Lance’s Line

Where Do They KGO From Here?

Following last week’s massive cuts at Cumulus News/Talk 810 KGO and AAA 104.5 KFOG, I was willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt pending the reveal of the new lineup. After seeing what Cumulus has come up with for KGO, it is very easy to see what this is. A way to cut costs and let the station continue on the path to irrelevance. KGO was the longtime powerhouse in the Bay Area holding the top spot in the Arbitron ratings for 27 years straight until 2010. While many pundits will quickly point to owners Citadel and later Cumulus Media as the cause of the demise of KGO, the chips in the armor could begin to be seen as Talk Radio aged in the later days of ABC’s ownership of the station as the station dominated with audiences out of the sellable demographics. The true ...Read More

Focus On The Mainstream; But Support The Niches

Earlier today CBS Radio killed off the Freeform Rock “Freeform WBCN” of 100.7 WZLX-HD3 Boston and the company’s Radio.com streaming platform/app replacing it with Adult Standards as “The Lounge“. The format was programmed by Sam Kopper, who was 104.1 WBCN’s original Program Director and Morning host when it flipped to Rock in 1968. He was joined by a team of part-time DJ’s who kept the station live for 6-8 hours daily from their home studios. The WBCN branding is also used for a jockless Modern Rock format on 98.5 WBZ-HD2 focusing on the format the original WBCN carried in its later days through its demise in 2009. The two channels shared a non-descript sub-page on WZLX.com that hadn’t seen a new posting in nearly two years and a now-deleted ...Read More

Causes And Effects Of iHeart’s Seattle Shuffle

The four station format shuffle that iHeartMedia pulled off yesterday may have caught many off-guard but the pieces started coming together over six years ago. In 2009, then Clear Channel rounded out their Seattle cluster with the acquisition of CHR “Kiss 106.1” KBKS Tacoma/Seattle as part of a seven station swap with CBS Radio. That deal at the time gave Clear Channel full control of the younger demographics in the market as KBKS joined Rhythmic CHR 93.3 KUBE in their holdings. That monopoly ended up leading to the demise of both stations as they were known. In 2010, Sandusky (now part of Hubbard) flipped “Movin 92.5” KQMV to Rhythmic leaning CHR and the station quickly became not just the dominant CHR in the market, but the dominant station in the market. In the l...Read More

Never Settle For Mediocrity

Welcome to the new and improved RadioInsight.com. It has been less than a year since our last redesign, but quickly the flaws became apparent. We aspire to put forth a professional appearance and the old design was anything but. With the tenth anniversary of the site coming in April, I wanted something that proudly conveyed our legacy and our future. And this is just the beginning. Next week we’ll begin integrating the new layout into our Community along with a major upgrade to the system that powers it. We’ll also be debuting a new monthly feature this week looking back at 1996 and its affects on the industry today. After that comes the launch of PodcastingInsight. If you’re not happy with the presentation your brand do what you have to do to change it. Even a slight mod...Read More

Radio 2016: What We’ll Be Talking About

As we enter the new year the list of stories that will dominate the talk of the radio industry in 2016 is already filling up. Sure there will be format changes, layoffs, and sales that fill up the daily news, a few topics will overshadow everything in 2016. The B Word Will this be the year Cumulus or iHeartMedia finally break and file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection? New Cumulus CEO Mary Berner continues to claim that they won’t need to file for bankruptcy but with $2.5 million in debt due in a couple years and the stock price stuck around 33 cents a share and being threatened with delisting is there any alternative? iHeart’s debt is around $21 billion. The company’s stock dropped over the past year from a high of $8 to it’s current 90 cent value. They sold man...Read More

Why Is It So Hard To Say Goodbye (To Old Formats)?

