How Not To Handle A Format Change

Under Construction Banner Format Change Failure 106.7 OMG Radio Z106.3 AlbuquerqueAmong the many format changes that took place on Monday one has stuck out to as a template on how not to manage your audience before, during, and after the change.

On Thursday, American General Media announced it would be moving Rhythmic CHR “Power 106.3” KAGM Albuquerque on Monday at 8:00am to the 106.7 frequency that was home to CHR “OMG Radio” KDLW, while being quiet about what was happening on the other side.

The “Power” side of things was handled perfectly. The station hyped its move on-air all weekend. The station’s website and Facebook page were updated with the new logo and dial position on Thursday well in advance of the actual change. Their morning host Double J was very active in hyping the change and ensuring the audience knew what was coming.

Meanwhile, “OMG Radio” left its CHR audience in the dark. On Friday afternoon the following banner appeared on their website and Facebook page. No information was given regarding what the announcement would be about on April Fools Day.

OMG Radio 106.7 Announcement

As the clock hit 8:00 on Monday morning, Power’s Double J was counting down the seconds until the station moved to the new frequency and ensuring the audience was engaged and ready to change their dial positions. On “OMG Radio“? Jockless music in place of the station’s now former morning show. That announcement that was supposed to be made at 8:00 never happened. To the KDLW audience their station simply became the new home of “Power“.

The CHR format had actually moved down to 106.3 where it was rebranded as “Z106.3“. Outside of a one line statement on the station’s Facebook page a couple hours after the change, there’s no way for the audience to know the format was moved. Most of the listeners thought the whole thing was an April Fools joke.

More than a day later things haven’t improved. A visit to 1067OMGRadio.com brings a jumbled mess of Under Construction banners and to listen for that announcement that never happened.

1067OMGRadio 106.7 OMG Radio KDLW Albuquerque
1067OMGRadio.com as it appeared at 12:00pm on Tuesday, April 2.

What will be the station’s new site at Z1063.com brings up a splash page for the developer PromoSuite Interactive.

KDLW did everything in its power to throw the OMG Radio audience in the trash. They did absolutely nothing to redirect their listeners to the new station. In a market with two other Mainstream CHR competitors, American General Media gladly handed the OMG audience over to Cumulus’ 93.3 KOB-FM and Clear Channel’s “Channel 95.1“.

This is not meant to be an attack just on how KDLW handled the change. It is 2013. If you don’t have your online and social media presence ready to go the second you flip the switch on a new format or even adding a new programming element you are failing your airstaff, sales department, and especially your audience. You have these free promotional elements to interact with your audience and engage them from the second you launch. Especially in an era when you’re likely not going to launch with any on-air personalities out of the gate.

As the traffic logs for this site can attest to, when people want information on a new station or a major personality disappears they quickly look it up online. If you’re not controlling the flow of information to your own property, how can you expect to evangelize them about what they’re hearing. A couple months ago I had the owner of a station that had changed formats a few months earlier tell me that he couldn’t afford to update the old website content. Four months later the website which will rename nameless still promotes programming that hasn’t aired on the station in almost a year, while no information exists online for the new format.

How can you expect to draw listeners and make your station viable if you can’t promote your own programming?

Comments

  1. says

    This kind of parallels what Clear Channel did in Austin with the Jammin 103.1 flip, where the station kept leading listeners on with promises of the format’s return after SXSW ended, only to have iHeart Austin made permanent. The second there was doubt that Jammin would return, the station should have been forthcoming on their Facebook page. If Jammin ended up coming back after the festival, that could have been rectified with a simple “the response has been overwhelming, and Jammin is back!”

    It all comes down to not misleading your listeners. Sure, while they may already be driven away by the format change to begin with, flat-out misleading them can affect your company’s/station’s goodwill in its other endeavors.

  2. Markie says

    Radio and goodwill do not belong in the same sentence, especially when you mouth those 2 horrible corporate words. Wonder why no one listens to local radio?

  3. says

    This change was handled horribly. You are right in saying AGM handed its OMG audience over to its competitors. I was a loyal OMG listener and am furious by this bungled format change. I called the AGM office to ask what was up and was told only that “we changed the format” and when I asked to speak to the person responsible for that change I was put directly into someone’s voicemail. Needless to say, I have not received a call back. I am mourning my favorite DJs and the community connection they brought to the radio.

  4. Jessica says

    I’m upset as well! I loved OMG radio, was my main station, Jeff and Jamie were one of the best morning show and what do I get instead on April 1st some douche named double J or something. Absolutely horrible way to handle such a big move. I can’t understand why they would do so in the first place. 90% of the people I know preferred omg radio to the other chooses so I can’t see it as they didn’t have the community support. Well this has successfully made 95.1 my station now.

  5. Kirsten says

    I think it was a brilliant move, Power 106 has a huge following and ranks much higher than OMG. And lets face it Albuquerque doesn’t need another CHR station. OMG struggled for years and couldn’t compete with KOB FM, the Peak or KISS in any day part. I enjoy the music, but some times not having DJ’s is a breath of fresh air.

    • says

      Kristen – The argument is not with the product produced by Power 106 or OMG/Z106.3 but rather how the move was handled. Power probably should be on the better signal, but that doesn’t mean the OMG audience should’ve been discarded the way it was.

  6. CALEB LOPES says

    Absolutly agree with all. It was handled very poorly. Why any staff or/and Dj did not let slip or publish they were loosing their jobs is what suprises me. For the record Jeff and Jamie made my morning smarter. Dont care how small that market was we are still people not a market.

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