What Happened to 101.5 Tampa? The Popular Radio Station Just Debuted a Brand New Sound

Je'Kayla Crawford - Author
By

Sep. 9 2023, Updated 12:01 p.m. ET

The song title "You'll Never Walk Alone" is shown on the display of a car radio.
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One of the most popular radio stations in the Tampa, Flor. area is definitely 101.5 FM. On the way to work or on the way home from school, the radio station encompasses songs that every generation enjoys and knows the words to.

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The station used to be known for playing some of the most popular songs on the pop music charts, including singles from artists like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande. But now, the radio station has a whole new voice.

Details ahead on the change.

What happened to the 101.5 Tampa radio station?

Tampa, Flor. skyline
Source: Getty Images
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Instead of being known as Hot 101.5, the radio station has now changed to being called 101.5, "The Vibe–Tampa Bay’s Only R&B." The transformation was put into effect in September 2023.

Now, instead of playing the hit Billboard pop singles, 101.5 will mainly play popular R&B music. This lineup should include songs from artists like Alicia Keys and Miguel.

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For those wondering if R&B is the right music choice for the Tampa area, the radio station apparently took a lot into consideration when it came to making the transformation.

“We’re excited to launch 101.5 The Vibe and satisfy a significant format need in Tampa’s rapidly growing market. We program our radio stations with local research and audience feedback, so they are tailored to each market," revealed Rob Babin, EVP of CMG Radio in a press release about the switch.

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This isn't the first time that 101.5 has taken on a new identity.

While this might seem like a drastic change to transform to a completely different music genre that fans of the station are not used to, 101.5 has heard plenty of sound changes over the years.

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The station only started playing pop music in 2011. Before that, the station was '80s-based, and featured popular songs from that decade. Before that, in the '90s, it was regarded as the oldies station for all of their throwback plays.

The point is that a sound change for this station was already overdue and listeners should have already been anticipating it. The station has transformed a handful of times and is clearly not stopping anytime soon. Will R&B be the last change? Or, will this become the permanent choice? Only time will tell.

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How can you listen to 101.5 FM?

If you are outside of the Tampa area, consider that this format is spreading throughout the state, east to Jacksonville, with Urban AC Hot 99.5 FM Jacksonville recently switching to 106.5 FM.

“This Tampa launch and Jacksonville frequency change demonstrate our commitment to the Urban AC format,” Chris Eagan, VP of Audience & Operations for CMG Radio said in the press release, adding, “101.5 The Vibe is the latest addition to our portfolio of award-winning Urban AC stations in Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Atlanta. I’m proud of the hard work our Tampa and Jacksonville teams put into these moves.”

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