Journal/Scripps forced to sell KIVI or KNIN

When Journal Broadcast Group is merged into EW Scripps, KIVI and KNIN will no longer be on the same side.

IMG_0822-0.JPGIn a little-noticed FCC filing earlier this month, Journal agreed to “sell” the two stations to “Journal/Scripps Divestiture Trust.” A bit of digging finds that Journal & Scripps have to unload one of the Boise TV stations in order to consummate their marriage.

Here’s why: in 2009, after a lengthy process, Journal bought KNIN under the FCC’s “failing station” waiver provisions. At the time, KNIN was a CW affiliate with little in the way of ratings or revenue. Journal convinced the FCC that it would be a better steward for the license.

And how. KNIN is now a Fox affiliate, loaded with NFL, college football, two hours of live local news, a hit Fox show or two… It even aired the Super Bowl. A far cry from its first days as a Home Shopping Club affiliate. To get to profitability, it laid off nearly all KNIN staffers, stopped leasing space downtown and merged most technical operations into its Nampa facility.

Now that EW Scripps is buying Journal, it will require the license for both KIVI & KNIN (as well as Journal’s four local radio stations) be transferred to Scripps. But, alas, channel 9 isn’t failing any longer. And neither, one would guess, is channel 6. To get this deal done, the new company will have to unwind its Boise duopoly just five years after doing the deal.

The companies are not commenting on which station they’ll keep or which they’ll ditch. A safe bettor would guess KIVI, but it’s hard to say (and as an employee of a competitor, I’m not the one to ask these questions. Perhaps Michael Deeds, as a partner/friend/employee of KIVI will… But he hasn’t of yet, despite these filings several weeks ago).

KIVI & KNIN aren’t really separate stations anymore. They share everything large & small: news, graphics, sales people, music, tech staffers, branding… They even share the same website. It’s really one station with two separate program streams. Unwinding will not be a simple one day process.

These are all speculative scenarios…
– Scripps keeps KIVI, moves all Fox programming & news to KIVI 6.2. Keeps both essentially – jettisoning the broadcast license and transmitter. This is a tactic being used by Sinclair in markets around the country. It would essentially make he KNIN license & transmitter worthless. In the Sinclair markets where this has happened, the former station has been shut down.

– Scripps keeps KIVI, sells KNIN with programming intact to a sidecar owner. This is a practice where Scripps would “sell” the license and transmitter to a “third party” – generally a technically separate company that is essentially controlled by Scripps. These deals were everywhere for a while, popularized by Sinclair – but the FCC has been cracking down. This is a less-likely scenario.

– Scripps keeps KIVI, sells KNIN to a truly outside buyer – but continues to run programming and sales operations for a fee. This is known as a Joint Sales Agreement or Shared Services Agreement.

– Scripps keeps KIVI, sells KNIN with all programming intact to an outside owner and has little involvement in the station (see news caveat below). There are no obvious buyers (KTVB-owner Gannett and KBOI-owner Sinclair are likely no-gos here). Block Communications, which famously balked at paying Fox’s demands for compensation at KTRV-TV is an interesting dark horse. Block & Fox network-owner Twenty First Century Fox patched things up in Louisville, where Block owns WAND-TV which remains a Fox affiliate. It’s unlikely “Fox 12,” would rise again – but a KTRV/KNIN combo might be allowable by the FCC – and Block has some infrastructure still in the market. A company without a Boise presence could also be in the mix – Gray, Meredith, etc. Back to that news caveat: it’s conceivable that Scripps could continue to supply KNIN with news (or it could even come from one of the other two TV news providers in the market for the right price).

– Scripps keeps KIVI, sells KNIN to McClatchy! OK, this isn’t happening. But a fun thought: what if the owner of the Idaho Statesman bought KNIN? Stranger things have happened: in St. Joseph, Missouri, the News-Press Gazette started up a Fox affiliate and started creating news for it. To be fair, NPG owns a bunch of TV stations around he country and has expertise in this area – McClatchy is only a newspaper company. But what better way to turn around a newspaper than with a TV station? Who doesn’t want to see News at Nine anchored by Dan Popkey & Pete Zimowsky? What’s that? They don’t work there anymore? How about Woodward? Semi-retired? Ok. Brian Murphy on sports at least. What? He’s moving to DC?

