The best new public radio development of 2015 so far is happening in Denver. Colorado Public Radio announced the purchase of 102.3 FM – it’s tasty and smart Open Air format. The on-air change happens on January 27. Open Air is currently heard on 1340 AM.
The purchase price is reported to be $5.75 million. CPR says it is financing the purchase by issuing tax-exempt bonds to be paid off by increased listener support.
I think the new Open Air FM upgrade has a terrific chance on success in Denver/Boulder. First, 102.3 is solid signal (map below), on par with biggest FM players in the market.
Second, iHeartRadio’s Triple A KBCO and modern rock KTCL now have large lucrative piles of listeners. I can’t quote commercial Nielsen Audio data but I just saw the December 2014 Denver/Boulder PPMs. KBCO and KTCL together have over 10% of the AQH listening. Denver has some of hippest music listeners on the planet – it won’t take them long to find out they can hear the Open Air tasty blend.
Third, Open Air is playing an awesome mix of new and old tunes. The playlist for Open Air reminds me of The Current in Minneapolis and KXT in Dallas. Dig this: today they just played Nada Surf, Cold War Kids and the Reverend Horton Heat, mixed with The Lonely Surfer by Jack Nitzsche. Congratulations to Max Wysick and everyone at CPR.