Radio news & notes

A few Idaho radio news & notes:

Make a greater Impact

K269GI_FX_CUKWYD/Wild 101 just added a second frequency: 101.5 FM. The station launched in 2008 at 101.1 FM — and will remain there, but the new 101.5 signal will drastically improve signal coverage in the downtown Boise core, Boise State, and the Barber Valley. The 101.1 FM signal broadcasts from a site near Parma and has great coverage in Canyon County. This new transmitter sits near the cross on Table Rock and will help the station in town.

“When we launched KWYD as a brand new station on 10/31/08 we knew we had a great rimshot,” Impact Radio Group CEO Darrell Calton told me. “But with every rimshot comes the downside: Where is there a signal issue? In our case the station was eighty, maybe eighty five percent of a full Deer Point (based transmitter). The downside? Downtown and BSU.”

Calton says there are more changes to come as the group continues to grow – now with four strong signals. The market’s first HD commercial station is up next.

More events in the TownSquare

TownSquare Media continues to amp up its events business. The Boise Music Festival just wrapped up its sixth year – and the company tweaked the model for the event. Instead of relying mostly on attendance through ticket giveaways, the radio group pushed ticket sales this year and cut back on the number of free tickets floating around. Attendance remained strong – albeit likely off the nearly 80,000 folks who attended last year (108º temps will do that).

In addition to BMF, Idaho’s Largest Garage Sale and new event Insane Inflatable 5K – the group is putting on The Huckleberry Jam at Tamarack Resort in August. The two-day festival features Ben Harper, Brett Dennen and other artists – plus a camp site and more.

Randy & Alana leave Boise

TownSquare parted ways with KAWO/Wow Country 104.3 morning duo Randy & Alana last week. The pair left the station after several years – and were hugely popular in the market, taking top honors for country stations and providing the engine that Wow Country 104.3 zoomed along on the past few years. The decision was largely Rand & Alana’s and they’re looking for their next gig – and TSQM is looking for its next country morning show.

Don Day is the Digital Sales & Product Manger for TEGNA Media in Boise (aka channel 7).

Done deal: KIVI, KNIN go to separate camps

KIVI and KNINThe Boise DMA has new television station owners – snapping up a pair of stations that used to be joined at the hip.

On April 1, EW Scripps formally closed on its deal to acquire Journal Communications’ broadcast assets, including KIVI-TV, KSAW-TV (Twin Falls), KTHI/107.1 K-Hits, KQXR/100.3 The X, KJOT/Rock 105.1 and KRVB/94.9 The River.

Not included in the deal was KNIN-TV Fox 9. You’ll remember in September, we walked through all the possible scenarios – as the FCC wasn’t going to allow Scripps to scoop up KNIN. I laid out five potential options – and the deal took door number four:

– Scripps keeps KIVI, sells KNIN with all programming intact to an outside owner and has little involvement in the station . (snip) (I)t’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).

Alabama-based Raycom Media worked out a deal with the trustee for KNIN to buy the station, effective essentially immediately. Channel 6 and channel 9 will become separate stations with less and less to do with each other as time goes on. A lengthy and carefully-structured shared services agreement filed with the FCC lays out the ten-year deal – and even gets into detail like what portion of the big KIVI building in Nampa Raycom may use. Some of the particulars:

  • Raycom paid $14.5 MM. Journal purchased the station for $8 MM in 2008, before it was a Fox affiliate.
  • The stations will not share sales, programming, revenue or any other financial matters. KIVI and KNIN’s sales staff will be separate, will not be allowed to coordinate, will not be allowed to cross-sell and cannot go on calls together.
  • The two stations will not be able to work together on retransmission consent deals.
  • Scripps will deliver just less than 12-hours of news programming to Raycom each week for airing on KNIN: Two hours per day each weekday, and a total of two hours each weekend. The timeslots are the current 7am and 9pm newscasts.
  • KIVI & KNIN will have to handle promotion independently. You’ve possibly already noticed that promotions on the two stations for the most part no longer mention each other (though for now they look identical).
  • Scripps will handle technical & administrative services – i.e. master control.
  • The deal is for ten years – but can be pulled apart with notice by either side.
  • Raycom will hand over a check for $131,708.33 every month to Scripps for the news programming, technical services etc. That’s a cool $1,580,500 each year – with a 2.5% bump built in each year.
  • Raycom will establish a website for KNIN. Currently “” services both stations.
  • Right now, neither KNIN or KIVI are high definition in news. If Scripps decides to go HD someday, Raycom will give them some cash to get the upgrades done.

Bottom line: KNIN & KIVI will start to act separately in many ways – particularly in the sales area. Raycom is a big television station owner – and is competitive in many markets. Will this SSA last for ten full years, or will Raycom move to make the station even more independent? Time will tell.