You’ll notice that none of my scenarios start with Scripps dropping KIVI. While it’s not impossible, I tend to think there is more revenue on the ABC-affiliate. KNIN does have some attractive things going for it: mainly the NFL… Which KIVI has none of. Time will tell.



From the ‘Things we missed in our inbox’ file

This one came through back in June, but… well, summer.

Oliver Russell announced that they have assumed management and marketing of Think Boise First.

From the press release about the change:

Think Boise First co-founder Beth Geagan said the organization achieved great success over the past six years in branding and highlighting the importance of local business to the community. Earlier this year, Geagan began looking for viable options to take the branded effort to the next level in Boise.

“We talked to several interested parties. In the end, Oliver Russell made the most sense and provided the best option to keep Think Boise First alive and thriving in our community,” she said.

Think Boise First was founded in 2008 by a small group of business owners and community advocates who believed that local businesses are the core of sustainable local living in Boise and Garden City. Its mission is to connect and promote locally owned and independently operated businesses, while educating the community on local products and services and the economic benefits of buying local.

Think Boise First was originally managed under the nonprofit umbrella of Sustainable Community Connections, however Oliver Russell will now operate it as a social enterprise using commercial strategies to promote the local movement.

Read more about the acquisition on Oliver Russell’s site.

New Hire at DaviesMoore

DaviesMoore in Boise continues to grow, most recently with the addition of Sean Winnett as Digital Marketing Specialist.

Sean is a Boise native, and graduate of Boise State University with a Bachelor’s degree in
Mass Communication & Journalism. Prior to joining DaviesMoore he has worked with other agencies such as Drake Cooper and Tribute Media.

Congratulations Sean.

Rizen Creative expands to the north. And west.

Recently, word got to us that Rizen Creative has expanded, opening an office in Seattle.

And indeed they have, as Katie Meyers has relocated to Seattle, where she’ll be working out of the company’s new satellite office in Seattle. There, she “will focus on new business generation as well as provide strategic insight for current Rizen clients.”

Congratulations to Rizen on the expansion, and to Katie on the move.

Job Opening: Production Assistant

Publicis has an opening for a contract Production Assistant in their Boise office. This is a part-time position, approximately 20 hours per week. From the original job listing:

At Publicis Boise, we embrace resourceful ideas in all that we do, and are seeking someone who embraces the same spirit and approach—someone who loves to uncover new ideas, create new solutions or utilize unconventional thinking to solve problems. We believe that our business is all about being resourceful in helping our clients succeed.

For this contract position, we’re looking for a highly organized, detail-oriented individual to support the agency Production Management in our downtown Boise office (20 hours per week).

Key responsibilities include:

  • Manage and maintain project processes
  • Assist with creating and managing project estimates
  • Coordinate and manage project-specific fulfillment
  • Manage office and machine supplies
  • Maintain project billing specifics

To be considered for this position, submit a cover letter and resume to Krystal Giles at with “Publicis Boise—Production Assistant” in the subject line.

See the full job listing here.

IdahoRadioNews: Big changes in spring 2014 ratings book

Ups and downs.

The world of radio is full of them. But in the recently released Nielsen Audio spring ratings survey of Boise, there is a tremendous amount of change.

Doing an analysis of 25-54 ratings from spring 2013 to spring 2014 shows near chaos. Look at this, ranked on percent change:

+172% KKGL/96.9 The Eagle
+100% KZMG/My 102.7
+81% KQXR/100.3 The X
+75% KJOT/Variety Rocks
+54% KSRV/96.1 Bob FM
+5% KAWO/Wow Country 104.3

-4% KWYD/Wild 101
-14% KCIX/Mix 106
-17% KRVB/94.9 The River
-20% KBOI
-25% KXLT/107.9 Lite FM
-33% KTHI/107.1 K-Hits
-34% KSAS/103.5 Kiss FM
-43% KQFC/97.9 Nash FM
-44% KTIK
-51% KIZN/Kissin 92.3

There are perhaps three storylines that come to light here: rising rock, Cumulus country challenges and My 102.7 FM’s arrival.

Starting with rock: the cohort of stations that primarily plays rock songs saw immense growth — even though KRVB fell off 17%. The rest of the group – KKGL, KQXR, KJOT & KSRV all saw gains with 25-54-year-old adults added 12 total points. Twelve. The Eagle went from the bottom to the top in one year flat (and it was before the boobs and drugs stuff), adding five full points. KKGL has had these odd ‘fluke books’ before where they rise up out of nowhere, then fall back to earth. We’ll see what happens in the fall. Bob FM also had a good book after fixing its format early this year. KJOT, a bit of a BOB-FM wannabe also saw good growth and is now back among the top stations in the market after decades off.

