Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Radio Waves Podcast #178

Radio: June 23, 2017
As the Entercom/CBS merger continues, rumors have been running rampant regarding which station the combined company will have to sell to get within the limit of the number of stations allowed to be owned by the FCC.
The two stations already in a trust -- and thus the two stations seemingly ready to be “disposed” -- are KCBS-FM (93.1) and The Sound (KSWD, 100.3 FM). Observers are (mostly) betting on The Sound.
But that would be a horrendously bad idea.
First off, while I would loathe the idea, it is very likely that the already impotent FCC will be weakened further by the Trump administration, and the caps on ownership will be changed or lifted. That would mean that no station should actually have to be sold. CBS itself was counting on the idea when it kept KFWB (980 AM) in a trust for a decade as it feigned looking for a buyer.
Secondly, between the two, The Sound is the bad choice for a sale. KCBS-FM, also known as Jack-FM, is an established hit, currently at its peak in the ratings. It basically has nowhere to go but down, and the format has gone down in every city outside of Los Angeles. While I don’t expect that to happen here necessarily, holding on to Jack is like holding on to a glass vase with cracks ... looks good now but has the potential to fall apart. It also has little room for growth either in revenue or ratings
The Sound, however, is a solid station well-programmed with little direct competition. It’s been holding steady over the past year or so, and in the May ratings hit one of its best ratings points ever: 2.9 overall for listeners aged 6 and over, for an 11th place tie; in the top 10 among listeners aged 25-54 and even stronger among men in that age group. The growth potential is there, and there is room for more especially in revenue, as revenue follows ratings.
The above only applies if you are hell-bent on selling two of your best signals. Both Jack and The Sound are “grandfathered” into power levels and effective signal strength that would not be allowed if the stations were being built today. KROQ (106.7 FM), on the other hand, has a much weaker signal emanating from a mountain top lower in height than the Mount Wilson location for Jack and The Sound. 
KROQ has been hit hard by competition from Alt 98.7 (KYSR) as well, and both are running a format that has declined nationwide. So from a purely technical and business standpoint, KROQ is the station to sell, unless you want top dollar. Then it’s Jack. 
But as I said, if I were Entercom, I’d hold them all with a good poker-face ... I think they will be allowed to keep them for a long time, even though I disagree with the premise.
Problems at Disney
Remember that story on Radio Disney Country (KRCD, 1110 AM) adding a little FM translator on 99.1 FM in Irwindale? Seems that they may have jumped the gun a bit and might just be operating that translator illegally.
You may recall I mentioned KGGI from Riverside broadcasting on that same frequency. Well, KGGI owner iHeart says that the translator was modified without authorization and is now causing interference to KGGI within its protected signal area. The company has asked the FCC to stay any action approving any changes to the license of the translator until an investigation can be completed.

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