Two quick sidenotes: In the past two years, every major station in the market has picked up a new owner – with Sinclair, Gannett/TEGNA, Scripps and Raycom entering the fray. Only independent KTRV’s Block Communications is unchanged.

In the Twin Falls market, a similar change is afoot – after Gray Television purchased CBS affiliate KMVT and FOX affiliate KSVT.

Don Day is the digital sales manager for channel 7, and used to run Now he tweets a lot.

IdahoRadioNews: New Year Notebook

Haven’t checked in with any Idaho Radio News notes in a while – since nothing truly earth-shattering has happened in a bit, but there are a variety of notes of interest. (Or maybe I just felt I needed to create some content since I ran into Brian a bunch in Phoenix at the Fiesta Bowl and felt guilty for not blogging in months. You decide.)

  • Ken Bass via his Facebook page
    Courtesy Ken Bass via Facebook

    New sea for Bass: Another Boise radio-dial fixture, Ken Bass, is making a trade. Bass will no longer work the wakeup shift on Journal’s KRVB/94.9 The River. Instead he will work afternoons at the station. Like Doss, Bass is one of the good guys – having done mornings just about everywhere, from KBOI to KXLT/Lite FM, and perhaps most famously at KCIX/K-106 when that station was in its glory years. On Facebook, Bass notes he spent just about 29 years on the morning shift. “It’ll be a new year, a new day, and I know it’ll be good for me and the family!” KRVB program director Tim Johnstone swaps back to mornings to pair with Misty Taylor.

  • Courtesy

    Doss reboots: Longtime Boise-radio fixture Larry Doss is plotting his life post-radio. The KBOI newser had his last day on the air on New Year’s Eve. Doss has bounced around the radio dial – before his latest stint for KBOI he did news hits for the Journal stations… just the last two stops in a long career. No replacement for Doss has yet been announced, and there is not job posting that I see just yet.

  • Bull charges up the dial: KQBL/100.7 The Bull  is trading its 1007kqbltower near Mountain Home for one on Deer Point. 100.7 FM is being traded to JLD Media (more on that shortly), while The Bull will move to 101.9 FM.  100.7 covers both the Twin and Boise markets – but soon The Bull will be a Boise-market-only product, and will give Impact Radio three full-power stations on Deer Point (KZMG/My 102.7, KSRV/96.1 Bob FM and now KQBL/101.9 The Bull), in addition to a pair of stations that aren’t full-power sticks on “the hill” but have decent coverage around town (KWYD/Wild 101 and KNFL/96.5 & 730 ESPN Radio).
  • Just Leftover Dial-spots: JLD Media is picking up the 100.7 frequency from Impact and trading the 101.9 dial position (which it just purchased this fall). JLD will own several frequencies without perfect coverage in the market – all of which are likely to run Spanish-language programming, and forms a mini-cluster of sorts. JLD, owned by Kevin Terry, has been involved in several transactions with Impact in recent years – including the one that brought My 102.7 to the market.
  • Courtesy

    Tracy Takes On… Management: KTHI morning man Tracy Mitchell will also be moving out of his morning show chair for a gig in management in the Journal cluster. Mitchell has teamed with Margo Vaughn for years – first at KLTB/Kool Oldies 104.3, then at KTHI/107.1 K-Hits. Journal is looking for his replacement. Idaho Radio News Junkies honcho Jim Smith notes that Mitchell’s job change is a promotion.

  • KJOT Rock 105.1Variety no longer the spice: KJOT/Rock 105.1 sliced the “Variety” out of its title and revamped its logo in early October. The station hasn’t changed a ton outside of that: still no regular DJs, similar playlist, etc. The station announced the tweak thusly:  “Several years ago, 105.1 FM in Boise was known as “J-105”. It then morphed into what was known as “Variety Rock”. Today we turn another page in the history of 105.1FM in Boise. It has now become “Rock 1051…Always The Best Rock”. Enjoy!”
  • Rewriting the Scripps: The FCC gave its OK to the Journal/Scripps merger/trade/switch-o-change-o-rearrange-o. The big missing piece of this whole deal is what Journal will do with either KIVI or KNIN. They’ve been keeping mum on this, and no other outlet has done an ounce of reporting on it. I remain convinced that a particular one of the scenarios I laid out last summer here will come true… but we won’t know until we know. As you’ll notice here, each of the four Journal stations is going through some sort of visible change — after a spring book with middling ratings, it will be interesting to see how they fare in the fall – and heading into this spring with tweaked lineups and new owners. Fall ratings due out later this month.

Don Day is the digital sales manager for KTVB, and used to run Now he tweets a lot.

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 WDBI-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.



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.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 12.37.33 PM


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