Monday, July 24, 2017


Scott Hanley, GM WZUM, Pittsburgh
Scott Hanley is known as an innovator, former NPR Board member and a successful manager of public radio stations. 

To folks who know Scott, or have followed his career, he is a Jazz music fan and a promoter of Jazz on the radio.

Now, after four years as manager of WBHM, Birmingham, Hanley has returned to Pittsburgh and now is GM of WZUM AM/FM in Pittsburgh [link].   

Hanley is not only a manager, he is an on-air host with deep ties to the Jazz scene. He is a trained musician and performer and the leader of the Jazz Radio Consortium, a collaboration of hosts and stations from across North America.

WZUM's "rim shot" signal
This will be a new kind of challenge for Hanley. Unlike WBHM and WDUQ in Pittsburgh (where Hanley was also GM for many years), WZUM is what is known in the radio biz as a “rim shot” – a marginal signal from outside the metro that only covers only part of the market.

Guiding a station with less than perfect market coverage requires doing more with less.   

In such a situation, every member counts. Fortunately WZUM has a robust streaming audio feed [link]. 

UPDATE Monday 7/24 10:30am CT

Aaron Read just sent me information about a pending upgrade in coverage for WZUM-FM. The new map is on the left. 

Here is Aaron's comment:

You're forgetting that WZUM also has 1550AM that covers the heart of Pittsburgh, and has a CP to put 101.1FM on the air FROM the heart of Pittsburgh. (FM translator to WZUM/AM)
Thank you, Aaron

Though it doesn't have a powerhouse signal, WZUM is a for-real radio station. Known as “Pittsburgh’s Jazz Channel,” WZUM is owned by Pittsburgh Public Media, led by public media entrepreneur Chuck Leavens. It is a combination of several frequencies including WZUM-AM and WZUM-FM, licensed to Bethany, West Virginia.

Look for Hanley and WZUM to “punch far above their weight” as they bring unique public service to the community.


According to estimates provided by Nielsen Audio, in the June 2017 PPM ratings, stations based on NPR News/Talk programming comprise over 50% of the stations with the most weekly cumulative listeners. In fact, secular public radio stations occupy 23 out of the Top 30. Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) stations hold the other 7 slots.

CCM appears to have a larger format share in the June 2017 numbers because four stations operated by the Educational Media Foundation (EMF) now subscribe to the Nielsen ratings. EMF owns two satellite-delivered CCM networks K-Love and Air1.

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As you know, many NPR News in the largest markets have been on a roll recently. 

According to Nielsen Audio estimates, the three stations with the most weekly listeners are WNYC-FM, New York, KQED, San Francisco and WAMU, Washington, DC. 

Compared to June 2016, all three stations have increased their number of weekly listeners by double-digit percentages.

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The four EMF stations that are included in the June 2017 Top 30 were a factor in displacing four stations in the June 2016 Top 30: Triple A KCMP (89.3 The Current), NPR News & Jazz KNKX in Seattle, Dallas Triple A KKXT, and Latin Pop KNIA in Phoenix. 

I’m glad that the listening to the K-Love stations are now known because I feel this Top 30 chart provides a good snapshot of noncom listening in the top markets. K-Love is a sophisticated format that obviously has lots of listeners. Plus, station's that derive 100% of their programming for satellite channels are cheap to operate.

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WQXR, New York, was the only one of the four Classical music stations in the Top 30 to increase its estimated number of weekly listeners. 

KUSC-FM lost over 100,000 weekly listeners and was down 15% compared to June 2016. 

Both Jazz music stations also declined as did Triple A WFUV.

1 comment:

  1. You're forgetting that WZUM also has 1550AM that covers the heart of Pittsburgh, and has a CP to put 101.1FM on the air FROM the heart of Pittsburgh. (FM translator to WZUM/AM)