One of my favorites music journalists, Chris Riemenschneider of the Minneapolis Star-Tribute, last week wrote a great story [link] about KRSM, a new local LPFM station that recently signed on the air. I like his reporting because he knows how the lay the good stuff between the lines.
“[KRSM will have] by far the most programming for indigenous listeners on the local radio dial."
In other words, will people listen to it?
Riemenschneider rightful praises KRSM’s new service to the Native community in South Minneapolis. But the dryness of his words left me with the impression that KRSM is a station you should listen to rather a station you want to listen to. Public radio has long known that people make listening choices based on what they value and makes them feel better. Time will tell.
I decided to take a look at LPFM stations in the Twin Cities area to find the “radio reality” – the stuff that makes people want to tune in.
The chart on the right shows the five ‘biggest” LPFM stations now on the air in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. I use the word biggest cause these stations appeal to people in ways not easily measured in ratings or revenue.
I looked at, and listened to, each station to get a feel for their "radio reality."
Only one of the five stations is licensed to a religious organization. This is different from the country as a whole where over 50% of LPFM licensees have religious missions. The rest of the stations are either quasi-government initiatives or a group of citizens that organized with intention of having fun.
I am not saying that stations owned by an official entity is totally boring, even if the content is vitally important. I am not saying that people who enjoy themselves listening to great audio don’t care about the world around them.
Which of these approaches provides the best educational experience (after all we are noncommercial “educational” radio). I will bet it is the station where people have fun.
KEN’S CHOICE FOR THE BEST LPFM STATION IN THE TWIN CITIES: WFNU 94.1 FM – FROGTOWN COMMUNITY RADIO
WFNU makes a great first impression. Their website is warm and easy to read.
The “Our Shows” pages [link] read like a Netflix or podcast catalog. Every choice looks good.
Frogtown Community Radio looks like a great place to spend time in person, in cyber or in the eather.
Music-oriented shows like Trippy Talks with Ashley Mari, Mixtape – A show about relationships with MattG and the upbeat Echoes & Rhythm mix well with community bonding shows like The Evolution of Fatherhood and High School Sports Talk with Mike Resendez.
Frogtown Community Radio provides important public service in an appealing with a sweet vibe, rather than Caster oil. I call it “radio reality.”