Friday, January 13, 2017


Downtown Colorado Springs & Pikes Peak
Colorado Public Radio (CPR) is increasing its statewide news presence by purchasing a small AM station with a valuable FM translator blanketing the Colorado Springs metro. CPR announced it’s intent to purchase KXRE-AM and translator K271CK 102.1 FM for $550,000.

The new facility will give CPR city-grade coverage of the market (map for 102.1 is on the left). Colorado Springs (called “the Springs” by local folks) is the state’s second largest metropolitan area with a population nearing 500,000. As you probably know, the city is home to several major military facilities including the Air Force Academy and the NORAD Command Center inside Cheyenne Mountain.

CPR’s bold move in Colorado Springs should concern hometown KRCC. Last year KRCC dropped Triple A music in the afternoon and added more news and information programming.  KRCC still offers music weekdays from 9am to 1pm.

According to Nielsen Audio estimates for Spring 2016, CPR is already is a growing presence in Colorado Springs. (Fall 2016 ratings data will be available soon.)  Between Spring 2015 and Spring 2016, KRCC’s weekly cumulative listeners dropped by 15,000 (21%) while a repeater of CPR’s KCFR was up by 5,000, a 52% gain. CPR repeaters also gained listeners in Pueblo and Fort Collins-Greeley.

Colorado Front Range Population
We have written before about Colorado’s “Front Range Mega City” that stretches up and down I-25 [link]. CPR seeks to be the dominant news source for the Front Range, plus less populated areas of western Colorado.

The Denver Post reported on January 11th [link] that CPR is increasing its news staff in a drive for statewide news coverage. According to the Post report, CPR now has a 30-person news team and continues to add new reporters. We reported earlier in January [link] about CPR’s search for a General Assignment Reporter & Backup host to cover territory from Colorado Springs to the New Mexico border to the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.  It is one of two new news positions related to the expansion. 

According to the Post article CPR’s revenue is also growing. CPR’s revenue was  $16.8 in 2016, up about an 8 percent jump from $15.5 million in 2015. Public Media Company help CPR with the transaction.

KEN SAYS: The other day I mentioned public radio’s “greatest generation” who built today’s public media infrastructure. Put Max Wycisk, CEO of CPR, at the top of this list.

Wycisk work at KCFR, Denver in 1978, back when the station call letters stood for “Coloradio Free Radio.” Under his leadership, KCFR became a community licensee, established itself as “Colorado Public Radio,” expanded coverage to most of the state and now offers three distinct programming streams: NPR News, Classical and OpenAir, a Triple A service. 

Wycisk was an early mentor of mine, for which I am extremely grateful.


Thursday, January 12, 2017


According to a report by the online news site Media File [link] American Public Media’s (APM) Marketplace is undergoing a major reorganization to transform its business model into a “full-on branded enterprise.”

The reorganization and rebranding effort likely means APM will be increasing its investment to create podcasts and other on-demand content. The first new product from the rebranded organization will be Make Me Smart, a podcast featuring Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood. Make Me Smart is scheduled to begin distribution on Tuesday, January 24th. More info, including a demo, are available on the Marketplace website [link].  

Other new “enterprise” products in development include videos, live events, and possibly even curriculum and video games. To fund the expansion, new revenue sources are being explored. Marketplace now relies on carriage fees paid by stations, underwriting and foundation support.

Deborah Clark
Describing the reasons for the changes, Deborah Clark, Marketplace Senior VP and General Manager, told Media File reporter Grace Mausser:

“We are looking to adapt from a very legacy-oriented shop with a suite of radio programs…to build Marketplace as an enterprise. Like many media outlets, our landscape has changed.”

In December, Marketplace posted two new job positions: Chief Content Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Clark told SPARK! the search process is “pretty far along.” As part of the reorg, Clark was also named General Manager of Marketplace.

Building a brand identity apart from APM will be a challenge. APM still owns Marketplace, handles the money and distributes its content. Clark says APM has given the new plan it’s blessing.


NPR News station WAMC keeps showing substantial gains in estimated weekly cumulative listeners up 9% from Fall 2015. 

