Friday, March 17, 2017


We received a couple of comments regarding our March 7th post [link] about WCQS, Asheville and their new lower-power second signal.  WCQS has a traditional dual format of NPR News and Classical music on their primary station.  They also have a new second station, WYQS. It is a 24/7 News station, but it covers only a fraction of the area covered by the primary station. 

In the post we opined that WCQS is missing an opportunity for greater success by putting the all news channel on a secondary facility.  We said it might be a better choice to put 24/7 news on WCQS.  WCQS and WYQS serve listeners the the mountainous terrain of western North Carolina.

• COMMENT ONE: From Michael Krall, Program Director, WBHM, Birmingham

Michael Krall
A caveat to your "fish where the fish are" claim.

As someone who works in public radio and regularly visits Asheville, listens to the station, and travels the area, the mountainous terrain of Western North Carolina makes consistent terrestrial (and occasionally internet) listening challenging. It's not a stretch, for example, to have multiple presets on your car radio just to listen to a program consistently.

I know what I'm looking for, and it's difficult for me to find the stations even when I'm within the respective coverage area.

• COMMENT TWO: From Joe Patti, Classical Host, WRTI, Philadelphia

Joe Patti
Umm. So you take a news station and put it on a signal that is already covered by a news station - I think that's what you're saying. Along with "fish where the fish are."

Thinking about fish in a lake, there's only so many fish. One fisherman can grab all he wants. But, every time another fisherman hits the banks, the number of fish each fisherman can catch decreases as the other fisherman start catching fish.

In other words, put a second news station where there's already a news station, and the news audience gets split, resulting in listenership decreasing for the incumbent, and a very small audience for the new service. Nice.

My guess is that the classical/news service pays the bills for the whole organization, and probably will for some time. Putting the money signal on a smaller station will just cause a drop in membership and underwriting. Before you know it, the organization finds it needs to lease the signals or sell the properties all together. I can think of three "satellator aggregators" who wouldn't mind spending many, many times cash flow for those stations. Double nice.

Radio is a business - something many people in the business do not understand. Without your bottom line, you're nothing. So, like all businesses you protect the bottom line all you can. Which, I'm sure, is the reason they did what they did. Personally, I wish Feingold and co muck luck and great service.

KEN SAYS: Thanks Michael and Joe, I appreciate your comments. You both seem to be saying is if it is not broken, don’t try to fix it. As former station GM, I can appreciate that logic. NPR News and Classical on WCQS is now the “the money signal” as Joe Patti aptly calls it. But, will it be that way in the long run?

One aspect of the WCQS plan I like is the “digital play” using the second station as the originating platform. Best wishes to the good folks at WCQS/WYQS.


A reader who asked that his name and employer not be named asked:

I’ve noticed that Eastlan Ratings lists noncommercial stations in their reports. Our station can’t afford Nielsen Audio ratings.  Is Eastlan a viable alternative?

KEN SAYS: Eastlan is based in Bellevue, Washington.  The company began conducting radio ratings in 1999 as a low-cost alternative to Arbitron. On their website [link], Eastlan claims to have 450 subscribing stations in 90 markets.

It is hard to compare Eastlan to Nielsen Audio because they use a totally different methodology. Eastlan uses telephone interviews to derive their data. Like all media ratings, Eastlan’s estimates are just estimates. They charge around $5,000 to subscribe. I know that KRVS in Lafayette, Louisiana has purchased Eastlan data in the past.

That said, it is hard for me to be objective about Eastlan because I had an extremely negative experience with one of their sales people.  In 2014, a few modnths before I started this blog, I was doing consulting work for a station that asked me to get information about Eastlan. I sent an email to a rep listed on their website. The rep replied and we set up a telephone meeting for the following day.

The day and time arrived and the rep did not call me.  I let an hour or so go by and then I called the rep.  The rep, that I will not name, told me he hadn’t called me because his son had arrived home from college and the family was having a reunion. I started to ask for a future day and time.  The rep interrupted me, saying: In fact, your call is disrupting our reunion right now. Then he hung up and I never heard for him again.

Perhaps you’ve had a sales rep do this to you. This incident has “tainted” Eastlan’s reputation in my mind ever since.

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