Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Country radio grapples with shifting demographics
By Ken Tucker
Saturday, January 27, 2007; 6:17 AM
NASHVILLE (Billboard) - When Los Angeles country music station KZLA changed format last August, alarms sounded in the country music radio and record communities.
The nation's No. 2 market joined New York, which has lacked a country station since 2002, and San Francisco, which bowed out of the country game in early 2005, as the third among the top five markets with no FM country outlet. (Two Los Angeles-area AM stations recently switched to country.)
Among the reasons for the KZLA switch: It's increasingly difficult to succeed with country radio in a market where Caucasians carry less and less sway. A 2006 Arbitron report estimated that only 5.4% of country radio's nationwide audience is Hispanic and 2.3% is black, while 92.3% of country listeners fall into Arbitron's "other" category (which includes Caucasians and Pacific Islanders). But in recent years, U.S. Census figures show, the Hispanic portion of Los Angeles County's population (which grew to 44.6% in 2000 from 37.8% in 1990) has passed up the county's non-Hispanic white population (which slipped to 31.1% of the total in 2000 from 40.8% in 1990).
At the annual Country Radio Seminar, to be held February 28-March 2 in Nashville, Edison Media Research and industry trade group Country Radio Broadcasters will present results of a collaborative study of the relationship of Hispanics with country radio and music. And meanwhile, with demographics shifting across the United States, country radio will have to adapt if it hopes to maintain its role as radio's top format. (As of December 2006 there were 2,047 country stations in the United States, according to M Street Journal. News/talk was second with 2,007 stations.)
While most country stations continue to focus on their declining core, at least one has been more aggressive when it comes to attracting Hispanic and African-American listeners. Since the former comprise 46% of the 12-plus demographic and the latter another 20%, Miami might appear to be a bad place for a country station. But WKIS (Kiss Country) has aired the format for more than 25 years.
Historically, Arbitron has tended to rank the station No. 1 or No. 2 in the market among non-black/non-Hispanic 25- to 54-year-olds, according to program director Bob Barnett. But the market's ethnic composition, Barnett says, weighs heavily on decisions made at WKIS. "With zero exaggeration, it's a factor that impacts everything we do in programming, promotions, marketing and sales," he says.
A dwindling white audience makes attracting new listeners a necessity. "With the ongoing white exodus from South Florida--a near 20% decline in whites since the 2000 census was implemented--the challenge before us is to replace relocating white listeners with Hispanic/Latin listeners," Barnett says.
It's not easy to do. "There appears to be a very vocal bias (and/or) prejudice that exists in South Florida among whites who feel that the Hispanics have 'pushed' their culture and language on everyone else," Barnett explains. That bias makes it difficult to reach Hispanics using the WKIS airwaves, he says. "For example, we can't even do bilingual IDs without significant listener backlash."
The station's marketing efforts are "stealth or street-level, so as not to anger the loyal core users," Barnett says.
He is also reaching out to the Hispanic audience through music. "We're attempting to make the music mix more Hispanic-friendly without disenfranchising the core," he says. "It becomes a very delicate balancing act.
"The Hispanic listeners have little to no history in the format, so older songs aren't as popular with Hispanics," he explains. Likewise, he says, traditional-sounding country is less popular with Hispanic listeners than the pop leanings of Shania Twain and Faith Hill.
The good news, according to Barnett, is that Cuban-Americans and many South American Latins who have relocated to South Florida have a profile similar to country listeners. "They're very family-oriented, hardworking, spiritual and patriotic. The themes in country music aren't foreign to them.
"Now that we're getting into the second and third generations of Latins, it appears that the assimilation into American culture is slowly taking place -- as is their interest level in country music."
And what of Nashville's historically lily-white record labels? Might they add non-white artists to diversify their rosters? "That just isn't the way it works," Warner Bros. Nashville chief Bill Bennett says. "If you find someone with real quality music, you don't care what ethnic background they're from."
Bennett adds, "We have Cowboy Troy and Rick Trevino, but not because they're ethnic. We have them because they make great songs."
Barnett, not surprisingly, sees things differently. "I think the degree of difficulty in marketing a black or Hispanic or Latin artist to country radio may initially be too unfamiliar and too overwhelming for most on Music Row," he says. "The labels are more likely to choose the path of least resistance, but there may be an opportunity for a renegade independent label to take that risk. The potential payoff could be huge, but obviously not without great challenge."