Classical WMHT and sister-station Triple A WEXT stayed about the same.

There is a lot of noncommercial radio listening in this market. 


Albany-Schenectady-Troy is geographically a large metro area. 

The physical size of the market likely means that some listeners to out-of-market stations may not actaully be in Albany but are in the far-flung locations. Still Vermont Public Radio, New England Public Radio and North Country Public Radio also added weekly listeners.

In Syracuse WRVO continues to be the dominant NPR News outlet.  It is nice to see gains at Syracuse University’s WAER.  Note the estimated weekly listeners to SU’s other station Z89 WJPZ. Z89 is a student station that airs mass appeal contemporary hits and lots of SU sports. Classical music station WCNY does not subscribe to the ratings.

Syracuse is also a market with far-flung places included in the metro. 

One is WITH in Ithaca. The last time I discussed WITH, a couple of readers contacted me to report WITH doesn’t get much of signal into Syracuse. 

I got WITH's coverage map (on the right) and it appears the readers are correct!

WNRN’s home market is Charlottesville.  Yesterday we reported on a big drop in estimated weekly listeners to WNRN in Richmond. Hometown listeners also went down a bit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Detroit’s dual format Classical and Jazz station WRCJ [link] has a new owner but no changes are expected in the day-to-day operations. WRCJ, formerly WDTR, has been licensed to the Detroit Public Schools for many years.

The sale was necessary because of July 2016 State of Michigan legislative order to dissolve the Detroit Public School District. As part of the dissolution, the District was required to liquidate its assets including the license for WRCJ. The new owner of the FCC license is a new nonprofit organization, Detroit Classical and Jazz Educational Radio LLC, created by Chicago-based Stanley and Judith Frankel Family Foundation. The sale price was $6 million.

In 2005, the Detroit Public Schools crafted a local management agreement (LMA) with Detroit Public Television, owners of PBS station WTVS, to operate WDTR. The call letters were then changed to WRCJ. The Frankel Foundation [link] will continue the LMA.

WCJR airs Classical music from 5am until 7pm daily and Jazz music in the evening and overnight. According to Fall 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings, WRCJ had 130,700 estimated weekly cumulative listeners and a 1.2 AQH share.

Though no changes are anticipated in the near future, the ownership change may allow future partnerships and collaborations that were difficult to obtain with the School District.


Last Friday 1/8/17 we featured Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR) and the terrific work done by Torey Malatia and others to establish RIPR as a top-notch news and information source [link]. Now RIPR has an opening for an Environmental Reporter.

RIPR seeks to increase its environmental presence with investigative reports and multi-part series. The newsroom now excels in coverage of health issues, governmental affairs and business. Elisabeth Harrison, a veteran documentary producer and former staffer at the CBS Evening News, is RIPR’s News Director.

The job is a full-time salaried position with benefits including health, dental and vision, 401k, 3 weeks paid vacation, company-paid IPhone and more. For more information go to [link].  


In Richmond, two out-of-town signals from Roanoke, both owned by WVTF, continue to build a listener base in Richmond. Though dual format WCVE continues to lead the market in weekly cumulative listeners, the time may be coming when they need to need to choose a full-time format. WFFC, known as Radio IQ, airs 24/7 news and information.

Triple A WNRN, based in Charlottesville, took a major hit in its number of estimated weekly listeners. Could progressive music WRIR (which does not currently subscribe to the ratings) be impacting listening to WNRN?  WNRN typically appears in at least four rated markets. We will look to see whether this trend appears elsewhere.

It is a “WXXI World” in Rochester. They own or operate via LMAs all of the stations listed. Look for changes in 2017.  As we reported last July [link], WXXI-AM acquired an FM translator, so there may be frequency shuffling coming soon.

All seems well with NPR News WBFO and Classical WNED in Buffalo.   

Here is a question for you: WBFO & WNED aggressively promote their listening in Ontario Canada.  How many Canadian listeners do they have?

