Thursday, October 11, 2018


We are fans of WDST a/k/a Radio Woodstock, a station with a unique blend of commercial radio and public radio in Woodstock, New York.   

In March 2017 we featured Radio Woodstock [link] and called it “almost public radio.” WDST’s tasty blend of progressive rock, lifestyle and culture is a must visit and must hear to be believed. Check it out here.

WDST is licensed as a commercial station but it serves a small market (Poughkeepsie, NY Nielsen Audio market #169).

In a small market advertising revenue is sometimes scarce. 

So Radio Woodstock has pledge drives, members with benefits and a charitable foundation.

Most of time the hybrid business approach works. 

Recently WDST learned there are downsides to being a commercial station such as the requirement to run political attack ads. 

Last month, Radio Woodstock got itself in a political pickle when it aired and then banned a commercial purchased by the Washington, DC-based Congressional Leadership Fund. The Fund is a far-right group that is running anti-Democrat ads in many markets.

John Faso

Radio Woodstock serves New York’s 19th Congressional District where a tight race has gotten national attention. 

The incumbent, Republican John Faso, is being challenged by Democrat Antonio Delgado, a political newcomer who is a Rhodes Scholar, graduate of Harvard and a former executive at General Electric.

The race is extremely close.  According to the most recent poll by Monmouth University, Delgado has a slight lead over  — 45 percent to 43 percent

Antonio Delgado
Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado has a slight lead over Faso – 45% to 43%. Perhaps that is why the Faso campaign decided to attack Delgado for something he did years ago. Delgado released a hip-hop album titled Painfully Free.

The Congressional Leadership Fund purchased a large number of ads on WDST.  As believers in free speech, WDST began airing the attacked ads and listeners erupted and protested. You can hear the commercial here embedded in a news story published in The Daily Freeman, a local newspaper.

Gary Chetkof
After a couple of days and hundreds of complaints, WDST owner Gary Chetkof decided to pull the plug. Chetkol told Radio Woodstock’s listeners and local press:

“In 25 years of owning this radio station, I’ve never had to deal with something like this. [The ad was] so offensive to us and our listeners, the question really was ‘Do we have the right to not run it?”

After conferring with the station’s lawyers, Chetkof learned the WDST was NOT required to air the commercial. Because the attack ad was purchased by an outside political advocacy group, not the candidate, the ad could be declined. So, it is safe to listen to Radio Woodstock again.


NPR News/Talk KERA increased its estimated weekly listeners to a near record high in the September Nielsen Audio PPM ratings. Compared to August, the number increased over 14%. Interestingly, in September, KERA’s AQH share was down.  This means there were more people sampling KERA but not staying as long.

However, the big story in Dallas-Fort Worth is the rise of Classical music WRR-FM. 

The station, owned by the City of Dallas, increased its AQH share by 35% between July and September. In fact, WRR is now the top noncom station in the top station in the market.

The growth of WRR’s AQH share is all about “sticky” – the art and science of keeping listeners glued to the station.  

 Credit interim GM and PD Mike Oakes.  Check out WRR’s nifty website here.

There hasn’t been much change in the Chicago noncom PPM ratings this summer. WBEZ has yet to have a break-out month. The word on the street is that they sound terrific.

In the News/Talk race, WBEZ trails commercial all-News combo WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM (AQH: 4.8, Cume: 1,283,100). But WBEZ now leads all-Talk WGN-AM in AQH share and leads all-Talk WLS-AM in both metrics.

Triple A WXRT is still golden with an AQH share of 3.6 and 1,092,800 estimated weekly listeners.

In Seattle-Tacoma, KUOW again leads the noncom market in AQH share but is slightly behind News/Talk KIRO (AQH: 6.1, Cume: 496,100).

Both KUOW and dual format KNKX lead all-Talk KTTH-AM (AQH: 2.3, Cume: 177,600) and all-News KOMO AM/FM).

There are now two repeaters of Northwest Public Radio from Pullman now in the market. But, neither Classical music KVTI or NPR News/Talk KSWS don’t have many listeners. This has got to be an expensive way to reach a handful of people.

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