What do AM stations have to lose but go back to music formats?

10/08/16 // Richard Wagoner/Los Angeles Daily News — As a longtime cheerleader of AM radio, much as I hate to say it, AM is dead. It’s not even on life support here in Los Angeles any more, it’s dead. In the most recent monthly ratings released in mid-September by Nielsen, only nine AM stations made the list out of 41 stations total, accounting for 10.1 percent of the listening audience. The highest-rated AM station, KNX (1070 AM), earned a 2.9 percent share of the audience aged 6 and over; KNX and KFI (640 AM) account for over half of the listenership of the entire AM band with a total of 5.5. By comparison, the top-two FM stations, KOST (103.5 FM) and KIIS-FM (102.7) earned a combined 10.5 share, meaning that two FM stations beat out the entire AM band’s ratings. That’s sad. Obviously current programming is not attracting an audience. Not young, not old. Not at all. Reliance on political talk, infomercials and sports just doesn’t cut it when it comes to attracting listeners. For AM to become relevant — suggesting it should “stay” relevant would mean it “is” relevant, and it most certainly is not — it needs to reinvent itself once more. Or perhaps, more accurately, look to formats that would attract an audience if they were offered. READ MORE

3 comments

  • toddmitchell

    Didn’t KVI just try that route?

  • pugetsound

    KVI had an Oldies format for about 1 year. It sounded great.

  • mikec

    I agree that KVI’s one-year return to oldies was great to listen to. However, it’s not surprising that it failed to improve ratings: zip-all was spent promoting KVI as an oldies station. Had they spent some more $$$$ as with KVI’s original successful run as an oldies outlet under Dick Curtis, they might have made some small gains over a talk format. As a hardcore night-time AM “DXer” I get weary of the proliferation of hatred & vitriol that defines much of talk radio, the bonehead jock banter on sports stations. I long for the days when there were many, many choices of music genres to listen to at night. Now, there’s about a dozen stations audible at night with music formats & I sometimes gravitate to these to take a break from twisting the dials or the syndicated talk hosts. One of the best oldies outlets left in our region is KITI 1420 Centralia-Chehalis that puts a decent signal into most of Oregon/Wash./BC on even a modest portable or vehicle radio

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