Friday, January 9, 2015

RETRO FRIDAY: WALLY SMITH SAVES AMERICAN PUBLIC RADIO



Back in the 1990s when I was Director of News at American Public Radio (Public Radio International) I did a number of interviews with the leaders of public radio.  I used them as part of an orientation I did for new Board members and employees about the history of public radio.  (I’ll be posting more audio from these interviews in future weeks.)

One of the people I interviewed was Wally Smith.  At the time, Wally was the GM of KUSC in LA. Today he is President of Peconic Public Broadcasting and runs WPPB-FM serving the Hamptons on Long Island.

Wally Smith had an important role in the creation of American Public Radio in 1983. That was also the year of the “NPR financial crisis” caused by overspending and foolish business ventures.  The shock of almost loosing NPR to bankruptcy caused Smith and others on the NPR Board to request that CPB change the way it funded much of public radio.

Up to that point, NPR received direct funding from CPB.  Smith, Bill Kling and other members of the Station Resource Group, succeeded in getting CPB to channel programming funds to the stations who then “shopped” with NPR.

This created a market economy for public radio programming and made possible the near-instant success of American Public Radio. MPR’s A Prairie Home Companion – a program NPR turned down earlier – became an essential program for public radio stations.

The founding organizations of American Public Radio were Minnesota Public Radio, KUSC, WGBH, WNYC and WGUC. After creating APR, the leaders of the organizations held a celebration party at a resort in California.  What could possibly go wrong?  Wally Smith tells the story:
video


Thursday, January 8, 2015

COLORADO PUBLIC RADIO ADDS TRIPLE A FM IN DENVER



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.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WASHINGTON DC NONCOM MARKET COMPARISON: 2014 & 2000


Set the Wayback Machine for our nation’s capital in Fall 2000. WAMU and WETA were both part time NPR News stations.  WAMU aired Morning Edition and WETA aired All Things Considered.

Now WAMU is the sole NPR News voice. WETA is full time classical. Both have shown impressive gains in listening.  But the Big Mover in the DC is Christian Contemporary WGTS.  They have quadrupled its listening in 14 years.  Very, very impressive, particularly with reduced PUR and TSL in 2014.

NOTE: These two charts represent different methodologies and can NOT be compared statistically.

WASHINGTON DC FALL 2000

WASHINGTON DC FALL 2014

STATION
FORMAT
METR0 AQH SHARE
WEEKLY CUME PERSONS
WAMU
NPR News
6.0
571,800
WAMU HD2
Bluegrass Music
0.1
29,900
WETA
Classical
4.0
400,700
WGTS
Contemporary Christian
3.4
438,900
NIELSEN AUDIO PPM NOVEMBER 2014
Survey Period: 10/09/14 – 11/05/14
Top-Line Estimates as of 12/11/14
Monday – Sunday 6am – Midnight, Persons 6+
 
DATA © NIELSON AUDIO
Provided by RRC, Inc. for use by subscribers only
© Radio Research Consortium, Inc. // www.RRConline.org // RRC@RRConline.org
Format designations are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC. Contact us publicradio@hotmail.com.

 
NONCOMMERCIAL RADIO HERO: WGTS
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

BOSTON NONCOM MARKET COMPARISON: 2014 & 2000


Boston is one of my favorite radio towns.  It has a legacy of great commercial and noncommercial stations and personalities.  In some ways, listener-supported noncom radio was perfected in Boston, particularly as a business.

The two charts below show the published ratings for Boston area noncommercial stations in 2000 and 2014.  Several stations have made impressive gains.  To me, the noncom radio hero is WERS.

Unlike, WBUR and WGBH, WERS is primarily a student-staffed station. Student stations usually have high turnover with each academic year.  WERS sees a lot of changes in people but the audience size has roughly doubled in the past 14 years. Emerson students are the eager to connect with listeners.  Station management gives them the environment to excel.

NOTE: These two charts represent different methodologies and can NOT be compared statistically.

BOSTON FALL 2000



BOSTON FALL 2014
NIELSEN AUDIO PPM NOVEMBER 2014
Survey Period: 10/09/14 – 11/05/14
Top-Line Estimates as of 12/11/14
Monday – Sunday 6am – Midnight, Persons 6+
 
DATA © NIELSON AUDIO
Provided by RRC, Inc. for use by subscribers only
© Radio Research Consortium, Inc. // www.RRConline.org // RRC@RRConline.org
Format designations are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC. Contact us publicradio@hotmail.com.
  
NONCOM RADIO HERO: WERS
 

Monday, January 5, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL MARKET COMPARISON: 2014 & 2000



I’ve been saving ratings data for over thirty years.  Below are two charts of noncommercial stations in Minneapolis/St. Paul – the most recent Nielsen Audio report from 2014 and an Arbitron report from 2000.

NOTE: These two charts represent different methodologies and can NOT be compared statistically.

Here are big picture trends:

KEN’S ANALYSIS:

KMOJ and KTIS-FM have shown remarkable audience growth since 2000.  KMOJ’s weekly listening roughly tripled – congratulations to Kevin Quarles and everyone at ‘MOJ. Weekly listening to KTIS-FM almost doubled in 14 years, similar to other some other CCM stations nationally.

KNOW also showed growth in listening.  KBEM stayed about the same.  Listening to KSJN declined at around the same rate as other classical stations.

KCMPThe Current – far out-performs its predecessor WCAL.  I can’t recall if WCAL had switched to all-classical in 2000.

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL FALL 2000



MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL FALL 2014

STATION
FORMAT
METR0 AQH SHARE
WEEKLY CUME PERSONS
KBEM
Jazz
0.3
60,600
KCMP
Triple A
3.1
299,600
KCMP stream
Triple A
0.3
27,600
KMOJ
Urban Contemporary
2.1
172,500
KNOW
NPR News
5.1
351,600
KNOW stream
NPR News
0.1
18,000
KSJN
Classical
2.3
177,900
KTIS-FM
Christian Contemporary
5.0
454,400

NIELSEN AUDIO PPM NOVEMBER 2014
Survey Period: 10/09/14 – 11/05/14
Top-Line Estimates as of 12/11/14
Monday – Sunday 6am – Midnight, Persons 6+
 
DATA © NIELSON AUDIO
Provided by RRC, Inc. for use by subscribers only
© Radio Research Consortium, Inc. // www.RRConline.org // RRC@RRConline.org
Format designations are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC. Contact us publicradio@hotmail.com.
  
NONCOM RADIO HERO: KMOJ The People's Station

http://kmojfm.com/