Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A MAJOR DIP IN “K-LOVE” LISTENERS BRINGS QUESTIONS ABOUT EMF’S GROWTH PLANS • “PUBLIC RADIO TECH SURVEY 2018” ANNOUNCED


Educational Media Foundation (EMF) has been made several high profile station acquisitions recently in Los Angeles, Chicago, Providence and Raleigh for their satellite-delivered superstation K-Love.  


K-Love’s national plans appear to be moving along unabated. But there is a problem: Listeners seem to be abandoning K-Love.



An analysis of K-Love’s performance in the Fall 2018 Nielsen Audio ratings by Spark News (chart on the left) shows a major decline in estimated weekly listeners compared to data from February 2017. We looked at data for12 K-Love stations in the nation’s largest markets and learned:

• In these 12 markets, the number of estimated weekly listeners to K-Love fell by almost 20%.

• Eleven of the 12 stations lost weekly listeners in the past year.

• The downward trend of weekly listeners in some markets was substantial: WLVU, Nashville was down 71%; KHJK, Houston was down 31%; and, WKVP, Philadelphia was down 27%. 

In addition to these losses of listeners, K-Love’s performance in Los Angeles on the new KKLQ-FM has been disappointing. In the February 2018 PPM ratings, KKLQ – which covers the entire market with an awesome signal – had 370,900 estimated weekly listeners. The station K-Love replaced, The Sound, typically had four to five times the number of weekly listeners than what KKLQ is now reaching.

Alan Mason
Spark News reached out to EMF President Alan Mason for comments which will hopefully appear soon.

People speak highlyl of Mason. Futurist Mark Ramsey said told us: He is a "change agent.” Alan  thinks fresh thoughts never beyond imagination and never beyond reach.


We have no beef with EMF or K-Love. EMF has good reputation in the biz – they pay their bills, honor their commitments and seem sincere about their mission. But, the leaders of EMF are mere mortals and they do occasionally make mistakes.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM AT K-LOVE?

K-Love is currently heard on approximately 725 FM and translators nationwide, so each situation maybe be unique. However, there are four universal reasons K-Love is having problems keeping listeners and gaining new ones:

1.) K-Love’s music has very narrow appeal.

Almost none of the artists heard on K-Love have any mainstream appeal. Popular artists who sing about their Christian faith, such as U2, aren’t played on K-Love.

2.) K-Love’s hosts sound canned and they lack engagement.

On-air hosts have few chances to open the mic. When they do they have lots of housekeeping tasks to perform. The hosts aren’t curators of the music, they are “promo card readers.”

3.) There is virtually no local presence on K-Love.

K-Love lacks any sense of place. It sounds like radio from 35,000-feet. Music stations succeed because they become an integral part of a local music scene. K-Love lacks “boots on the ground.”

4.) K-Love is constantly asking for money.

A listener might hear four solicitations an hour for money. No tangible benefit for contributing is provided. The pitches are all about “give us money to keep us going.”





On the right is what we heard during a half hour of listening to K-Love on Tuesday (3/3) from 10:40am to 11:20am CDT. 

During this 30-minute period we heard: 8 songs, a five-minute stop-set, two appeals for money, three cold song-to-song segues, lots of pre-recorded liners and one verse from the Bible.

If you want to have a local event announced on K-Love or on the K-Love website, the network requires six weeks prior notification. 

According to event submission rules found on K-Love’s website [link], “local event requests” are on a first-come, first served basis. 

K-LOVE makes all final decisions regarding the announcement of local events and reserves the right to refuse any event deemed inappropriate or lacking general interest to our listeners.



Matt Stockman
Perhaps K-Love’s new PD Matt Stockman can make changes. Stockman started in December after the previous PD, Randy Chase left after three years on the job.

Will anything change soon at K-Love? Probably not. The money will likely keep rolling in. After all, it doesn’t cost much to put satellite-delivered programming on the air 24/7. The only thing local on K-Love is the top-of-the-hour ID.



PUBLIC RADIO TECHSURVEY 2018 IS RAMPING UP

Consultant, blogger and PRPD board member Fred Jacobs is now recruiting stations for Public Radio TechSurvey 2018 (PRTS 2018). 

According to Jacobs, the goal of PRTS 2018 is to help public radio programmers better understand the impact and potential of online and mobile devices and platforms.

Jacobs says PRTS 2018 will drill deep into the recent ratings increases for NPR News/Talk stations. Also, PRTS 2018 explore in-depth the growing use of smart speakers, podcasting and whether the 24/7 news cycle will lead to more engagement by public radio news listeners.

The deadline for stations to sign up for PRTS 2018 is April 30th.  Fees for participating stations range from $350 to $550 depending on market size.   

More information about PRTS 2018 can be found online [link]. To sign up, contact Lisa Riker (lisariker@jacobsmedia.com).





5 comments:

  1. I don't want to say "K-Love doesn't care about ratings" but it's very, very important to remember that K-Love cares a LOT more about donors in a region than they do about ratings. Ratings are for selling advertising (or "underwriting" for non-comms) and K-Love relies far, far less on that than they do on listener donations.

    K-Love's audience, reported by Nielsen, could drop by 80% and they would've care in the slightest as long as the number of donors (and the average donation) remained consistent. That's an extreme example, but it's quite possible for donors to remain constant, or even grow, even though Nielsen ratings are dropping.

    With many of these acquisitions, they already had existing signals in the market. So they have an excellent idea of how many donors are in the market, and how many more they can expect to get with a larger signal. That's how they determine what these signals are worth; if the seller wants more money for the signal than the donor calculations permit, then K-Love doesn't buy it. So by extrapolation, you can be pretty sure that K-Love's finances are doing just fine with these new signals.

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  2. People are getting quite sick of CCM, especially in the Church service. The millennials are quite sick of this music themselves.

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  3. Maybe its time to get the CCM out of the church services and back to liturgy and hymns.

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  4. KYDA in DFW airs sister service Air1 Not KLove.

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  5. In some towns that I pass through it seems like K-Love is on a dozen frequencies. EMF is less "local" than my Ipod.

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