They even have an underwriting sales office in Toronto. But, I have never seen data documenting American radio listening in Canada. I checked with Numeris [link], the Canadian ratings company, and not a single US station is included in their top-line data.  Got any tips where I can find this info? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


John Greene with Lynne Rossetto Kasper in 2014
One of public radio’s “greatest generation” – the men and women who built key stations in the system, John Greene has retired as GM at KUER, Salt Lake City. Greene has been in charge at KUER for over 28 years.

Greene led the station through substantial programming changes, new media platforms and continuous threats to funding. 

Under his guidance, KUER was one of the first medium size market stations to flip to an all-news and information format in 2001. Many more stations have successfully followed KUER's example.

One of his most notable accomplishments at KUER was the creation of RadioWest, a talk and interview program that influenced many other NPR stations to start similar local programs. Greene kept KUER the top noncom station in ratings and revenue.  Salt Lake City is a very competitive media market.

Greene started in broadcasting as a volunteer at KRCL in Salt Lake City and became that station’s GM. He was GM at KUNR, Reno before returning to Salt Lake City to lead KUER.


Radio Research Consortium (RRC) is now releasing Nielsen Audio ratings for Fall 2016 daily through January.  We will feature some of the most interesting markets as the data becomes available. Then we will have composite lists by format and examine trends.

Today we have three of the “biggies” that are measured by Diary methodology: New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Louisville.

NPR News flagship WWNO did not subscribe to the Nielsen ratings in Fall 2015 or Spring 2016.  The most recent data we have is from Fall 2014 when WWNO had an estimated 82,200 weekly cumulative listeners. Things are looking good for WWNO – they are up about 20% in two years. The Spring 2017 “book” will likely provide the first listener info for WWNO’s new Classical 104.9.

Meanwhile listening is on the rebound at heritage jazz outlet WWOZ. Arthur Cohen has not only brought harmony to the staff, the number of estimated weekly listeners is up over 15% from a year ago.

NOLA’s low-power WNOZ makes its first appearance with a small audience. It is a “smooth jazz” station in a city that loves jazz music.

The big news in OKC is the continuing rise in cumulative weekly listeners at Classical KUCO. KUCO is now celebrating 50 years of service. Congratulations!

KOSU has spent a lot of time and money in the past few years increasing its coverage and visibility in Oklahoma City. Then they wind up loosing estimated weekly listeners while competitor KGOU shows nice gains. Like the OU Sooners and the OSU Cowboys, there will always be a new battle next season.
Classical music is also doing very well in Louisville. WUOL is showing a nice increase in estimated weekly listeners and NPR News WFPL is also up. At Triple A WFPK, it is same as it ever was.  Thank you Talking Heads!

Monday, January 9, 2017


Kim Burrell
Kim Burrell, host of the weekly Gospel music program Bridging the Gap was axed by the management of Jazz station KTSU following an uproar created by a YouTube video [link]. 

In the video, Burrell is heard saying “…homosexual spirit is a spirit of delusion and confusion” and implied that all homosexuals are likely to die in 2017. As of last week, the video had been seen by more than a million viewers.

Burrell is a nationally known Gospel singer. She began hosting Bridging the Gap on KTSU in the spring of 2016. She operates Kim Burrell Ministries [link] and is a featured speaker and performer at churches across the South.

KTSU’s licensee, Texas Southern University, decided to drop Burrell a day after her scheduled performance on Ellen was cancelled.

KTSU acknowledged Burrell’s firing with a terse one sentence comment on the station’s website: “The Kim Burrell show is no longer airing as part of KTSU’s Radio programming.
In the video, Burrell told a congregation at the Love & Liberty Fellowship Church: “That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women. It has come into our church and it has embarrassed the kingdom of God.”
Burrell later defend herself on her Facebook page:

“I never said ‘L-G-B-T,’ I said ‘S-I-N.’ I know that people are going to be mad. To every person that is dealing with the homosexual spirit, that has it, I love you because God loves you. But God hates the sin in you. I’m called to do what God called me to do, and that’s it, and I do it with passion. I make no excuses or apologies.”