As you know, 89.3 The Current, is one the most-listened-to Triple A music stations in the country. But with success comes imitators and new competition. Recently a Minneapolis commercial station decided to challenge The Current.
KTWN – owned by the local Pohlad family – became GO 96.3. It is sort of a Reader’s Digest of The Current. There was big news recently when The Current dropped host Barb Abney. GO hired her immediately.
The Twin Cities have had influential progressive rock stations since the late 1960s when blues-great Tony Glover hosted a freeform show overnight on KDWB AM.
For your enjoyment, here are the five Triple A station players:
THE NONCOM FAVORITE
KCMP 89.3 • NONCOMMERCIAL
Owner: American Public Media
Metro AQH Share: 3.0 • Weekly Cume: 317,400*
Capsule Description: THE CURRENT is one of the most successful Triple A stations in the nation. It is involved in almost every aspect of the Twin Cities rock music scene. Their heritage hosts are bankable personalities with large individual followings. THE CURRENT is the tallest leprichaun on the block -- thank you David Carr.
Music Ratio: 50% current; 50% gold
Biggest Advantage: Beloved and established music source and cultural curator. PD Jim McGuinn & company present a tasty choice of current and gold tunes including awesome oh wow oldies.
Biggest Challenge: THE CURRENT is the king of hill and everyone is gunning for them. Some heritage hosts think they are bigger than the station. Success sometimes leads to atrophy and overconfidence.
THE NEW CHALLENGER
KTWN 96.3 • COMMERCIAL
Owner: Northern Lights Broadcasting, LLC
Guesstimated Weekly Cume: 260,000
Capsule Description: GO 96.3 is owned by the Pohland family - who also own the Minnesota Twins. KTWN is the flagship for the Twins radio network. In the past three years KTWN has tried several music formats – none worked.
Music Ratio: 70% current; 30% gold
Biggest Advantage: They are new and the sound is very clean. I call them The Current Light. The hosts are familiar Minneapolis voices. They don’t play many commercials – now.
Biggest Challenge: As the flagship for Twins baseball coverage, April will bring many hours of play-by-by and boring as dry toast pre-game and post-game shows. Then again, if the Twins are challenging for the pennant they will strike gold.
THE HERITAGE MARKET LEADER
97.3 • COMMERCIAL
Guesstimated Weekly Cume: 750,000
Capsule Description: Cities 97 is a love letter to women ages 35 to 49. This is a heavily researched music station.
They used to carry the rock n roll flame – The Current carries the flame now.
Music Ratio: 10% current; 90% gold
Biggest Advantage: Well established. Lots of at-work and car listening. They just had one of their best books in recent history.
Biggest Challenge: They are ACTUALLY a Hot AC station, perhaps in danger of loosing the hip aura.
COLLEGE ROCK FOR TRUE BELIEVERS
770 AM & 104.5 FM • NONCOMMERCIAL
Owner: University of Minnesota
Guesstimated Weekly Cume: 10,000
Capsule Description: RADIO K is considered one of the best college rock stations in America. They are like a big club that loves to party. They are the focal point of a dynamic local music scene.
Music Ratio: 90% current; 10% gold
Biggest Advantage: They know their listeners.
Biggest Challenge: RADIO K is mainly funded by student activity fees paid with tuition. They serve only a small fraction of the student body.
THE BOTTOM FEEDER
KFXM-HD2 via xlator W227BF • COMMERCIAL
Metro AQH Share: NA • Weekly Cume: NA
Capsule Description: This is your iPod on shuffle. You only have 200 tunes in rotation. BUMMER. But, I love 90s stuff like Oasis Live Forever.
Music Ratio: 10% current; 90% gold
Biggest Advantage: I’ve heard it costs about ten dollars a day to run it. It soaks up enough younger men to help combo buys with Cities 97.
Biggest Challenge: It’s a who cares operation. These folks aren’t even trying. Maybe next month they will be playing country.