We have been learning more about public media in Oklahoma since our Friday (1/19) post about the competition between KGOU and KOSU [link]. We heard from Kelly Burley, Director of KOSU. Burley said our story was incomplete because we did not include StateImpact Oklahoma.
Burley agreed that there is a rivalry between KGOU and KOSU but the bigger story is the way the two stations are working together. StateImpact Oklahoma [link] is a collaborative news project that brings together resources from four stations: KOSU, KGOU, KWGS in Tulsa and KCCU in Lawton.
The participating stations fund the project. There are currently four full-time reporters that work under the banner of StateImpact Oklahoma. Joe Wertz reports on the environment and energy; Emily Wendler covers education; Jackie Fortier covers health and Quentin Chandler other local stories. Their reports air on all four Oklahoma stations and digital platforms.
NPR initiated StateImpact projects in several states in 2011. The purpose of the program is to generate coverage of issues and policies that impact people at the state level. Though NPR provides guidance, it is up to the collaborating stations to pay and house the reporters.
KEN SAYS: I visited the StateImpact Oklahoma website [link] and the work is impressive. Joe Wertz recently broke national news about the nation’s deadliest oil rig explosion that happened 100 miles south of Tulsa on January 22nd. Drilling, fracking and earthquakes are big topics in Oklahoma with national implications.
THOUGHTS ABOUT KOSU'S PROGRAMMING FROM A COMPETITOR ACROSS THE BORDER
We heard from Fred Fletcher-Fierro, an up-and-coming pubmedia producer who is Morning Edition Host/Producer at KRPS in Pittsburg, Kansas, close to the Oklahoma border. KRPS indirectly competes with KOSU.
Fred shared his thoughts about KOSU and KGOU:
From where I sit in Southeast Kansas at least, KOSU is the more complete of the two stations. The M-F line up is better and their alternative music footprint is unparalleled in this neck of the woods.
I don't understand why KGOU re-purposes weekend programming on the weekdays [see the program comparison chart on the left].
KGOU likely spends top dollar to air 1A and then segues into last week’s You Bet Your Garden.
This makes no sense.
One thing against KOSU, I can tell they are voice track almost everything.
I can't tell the last time I heard anyone live on KOSU with local news in say a 4,5 or 6 PM hour.
The Spy [a weeknight alternative rock show] on KOSU is another thing I sometimes enjoy but it doesn’t have the identity of NPR News, KOSU’s brand.
The Spy makes KOSU sound like two different stations. This is confusing for listeners.
KEN SAYS: Thanks for the thoughts, Fred. I see a contradiction in your analysis of The Spy on KOSU.
At the top of your comments you praise the evening show as “…an alternative music footprint [that] is unparalleled in this neck of the woods.” Then say later on that The Spy seems out of place on what otherwise is a NPR News/Talk station.
Consistent programming 24/7 is an important goal but in a smaller markets “spice” is important too.
If I living in Pawnee, Oklahoma (which I did for a few months many years ago), I’d like to hear some cultural programming in addition to the news.
Plus, I don’t think going all news/talk would sway many listeners away from KGOU. If the dual format of alt rock and news/talk makes sense locally then The Spy should stay.
I think the more important criticism you made is that KOSU sounds “canned” and “distant” during ATC. KOSU should correct this problem by having a live, local voice as an essential part of ATC.
PROOF: NPR IS THE KING OF PODCASTS
The December Podtrac ranking of Podcast Publishers demonstrates how dominant NPR is in the podcast biz.
Not only is NPR’s Unique Monthly Audience up almost 50% in the past year, NPR now has more than double the number of Unique Monthly listeners as the number two publisher WNYC Studios.
Also on the Podtrac publisher rankings, American Public Media was up 51% in Unique Monthly listeners and PRX was up 47% when comparing data from December 2017 with January 2017. WNYC Studios was the only publisher to loose Unique Monthly listeners during calendar year.
Below is Podtrac’s December 2017 Top Twenty podcasts. Note that iHeartMedia is not on either chart. Podtrac deleted listings for iHeart because the data was found to be incompatible with Podtrac’s methodology.