the KU men's & women's games, plus both HawkTalk shows - so yes, it'll be there.

John Hamm 6 years, 5 months ago

And nobody comments that this "new" radio station has no qualms about moving a contracted game from it's station to a different station with no announcement or notification. Seems to indicate a total lack of commitment or respect for the Lawrence market to me......

MarcoPogo 6 years, 5 months ago

That boat done sailed quite a while back.

formerfarmer 6 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if Mr Wachs bumped a Texas game for commercial free music when in Austin. I doubt it.

JHog 6 years, 5 months ago

I haven't listened to that station since they dumped their alternative format several years ago. Went from being one of the best stations in the country to a forgettable station in a crowded market.

Hooligan_016 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't know what market/demographic they are programmed for ... during the brief amount of time I was tuned in waiting for the game, my brain almost exploded from the simply awful music.

Eric_Struckhoff 6 years, 5 months ago

The game was indeed broadcast on 1320 AM.

Dan Edwards 6 years, 5 months ago

Yup, same question here. Chad, inquiring minds want to know!

And before anyone else chimes in, I know there are other terrestrial/internet radio stations to listen to the game audio, but 105.9 FM always has the best quality signal for me.

Dan Edwards 6 years, 5 months ago

You're the best, Chad. Glad to hear tonight's game will be broadcast in its "proper" place and time. Rock chalk!

ksjayhawk74 6 years, 5 months ago

This game was a nightmare to follow for anyone without television.

First, it wasn't on because it was on CBS.

The back-up plan is to listen to it on 105.9. This is also, the only time I would purposely listen to the Lazer in the past 11 years. The easiest thing to do would be to go to and listen to the on-line streaming... However, the Lazer stops broadcasting on-line during games, for so terrible reason. So I went to my smartphone which has an FM tuner... where I hear terrible music playing... I thought I had the starting time wrong, because, why else would it not be on the Lazer?

I finally had to find an old radio in my closet that has an AM tuner to get the game on KLWN.

I'm sure this incident was not a pleasant introduction to the new KISS FM to many local Jayhawk fans.

BeeBee3 6 years, 5 months ago

You mean to tell me you had to DIG OUT AN AM RADIO TO HEAR THE GAME??????????????????? Oh, my!!! First world problems.. I think you should prioritize your life.

Chelsea Kapfer 6 years, 5 months ago

that was kind of a witchy thing to say, Beebee. jeez.

BeeBee3 6 years, 5 months ago

Chelsea, It just baffles me the things people get their panties in a twist about in this town. You didn't get to hear ONE KU basketball game on the station you wanted on the radio and your life is over?? Save the drama for yo mama.

Keith 6 years, 5 months ago

Was it a voluntary departure or were you asked to leave?

BeeBee3 6 years, 5 months ago

I got kicked out for quoting the movie "Coneheads."

ellebea 6 years, 5 months ago

I second that, BeeBee. It is definitely not the end of the world. :)

BeeBee3 6 years, 5 months ago

Well thank you my sane pal, ellebea. People being up in arms about this is just so weird to me. I just don't live and breathe a sport. I guess that's the difference. Sorry if my first post came off as "witchy." Just reading all of these comments made me curious as to why it had such a HUGE affect on people. Especially when there were other radio stations broadcasting it.

Jonathan Fox 6 years, 5 months ago

Still patiently awaiting, hopefully a full size Lowe's, up next to walmart someday. Especially since Lawrence, in its constantly infinite wisdom... didn't allow a full size Home Depot. I'd really like for people not to have to drive to KC or Topeka to go to a decent sized hardware store. This town is so downtown centric that they'd rather send people to KC then allow a large tax paying box store in Lawrence.

ksjayhawk74 6 years, 5 months ago

If you want to know more about why the new radio station played non-stop music, instead of the game, here's the actual YouTube video from the station. You see, GaGa Girl took over the station...

tomatogrower 6 years, 5 months ago

There's no way to adapt the Sears store for Lowe's? Better than building a whole new building.

average 6 years, 5 months ago

Any chance of Menards jumping on Lowe's retrenchment? They seem to be trying to make inroads in the region. Possibly room for one or the other in the Lawrence market, almost certainly not both.

pizzapete 6 years, 5 months ago

Baby, baby, baby, I love you, baby, baby, baby, I love you, baby, baby, baby... If you thought the Lazer was bad before you haven't heard anything yet. It's pure torture to listen to it now.

Jake Esau 6 years, 5 months ago

Does anything the Kidd Kraddick show is total waste of radio bandwidth?

Jake Esau 6 years, 5 months ago

Lets try this again... Does anyone else think the Kidd Kraddick show is a total waste of radio bandwidth?

ellebea 6 years, 5 months ago

It absolutely IS! Local hosts in the morning would be SO much more relevant to life in Lawrence, and would bring more character to the station, in my humble opinion. :)

parrothead8 6 years, 5 months ago

Chad...any idea what happened to the small skatepark at Deerfield Park? All of the equipment disappeared several weeks ago, along with the fences that used to be up around the tennis & basketball courts.

xraypooh 6 years, 5 months ago

I guess parrothead8 and I are the only ones that care about the skatepark!!

But I would love to see a cement pool at the skatepark. But in all actuality.. an indoor skate park is what we need!

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

Chad, I think you do a great job. I would suggest one thing. Sometimes, you mention a store going into a new location, or a new business going in somewhere, then months later, nothing. Maybe an update every now and then. I was thinking of the old Blockbuster Video store. You mentioned a furniture rental going in. Months later and nothing. Just curious. Again, you do a great job.

kochmoney 6 years, 4 months ago

Radio. Is that the thing people who don't have Pandora listen to for random music?

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