The folks who got Nielsen Audio books this spring were clearly rock fans.

The second storyline is My 102.7. This station was commercial free for months leading up to the ratings period, and saw strong word of mouth. It remains light on personality and spot load, giving it an edge over other stations in its category. The station jumped from not existing (zero) to a 4.7. While the new station still did not top Mix 106 (5.8), it built a strong base, and beat sister station Wild 101 and poppier rival Kiss FM. My 102.7’s 4.7 points were offset by a combined 3.9 point loss across Mix, Wild, Kiss and the River.

Mee-oh-my… Cumulus Media certainly did its best to upset the country apple cart in the market. While I don’t have the morning numbers (if you do, I’m happy to take your emails!), it is clear that KIZN was hurt by the exit of Kevin & Brenda Mee – and KQFC was devastated by the national Nash-FM brand. KQFC dropped from a 3.2 to a 1.8 in the 25-54 demo – a 43% blow. KIZN dropped from a 4.5 to a 2.2 – a 51% drop. Combined, the two stations shed nearly four points.  The two Cumulus country stations used to lead the market. Now, they’re near the bottom.

Wow Country 104.3 did benefit from the Cumulus problems – somewhat. It gained about 6%. New entry KQBL/100.7 The Bull notched a 1.1, soaking up some of the lost Cumulus points. It will be interesting to see if the Mee fanbase moves to the light AC format of KXLT. We’ll know more in the fall.

Summing it up

In the 12+ category, Kiss FM is still on top, followed by Wow Country, The Eagle, Bob FM and KBOI.  KTIK is hurting, but KNFL/ESPN Radio Boise didn’t rate – so we’ll see where this lands as we head to the sports-heavy fall season. The next book will be intriguing – I have a feeling rock will fall back to earth – but where everything else settles remains to be seen.

This chart shows 12+ share among the four major groups (and KKOO).

  • Townsquare (purple) has 30% share. That averages to 5% per station (when KFXD-AM, not rated, is factored in).
  • Cumulus (blue) has 25% of the points. That averages to  4.1% per station (when KTIK-AM , not rated, is factored in)
  • Impact (red) has 21% share. That averages to 4.2% per station (when KNFL-FM, not rated, is factored in)
  • Journal (green) has 20% share. All four stations have a relatively equal 5% rating.

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Don Day is the Digital Sales & Product Manager for KTVB and wrote & edited for five years. He also tweets a lot

KIVI/KNIN owner switch latest in sea of Boise media changes

The media world is rapidly changing, and Boise viewers, readers and listeners are getting a front row seat.

Just ten years ago, the big players in local media were Gannett (Idaho Statesman), Clear Channel (radio cluster), Citadel (radio cluster), Journal Broadcast Group (KIVI and radio cluster), Belo (KTVB) and Fisher (KBCI – now KBOI).

OYSNow, with the announcement that KIVI, KNIN and Journal’s four Boise radio stations will be folded into EW Scripps, we’ve seen a complete rollover of the distant corporate owners for the Boise airwaves and newspaper. (There is one caveat – Gannett exited the market in 2005 when it sold the Statesman to Knight Ridder, and came back with the purchase of KTVB late last year).

The Journal sale (a merger in technicality, but the Scripps family will be in charge) cleaves the company’s newspapers from its television and radio assets. It follows a path first implemented by Belo oddly enough – and sets up the new newspaper group as a debt-free company which gives them room to experiment without cash flow issues. Television stations earn some of the best margins in business and can easily help service legacy debt (in the case of Scripps & Journal, much of that debt is from legacy pension obligations).

Do Boise viewers and listeners really see a difference in quality or presentation? Perhaps. Small things like new graphics for TV newscasts and group contests for radio stations can be a benefit. Overall it can boil down to how much a corporate owner is willing to invest in a market like Boise. KIVI & KNIN will likely benefit from Scripps which is known as one of the better television station operators.

On the radio front, Scripps does not currently own any radio stations, so the company will be even more heavily weighted toward the television space. It’s not hard to see that Scripps will take some inquiry on buying those stations, but what it’s strategy will be – hold or sell – is anyone’s guess.

Don Day is the Digital Sales & Product Manager for KTVB and wrote & edited for five years. He also tweets a lot