IdahoRadioNews: My my, changes are afoot

A number of changes are rolling across the radio dials of Boise and Twin Falls. Stations are changing hands, flipping formats, and getting new competitors.

On October 31st, KSAS/103.3 Kiss FM moved up the dial to 103.5 FM. This was the first, and for the Boise market at least, most visible part of a plan that’s been in the works since 2006.

myShortly after KSAS moved, a brand new station joined the radio dial at 102.7 FM. The station moved in from Elko, NV – getting a prized transmitter on Deer Point with full coverage of the Boise market. It took on the call letters KZMG (the long-time heritage call letters of Magic 93.1, which date back to April of 1990; the new station has no direct relation to Magic).

KZMG signed on playing non-stop music under the name My 102.7 FM — taking aim at KCIX/Mix 106 and to some degree KXLT/107.9 Lite FM.  News came late last week that FM Idaho/Impact Radio would purchase the station from its current owner, giving Impact a new, full-market signal. The station should complement sister KWYD/Wild 101 with female demographics and sales efforts, in much the same way Town Square Media’s (formerly Peak Broadcasting) Kiss FM & Mix 106 do.

With recent shifts at KRVB/94.9 The River, the number of stations playing some version of pop or adult contemporary hits stands at six – KWYD/Wild 101, KSAS/103.5 Kiss FM, KCIX/Mix 106, KZMG/My 102.7, KRVB/94.9 The River and KXLT/107.9 Lite FM. You can visualize the way the stations lay out with this handy little chart:


La PerronaThe next piece of the puzzle is the purchase of KINF-FM from Impact Radio by Lee Family Broadcasting of Twin Falls. KINF currently serves both the Boise and Twin Falls markets, but soon will shift entirely toward the Magic Valley. Lee Family announced it would buy KINF and flip the format from talk to  Regional Mexican under the name La Perrona 99.1 FM with call letters KPNA.

It’s my understanding a few more things will change up affecting some stations not listed here in coming weeks. We’ll provide an update on that soon.

Update: If it wasn’t clear which station Impact was targeting, this Facebook post makes it so:

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Don Day is the Digital Sales & Product Manager for KTVB, and wrote and edited for more than six years.

IdahoRadioNews: New ‘flow’ for The River

KRVB/Idaho’s 94.9 The River has been part of the Boise airwaves for just more than 13 years. It launched by evolving KFXJ/KF-95 in May of 2000. For quite some time, the station was thematically similar to its predecesor – and in its station imaging promoted that it played “world class rock” and sub-genres like blues, folk and reggae. Over the decade the station evolved – but in recent months has seen a fairly agressive format tweak.

Former KRVB logo
Former KRVB logo

Obvious changes like a new logo and tagline (“music first”) are accompanied by more subtle updates like the station’s playlist. But that playlist is really the soul of any station, and The River is flowing a bit faster these days.

A casual radio listener remarked to me that The River sounds a lot more like Mix 106 these days – and it doesn’t take long to hear the similarities. In the past week, The River played the latest track by Pink almost 40 times – a song that is at home on pop stations as much as on formats like the River.

In an interview with trade publication All Access, newly promoted program director Tim Johnstone acknowledged both the changes and the similarity to Mix – though Johnstone notes the similarities are as much drive by Mix’s deviation into his territory as anything.

tim-johnstone-2013-06-24“KCIX has been taking advantage of the groundwork we’ve laid for artists like The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters & Men and many of the singer/songwriters who have launched from this format,” he said. “In terms of overlap, it definitely ebbs and flows. Were in a heavy flow period currently.”

The River is one of those stations that has a unique place in the market. It might be cliche to say it is popular among North Enders – but there is possible some kernel of truth. One local agency rep once told me that it isn’t a coincidence that Subaru dealers find a good fit for their ads on The River.  The station clearly drives results from many advertisers – but it has long struggled in a key area: the ratings. Numbers have bounced in the 3.0 range (12+) for the last three books – at the bottom of the pile among the FM, English-language music stations.

While no official word is available on the station’s website or social media, it appears former Miss Idaho Misty Taylor has been added to mornings alongside Boise radio stalwart Ken Bass – with Tim Johnstone segueing to a live afternoon shift. Taylor actually appeared on the Boise morning radio waves once before – about a decade ago on KSAS/103.3 Kiss FM. They tease the change here – but it’s not clear if it’s permanent.

There is a vast land of opportunity for The River. KCIX was the number three station in the book on the broad ratings measure – and was exceedingly strong with women. If KRVB can chip a few listeners away – increased ad dollars should follow.