Take the 101 – aka The Pacific Coast Highway – out of the Valley and pretty soon you will be in one of prettiest places on earth – the Southern California coast. You may need to change your radio dial because the most of the LA stations are hit-and-miss due to the terrain. Though you are close to LA the 101 will take you through a number of exurban towns and cities, each with their own characteristics.
Most of them are great places to live but often it is challenging to make a living. I’ve heard it called “poverty with a view.” It takes a crafty vision to succeed in the noncommercial radio biz in the shadow of LA. But, there are some stations that do very, very well and today’s post is about them.
Just west of LA, up the 101, there are three almost contiguous Nielsen Audio Diary markets with close affinity: Oxnard/Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo. In some ways these three places make a common radio market because most local stations also serve other parts of the three-county metro. On the right is a map (courtesy of KCLU, Thousand Oaks) that shows the connected communities.
The local stations have two factors in common: They must compete with competition from LA station’s repeaters and translators; and they all hug the 101 – one of the busiest freeways in the world – from Thousand Oaks to Oxnard to Ventura to Santa Barbara to Santa Maria to San Luis Obispo.
Let’s look at the three markets individually using Nielsen Audio data from Spring 2016 compared with Spring 2016.
Note: There is more volatility in these the markets than normal. I have no information about why the differences have happened between 2015 and 2016. Please let me know your thoughts.
KCLU AM/FM is very strong in this market. KCLU-FM is only rated station to increase its weekly listeners from Spring 2015 to Spring 2016. You will note that all of the LA stations lost a considerable number of weekly listeners.
KCLU-FM lost some weekly listeners. KCLU-AM, based near Santa Barbara, seems to be keeping its listeners perhaps because of the increased attention on KCLU-AM to Santa Barbara news and events. KCRW and KPCC both were up fairly dramatically. KDB now is a fulltime repeater of LA.
SAN LUIS OBISPO
KCBX is down a bit in its home market. But, look at KUSC/KDB. I can’t explain this major drop in weekly listeners. Things will be changing soon in San Luis Obispo because KCRW has acquired a primo fulltime repeater. We reported on this development recently [link].
THE THREE MARKETS TOGETHER
Finally we have a just-for-fun compilation of weekly listeners in all three markets. Caution: There may be some duplication of listeners.
Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight Persons 12+
These data are provided for use by Nielsen subscribers ONLY,
in accordance with RRC's limited license with Nielsen Inc. Data Copyright Nielsen Inc. Format distinctions are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC.