Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) has increased its profile in the Duluth-Superior market by purchasing the license for KZIO 104.3 FM and a related translator. The purchase price is $300,000. Though no announcement has been made, it is anticipated that 104.3 will become the new home for The Current.
The Current is now heard in Duluth on translator W215CG 90.9 FM, which simulcasts WSCN-HD2. The Duluth market appears to be important for MPR. MPR also has full-power repeater stations for its News and Classical regional networks.
The Current in Duluth has added a few hours of local original programming but during most hours it repeats KCMP from St. Paul. Duluth-Superior is one of the most competitive noncom markets in the nation. By our count, when 104.3 becomes a noncom there will be 12 noncommercial stations serving the market.
A Noncommercial Dial Guide for the market is on the right.
An upgrade of The Current’s coverage of the market likely means more problems for local Triple A station KUMD.
As we reported in early February, according to Nielsen Audio, KUMD lost 42% of its weekly cumulative listeners between Fall 2015 and Fall 2016. Ratings for The Current in Duluth are not available but the perception is that The Current gained many of KUMD’s listeners.
BUT WHY DULUTH?
The metro population of the “Twin Ports” is around 280,000 and it is the nation’s 165th biggest metro. It is an international seaport. But the area has been losing population for a number of years. Wages, education levels and housing costs are lower than the national average.
Meanwhile, MPR serves two other out-state markets with much more potential for The Current: Fargo-Moorhead and Sioux Falls. Both markets are around the same size as Duluth-Superior but have been growing at fast paces. MPR operates two full-power stations in Fargo-Moorhead (metro population: 240,000). In Sioux Falls (metro population 252,000), MPR operates three full-power stations. Two of the stations repeat MPR News.
Fargo-Moorhead is a college town where wages and education levels are far above the national average. Sioux Falls is the home of Sanford Health which has brought thousands of highly paid researchers and physicians to the city. Neither market currently has a Triple A station.
TALIA SCHLANGER BECOMES HOST OF WORLD CAFÉ
As expected, WXPN has named Talia Schlanger to succeed David Dye as host of World Café. The change is official on Monday, April 3rd. Schlanger, 31, has been an interim host for the past several months.
Schlanger’s choice is a generational change for the program. She had been a journalist, producer and host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), based in Toronto. She was also an actress in professional theater productions, including the first US national tour of Green Day’s American Idiot.
Schlanger is a music fan first. She told the Philadelphia Inquirer [link]:
“Like our listeners, I’m here as a music fan first. Discovering, sharing and connecting over artists is our collective passion, and it’s my mission to serve that as best I can on World Cafe. David Dye is so beloved and respected because for 25 years, audiences have been able to feel the genuine curiosity, excitement and care he has for the music he plays and for the artists who make it.
I know this is a big change, but I hope our devoted World Cafe crowd will feel the same degree of passion and care coming from me as we charge forward with amps blaring.”
WXPN will pay tribute to David Dye for his 25 years as host and producer of World Cafe with a private special event in Philadelphia on March 1. Listeners, members and donors are being invited to a tribute concert for Dye this Friday, March 3rd.
MORE “TRUMP BUMPS” IN NIELSEN AUDIO PPM JANUARY RATINGS
In San Francisco both NPR News stations, KQED and KALW, had impressive one-year gains in the January 2017 PPM estimates, compared with January 2016. KQED’s estimated 984,500 weekly cumulative is likely a record high.
KALW appears to be coming to life with a 35% increased in estimated weekly listeners during the same period.
In Boston, WGBH saw dramatic changes in weekly listeners between January 2016 and January 2017. It’s estimated weekly cume grew by 26%. WBUR’s weekly listeners also grew.
There was no bump for KERA in the Dallas-Fort World metroplex. There appears to be fluid situation among CCM listeners. Education Media Foundation’s K-LOVE repeater KYDA is now the top noncom station in the market.