Radio stations have been on the internet for two decades now. They’ve been changing format for nearly a century. How after all of this time has the radio industry failed to understand how easy it is to use the internet to communicate with their past, present and future listeners. When Wilks sold two of their Columbus OH properties to Radio-One and saw Classic Country “K107.1” WHOK-FM flip to Gospel, we received plenty of searches for keywords along the lines of “Where Did K107.1 Move?” and “Columbus Classic Country”. The format change took place on November 16, yet as I write this nine days later, the website for the old format remains online with no reference to the format’s demise. How hard would it have been to put up a post thanking the a...Read More

Suggestions For Cumulus’ National Platforms

This is Part Two of a series of suggestions for how to turn around some of Cumulus’ most-struggling platforms. Part One can be read here. Cumulus under the Dickey Brothers had a habit of launching a new content strategy and then quickly putting it on the back-burner after it failed to meet expectations. In the past few years we’ve seen Sweetjack, CBS Sports Radio, Nash, Rdio and Westwood One all have their turn in the spotlight. We checked on Nash last week and Sweetjack and the Daily Deals industry is more or less dead at this point. What about the others? CBS Sports Radio Thanks to the CBS and Cumulus owned stations that picked up the network, CBS Sports Radio at launch was established in the #3 slot of the five national 24/7 sports radio networks. ESPN Radio and Fox Sports R...Read More

A Plan To Fix Cumulus Part 1

As Mary Berner gets settled into her office at Penn Plaza, I thought I’d give her a hand with some suggestions to help get her started on where to place her focus as Cumulus is rebuilt without the influence of the Dickey Brothers. Talk As the 2016 Presidential Election season kicks into high gear, the former core ABC owned stations will be looked upon to increase revenue. In the October PPM ratings released this week the big Cumulus stations pulled the following shares: 770 WABC New York 1.6, 790 KABC Los Angeles 0.5, 890 WLS Chicago 1.9, 560 KSFO and 810 KGO San Francisco 1.9 each, 820 WBAP Dallas 2.8, 570 KLIF Dallas 0.3, 630 WMAL/105.9 WMAL-FM Washington 4.5, 106.7 WYAY Atlanta 1.4, and 760 WJR Detroit 5.0. The Dickeys spent lots of time tinkering with their Talkers over the past ...Read More

What’s Really Next For Nash?

As new Cumulus CEO Mary Berner officially starts on the job tomorrow, one of the biggest questions on the minds of many in the industry is what is really up with the NASH division that was the primary focus of Lew & John Dickey over the past couple of years. After a Tom Taylor report last week that the Nash initiative was to “lose prominence” under Berner, Cumulus quickly came out with anonymous denials to other publications while Senior Vice President of Content & Programming Mike McVay took to Twitter to comment: Someone asked me today "Is Cumulus committed to NASH." The answer isn't just yes. It's HELL YES. — Mike McVay (@MikeMcVay) October 8, 2015 That was followed by press releases late Friday about the “massive” online engagem...Read More

First Impressions & Lasting Effects

Every September the broadcast television networks begin rolling out their new shows to massive hype. Every year without fail most shows see steep drop-offs in viewership from week to week while the “successful” ones are those which see their ratings hold steady. Every now and then there is a show like Empire that somehow increases its viewership numbers from week to week during its inaugural run. The same is true for radio stations. Yet you wouldn’t know it based on how a few launches this past week have been handled. As we live in an era that seems to think the only way to launch a new format is weeks and weeks of automated music it should not surprise to see operators not care about how they handle the possible first impressions a listener will have. Cumulus launched tw...Read More

The AM Revitalization Translation

As the radio industry awaits the FCC’s long planned moves towards revitalization of the AM band, the battle lines are forming between the haves and the have-nots. Minority owners led by the National Association of Black Broadcasters are trying to get the FCC to place additional emphasis on opening an application window for AM stations to apply for FM translators as the agency has been leaning away from that. The agency had instead been considering a waiver window to allow existing translator licenses to be moved up to 250 miles. Such a window would make it easier for larger groups that have already purchased translators or own many like Educational Media Foundation or Edgewater Broadcasting to monetize their assets. Regardless of these moves, what does adding an FM translator have to...Read More

Looking At Alpha’s Rapid Expansion

Alpha Media’s acquisitions of Morris Radio and Digity Media quickly brought the company from around 100 stations to 251 stations in 54 markets. Not since the years of rapid consolidation following the Telecommunications Act of 1996 have we seen a radio group operator grow so rapidly. Since the start of 2015 we’ve seen Alpha acquire clusters in suburban San Francisco, Fredericksburg, Lubbock, and Salt Lake City along with the two group acquisitions. Alpha Media didn’t exist at all prior to Larry Wilson merging L&L Broadcasting with his Portland, OR stations in April 2014. Once the current deals close, Alpha Media will be the fourth largest group owner in terms of total stations behind iHeartMedia, Cumulus, and Townsquare Media. The general expectation is that Alpha fo...Read More

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