|POSTER FROM THE UPROAR IN 2014|
One of the most interesting success stories in public radio is the rise of WRAS, Georgia Public Broadcasting’s (GPB) new flagship in Atlanta. In July 2014 GPB crafted a local management agreement with Georgia State University to air NPR and local news programming for 14 hours per day.
Georgia State students still control the programming for the remaining hours. When GPB struck the deal for airtime in 2014, there was strong objection from rock music fans.
Since then, GPB VP of Radio Tanya Ott has assembled a remarkable crew of talent. The results are in the numbers. In the first couple of “books” WRAS had around 60,000 weekly listeners. That quickly grew to over 100,000. Now, in Nielsen Audio’s November PPM ratings WRAS has zoomed to over 160,000 weekly cumulative listeners.
WRAS still has fewer weekly listeners than WABE, but WRAS keeps gaining and WABE keeps declining bit by bit. Speculation is that WRAS has taken some listening from WABE but this is hard to determine with the data we have available. But talk about impact on WABE. WRAS was a big factor in WABE’s decision to dump almost all of its Classical music programming.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SIGNATURE PROGRAMMING
One of the keys to the upward momentum is GPB’s signature news/interview/talk program On Second Thought (OST). OST [link] airs Monday through Friday for 9am to 10am on WRAS and the other GPB network stations.
I like OST a lot. Host Celeste Headlee, with reporter Sean Powers and Reporting Fellow Trevor Johnson, cook up a daily menu of news, politics, arts and music, health care, education and eclectic stories not heard elsewhere. I admire OST’s emphasis on enterprise reporting. For instance, last week OST had a hilarious segment on White Trash Cooking. Holy potato chips and spam!
OST may be having an impact similar to Boston Public Radio at WGBH or CultureShift on WDET; locally originated magnet program the competition doesn’t have. This is a way to build a unique identity.
Here is a story tip for talk show producers who are readers of SPARK! I heard on OST: A growing national organization called Turning Point USA, which publishes listings of college professors deemed too liberal. Turning Point USA may have a branch on a campus in your town. See more about this story at [link].
Elsewhere in Atlanta, WCLK keeps spreading the Jazz love.
KUOW & KNKX CONTINUE NEWS COMPETITION
The schedule at KNKX (formerly KPLU) has not changed much since the station emerged with new local ownership. KNKS airs Jazz music in the mid-day and during nights plus Morning Edition and All Things Considered at the same times as KUOW.
Both stations have aggressive local news coverage.
Give a shout of praise for Classical KING and Urban CHR/Dance KHNC for nice gains in the estimated number of weekly listeners.
“89.3 THE CURRENT” RETURNS TO EARTH IN THE TWIN CITIES
The Current returned to mere mortal status in the November PPM estimates for Minneapolis-St. Paul. The Current saw an extraordinary rise in listening to its pff-air and streaming audio follow the death of Prince.
The station sounds as good as ever. I particularly like the new morning team Jill Riley and Brian Oake.
Nice to see Jazz KBEM have its best book in recent memory. Classical KSJN also had a good bounce up in November compared with October.
ANOTHER REASON NOT TO BUY THE FM TRANSLATOR IN FORT COLLINS
Yesterday we featured a FM translator in Fort Collins, Colorado that is for sale for $140,000. We gave several good reasons why it probably is not worth the price. Reader Aaron Reed provided another good reason to pass: the projected coverage area. Aaron sent me a link to the translator’s official coverage map. The map is on the right.
We noted that the translator is licensed to broadcast from more than 1,300’ above the City of Fort Collins. But, it doesn’t even cover the city. Plus there will be terrible terrain-shielding anywhere someone might try to listen. This is a translator that needs a translator!