How To Easily Dispose Of Your Audience In One Easy Step

KNST Tucson 790 Wild Country 97.1Earlier today, Clear Channel broke its AM/FM simulcast in Tucson to launch “Wild Country 97.1“. The News/Talk format remains on 790, yet as I write this ten hours after the format change the station is doing is hardest to keep the information about the change secret.

There was no advanced notice of the change on-air which is par for the course these days. However, if you were to go to you won’t see any information in regards to the disappearance of 97.1 from the simulcast. In fact you’ll still see 97.1 included in the station logo as do the on-air promos still running on the station.

The KNST Facebook page (and all of its Clear Channel Tucson sister stations) has a generic promo banner for the new format yet nothing explaining the changes to the existing listeners. KNST added the 97.1 simulcast in November 2011 to expose the programming to listeners unlikely to discover it only on AM. While it obviously didn’t get enough of them to keep the simulcast going wouldn’t it be in the best interest to ensure they follow them back to 790 or or wherever to keep them loyal to the station? Otherwise they’re just handing them over to the competition on a silver platter.

Stations use imaging to pound an identity into listeners heads. In one second that identity was rendered useless yet unlike a regular format change where you usually don’t care where the old listeners go, KNST still exists. The station will still be expected to generate listeners to convert into ratings and then revenue. By not guiding the listeners of KNST immediately back to 790, Clear Channel is easily telling the advertisers of 790 that they’re no getting what they paid for.

This is a simple concept. You have web and social media extensions of your stations for a reason. Use them. Control your message and content. There’s no excuse to not have new promos cut ahead of time even if the new format was created and launched out of market. These things should all be taken into account any time you make even the smallest of programming changes.

Screenshot taken at 11:25pm eastern on 2/14/2013 showing lack of update to hours after end of 97.1 simulcast
Screenshot taken at 11:25pm eastern on 2/14/2013 showing lack of update to hours after end of 97.1 simulcast
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  1. fybush says

    Which makes it all the more perplexing that they’ve been dropping broad hints about similar moves in other markets (“KFBK Newsradio” and its new translator on 107.1, which makes no sense unless KFBK-FM 92.5 is going away, and the return to “570” branding at WSYR in Syracuse)…and yet before the triggers get pulled in those markets, Tucson flips.

    At least when KOGO went back to AM-only, there was a month of Christmas stunting on the FM that included “now on AM 600” promos.

  2. whiteknight says

    Cheap Channel has reduced their product to a level where neither advertisers nor listeners care to acknowledge. The 97.1 signal was receivable at night after their AM signal turned off the lights, but the morning local show host’s uneducated drivel clearly did not cut it. When using words that start with the letters ‘S’ and ‘T’, he is compelled to insert a ‘H’, so that we enjoyed new creations like ‘shtreets’ and ‘shtrong’.

    The disrespect for the majority of the audience so poorly served is a page right out of the ‘How Not To’ do radio. The constant in-jokes and slurs hands the win to 104.1, which offers little better but at least sounds professional. And news readers constantly reading ad copy just destroys the credibility and objectivity of the news department.

    Gone are the days where radio professionals guided stations to success. Now we switch formats like most change socks.

    This latest Cheap Channel move is the last bastion of the truly vanquished!

  3. Jim Mack says

    The best thing that could happen to radio today would be if the ‘giants’ of the industry cut their losses and got out….making radio all over again by local owners. Mass ownership has reduced it to ‘junk’ ans killed it. Another way to put it is they have done to OTA radio what was done to disco!LOL JMO

    1. westcoastliberal says

      Couldn’t agree more with your comments, Jim. Just look at the industry TSL numbers…they’re shrinking. Not a good omen for those so seriously in debt. And boneheaded moves like these in Tuscon prove the cutting has gone beyond the pale. No one is running the ship; nobody at home.

  4. Mark says

    They will and always will continue to reduce radio to its lowest common denominator and they don’t care. That’s ok, I, and almost everyone I know do not listen to local radio anymore.

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