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

Lance's Line RadioInsight Blog

K107.1 WHOK-FM Circleville Columbus WilksRadio 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 audience for their years of loyal listening (the WHOK call letters and legacy with Country dates back to 1948) and perhaps a link to another Classic Country station to stream?

An even worse example took place this week. On Monday night, Cumulus dropped the Classic Rock format on 96.9 KQOB Oklahoma City and began stunting with Christmas music. Not only is there no reference to the change on the site, but the station’s social media accounts sit alive with no information outside of what listeners are posting with rude, nondescript responses.


Cumulus has Classic Rock stations across the Country and another Rock station in their Oklahoma City cluster that I’m sure they would have liked to shift the displaced KQOB audience to. A quick promotional banner welcoming listeners to 100.5 KATT on KQOB’s digital assets could’ve gone a long way to bringing even just one diary holder over. Isn’t that worth the 15 minutes or so it would’ve take to produce?

We are in a digital first era. People go online first to look for information. Radio programming is not a trade secret to be held close to the vest. Treat your listeners with respect and perhaps they’ll follow along with whatever change is going to happen next. Otherwise you’ll give them even more reason to switch to a digital platform like Pandora and leave you for good. We have enough of that going on already, why add to it when a few minutes of effort could potentially retain a formerly loyal listener?

  1. evantman says

    i agree, there’s stations out there that care more about money than the listeners and its sad to see that.

    1. firepoint525 says

      Couldn’t agree more. Corporate extremism (among other things) has ruined radio.

      The last paragraph of Lance’s article above was absolutely GOLDEN and needs to be read by everyone in radio, particularly everyone in radio who is a decision-maker in any way.

  2. MediaFan85 says

    The two websites for the previous rock format on WLFM-LP in Cleveland stayed up long after the flip to Spanish. Not sure if they’re still on today, but it is sad to such abrupt ends to stations.

  3. firepoint525 says

    Personally, I believe that some stations actually WANT to lose their old listeners when they switch to a new format. Why else would stations use Christmas as an excuse to flip? (Not saying that that was the case here.)

    Thank you, Lance, for an article that needed to be written and posted.

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