IdahoRadioNews: Spring ratings roundup

­More ups and downs in the Boise radio market – but one thing is clear: country ruled the day this spring.

Look – let’s just say something: people writing down what they listened to on the radio (or watched on TV) is a pretty ridiculous way to determine millions of dollars in ad spending in 2016… but it’s all we have.

With that in mind, let’s look at winners and losers in the spring Nielsen book for radio among people 12+.

KBOI-AM topped the ratings with a 6.4.

The first Wild Swing Award goes to KAWO/Wow Country 104.3 which doubled its ratings from last fall – popping from a 2.7 to a 5.8, and the number two spot in the ratings. The station has a new-ish morning show and it seems to be gelling with audiences.

In the number three spot is relative upstart KQBL/101.9 The Bull. The station popped to a 4.9 rating. The ratings snapshot happened before Kevin & Brenda Mee joined the station – which could help increase ratings even further for the station.

After KTHI/107.1 K-Hits in fourth place – comes another country station, KIZN/Kissin 92. Kissin also nearly doubled its rating from a 2.6 to a 4.7 in the spring book.

Just those three country stations account for a combined 15.4 rating. Lots of country lovers got ratings diaries this spring!

Elsewhere: In the pop war, KSAS/103.5 Kiss FM climbed back on top of KWYD/Wild 101. Wild won the fall, Kiss wins the spring with a sold 4.5 rating to Wild’s 4.0.

Among hot adult contemporary stations, KCIX/Mix 106 saw significant falloff from the fall after the exit of popular morning host Kate McGwire. Mix fell from a 5.0 to a 3.8. However, the station still topped competitor KZMG/My 102.7. KXLT/107.9 Lite FM dropped significantly as it usually does in the spring when Christmas music is long gone – from a 5.6 rating to a 4.0.

Something notable happened in the sports race: KTIK/The Ticket got knocked off the throne. The heritage sports station fell to KNFL/ESPN Boise in the ratings for the first time. In fact, KNFL beat both KTIK stations, combined by quite a bit. (1.4 for ESPN Boise versus a total of 1.0 for both KTIK AM & FM). KNFL added BJ Rains & Jay Tust from 9-11am and beefed up its local afternoon show – a formula that appears to be working.

If you look at the ratings by group, Scripps cemented its status as the lowest-rated cluster in the market. The Scripps stations saw slight growth from fall, but came in fourth place behind leader Townsquare, second-place finisher Cumulus, and Impact radio in third. The average rating for a Scripps station is just 3.325 – while the average Townsquare station brings an average of 4.22 points (and Townsquare has more stations).

Don Day is principal at Don Day Digital after a 17-year career in media. 

An abundance of alliteration

Alliteration is nothing new (its first known use is circa 1624), and it can turn a nice phrase, like wild and woolly or babbling brook. But lately, there seems to be an abundance of it. Case in point:

Seen on a billboard: Your Posterior Plumbing Experts

Heard on the radio: Snot Specialists and Test drives for Testes.

Well done or going for a cheap laugh?

IdahoRadioNews: New ‘flow’ for The River


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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.

IdahoRadioNews: It’s Christmas! …already?

Two Boise stations have flipped to the Christmas format for 2012. KXLT/107.9 Lite FM has flipped to its traditional menu of holiday standards as of November 10th.

But the surprise entrant in the space for this year is KJOT/Variety Rock 105.1. The station, which has been home to rock music for about 30 years, is instead playing Christmas music.  Owner Journal Broadcast Group has been playing musical chairs with its three rock stations (KQXR/100.3 The X and KRVB/94.9 The River being the others) for quite some time, and it seems KJOT is the odd one out.  The station has not seen success in quite some time, despite transitioning from heritage rocker J-105 to the current skew a few years ago.

I would say it is likely that Variety Rock has played its last rock hit. Something new in the new year? Already hearing rumors on what that format could be… time will tell.

Related: Journal hired Susan Groves to replace Dan McColly as operations manager for its Boise stations and as program director of KRVB. The news was announced on October 2nd – and on November 18th, she had been “let go.”

Standard disclosure: Don Day wrote the IdahoRadioNews.com blog for more than six years and currently manages digital sales & products for KTVB.