And when it comes to the Kansas City’s highly competitive radio market, it’s dog-eat-dog, cat-eat-mouse, King Kong versus Godzilla. Formats come and formats go while a dozen or so stalwarts more-or-less dominate the top slots in Nielsen’s monthly rankings of stations by listenership.
And into that competitive fray as the year began – checkbook in hand – rode the smooth talkers at KCPT-TV with their brand new bonus baby, Triple A station The Bridge (KTBG at 90.9 on the FM dial).
Given all the favorable publicity accorded the station, expectations were high.
Very high, in fact. Unfortunately, KTBG’s ratings have been low, very low.
You know, who doesn’t want something a little out of the ordinary and hip to succeed in Kansas City?
Yet nearly half a year after plowing a seven figures into purchasing KTBG from the University of Central Missouri, then investing another half-million plus to improve the station’s signal, the station continues to struggle mightily in the ratings.
For example, The Bridge doesn’t even show up on Nielsen’s 12-plus ratings chart of Kansas City radio listeners. Not so much as a mention.
Hopes were particularly high for The Bridge among area concert promoters eager to have a new soundstage from which to morph edgy, eclectic listeners into concertgoers. And at ad rates far below that of local commercial radio stations. For example, for between $250 and $500, promoters can get a pretty nice little concert promotion package from the station.
That’s super cheap – try seeing how far $500 goes on a commercial rock station.
But back to the ratings, just last month a local media buyer for a number of local promoters sent out an analysis of local radio ratings stating the following:
“KTBG is not showing up because i think it takes one more month to spool up the numbers.”
Consider them spooled.
However, taking an inside peek at Nielsen’s important Adults ages 25 to 54 ratings, Monday thru Friday, 6 a.m. to midnight, reveals that KTBG is still all but pushing up daisies with a 0.2 share, ranked 34.
Zero point two, gang, that’s not even a lowly one share.
Even Entercom’s KYYS-AM “Spanish Variety” format station easily eclipses KTBG with eight times the listening audience on the lowly AM radio band. In fact, KTBG’s numbers are only slightly better than perennial bottom dweller KKFI FM .
Stations all over the country with more than 10 times KTBG’s listeners get blown up and given new formats all the time. Remember Alice?
For years Alice championed the Triple A format here in KC with marginal success. That is before switching to an adult contemporary format in February, which has sparked a steady, three month upward climb in the ratings.
A check of the younger – also important demo – adults 18-49, Monday thru Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. reveals that the Bridge has yet to attain liftoff with younger listeners as well.
Obviously not-for-profit stations have the ability to put the touch on loyal listeners like Paul Wilson for “donations,” rather than just hustling radio ads like the Big Boys do.
When it’s all said and done, you have to have enough warm bodies tuning in to keep things real.
And if you don’t believe me, take a look at KKFI FM if you want to see a station that has struggled mightily over the years, desperately trying to survive on grants and charitable contributions while posting piss poor ratings. Unfortunatley at this point, KKFI and The Bridge’s ratings are embarrassingly (dangerously?) close.
As for KTBG’s anticipated ratings rise (that have yet to “spool up”), at this stage of the game, it seems evident that relying on word of mouth while promoting the station on Senior Citizen TV (Channel 19) just are not getting the job done.
The $64 million question:
Is KTBG’s adult alternative rock format just plain not Kansas City’s cup of tea? Or is it a matter of the station getting off its you-know-what and promoting itself with an outlay of cash.