Saga Communications has revealed plans to begin to limit many of their station webcasts to local markets. The company will join Mount Wilson Broadcasting’s “Go Country 105” KKGO Los Angeles which limits streaming listeners to those within California.
Saga’s move, which comes after eliminating many of their streams in sub 100 markets last year, is purely economically driven. Their News/Talk stations and a few music stations will be exempt due to already having a broader audience or lack of music royalties. Saga’s Ed Christian told InsideRadio that they will save $70,000 a year on music royalties while also saving on bandwidth due to the lack of ad revenue to be made by out of market listeners.
While its understandable from a financial side why Saga and Mount Wilson would be looking to cut costs, it is completely backwards thinking.
Every other radio station is now available nationally. There are no geographic limits on the internet unless self imposed. By placing the gate up around your stream, your closing yourself off from the global ecosystem. Saga’s “106.1 The Corner” Charlottesville, VA has established a niche following in the AAA music community for their unique programming features. There is potential for a national brand using local programming if time was spent building it. Closing the gates is the easy way out. Its just another example of handing your potential listeners to your competition.