Posted at 01:27 am by CarrieNEWS
Saturday, November 11, 2006
REMEMBERING THE LAST OF A DYING BREED AS VINCE REUNITES THE LAST AND THE BEST OF THE PERSONALITIES THAT TOLD YOU ALL ABOUT THESE ARTISTS, AND WHO SHARED PART OF YOUR DAY IN LOS ANGELES. LISTEN AND CALL IN THIS SATURDAY FOR A K.Z.L.A. REUNION PARTY! PLUS MUSIC FROM THE 2006 WINNERS OF THE COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION AWARDS. FOR MORE INFORMATION - CLICK BELOW:
On Saturday's show... My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
is episode # 88 beginning at approx 10:06am (PST) right after Melissa Chavez
brings you local news headlines and then joins Vince today to co-host along with Tom Anthony
. Tom is a former country music air personality for a former country music station in Orange County, KIK-FM, where he spent about a dozen years in the most enjoyable job he ever had. As you'll hear today, that's a feeling shared by any radio person who has been allowed to play this genre of music. "The people who listen to these stations always without exception love the music, and they also love the people who play it. We become an important part of their lives" according to Anthony, who was a Many Moods guest some 11 weeks ago. At that time, longtime Los Angeles country station, K.Z.L.A. 93.9FM had just did a format flip, leaving all the familiar voices of the station without an outlet. Some of them appeared with Daniels by phone to say goodbye to their listeners. Almost 3 months later, those same listeners continue to wonder if they'll ever hear their heroes again. On this show, they'll not only get to hear, but see them, thanks to KCAA-TV. Scheduled to appear are Ashley Paige
, Peter Tilden
, Shawn Parr
, Whitney Allen
, Brian Douglas
, and Paul Freeman
. Those that did not appear previously (Paige, Tilden and Freeman) will finally have their chance to say goodbye. But is it goodbye? With rumors abounding of a new FM Country station looming in L.A., we'll see how close that is to becoming a reality. This 90 minute "reunion party" will begin at around 11:30am and will continue to the end of the show. Your calls are encouraged and welcomed at (909) 888 - 5222. Behind those familiar voices are lesser known voices trying to keep this medium alive. In the 11 o'clock hour you'll meet two of them. Karen Oliver
frequently posts on a site called Countryboards.com
and heads a campaign that uses up most of her valuable time as she champions the fight to "Save Country Music." She'll be joined by Rich Gordon
, who owns his own website dedicated to CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Carrie Underwood. The site is CarrieNEWS.com
and her talent will be spotlighted along with the likes of Vocal Group of the Year, Rascal Flatts; Entertainer of the Year, Kenny Chesney; Male Vocalist of the Year, Keith Urban; Album of the Year "Time Well Wasted" by Brad Paisley and Single (and Song) of the Year, "Believe" by Brooks and Dunn. While the focus this time will not be on the older classic country and bluegrass, Vinnie is nevertheless making good on a promise to his boss to play the slower version of "San Antonio Rose" by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Former California Congressman, Robert K. ("B-1 Bob") Dornan
, the longest serving member of the 47th district, will be along in the first hour to analyze this past Tuesday's mid-term election results. Please repost and tell a friend. Listen to KCAA or you can stream online here
Posted at 06:42 am by CarrieNEWS
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
540 AM is going country
Mainstream country music starts Oct. 28
Special to the Register
Radio station KKGO – 540 and 1260 AM – announced today it will replace the adult standards format on 540 AM with mainstream country music starting Oct. 28.
Saul Levine, president of Mt. Wilson Broadcasters and owner of KKGO and sister classical station KMZT/105.1 FM, said, "Los Angeles and Orange County listeners were pretty upset with the loss of country music on KZLA." That station – 93.9 FM – switched to a new format called rhythm pop contemporary and added Rick Dees to morning drive a few weeks ago.
"We received a lot of letters and e-mails saying, basically, you are the last independent radio owner in the market. Please help us," Levine said.
Whitney Allen, Paul Freeman, Brian Douglas, and Tonya Compos, who were on KZLA, will be on 540 AM. There will also be a new website, Levine said, called www.540country.com that will stream the format 24/7.
Adult standards remain on 1260 AM, Levine said. "We selected 540 AM in large part because it has a better reach into Orange County, which seems to be the center of country music listening."
Levine said he is working closely with the syndicator Dial Global, which will consult on the music programming. The emphasis will be on music from the '70s, '80s, '90s, and current hits.
Source: OC Register.com
Posted at 10:23 am by CarrieNEWS
Friday, September 08, 2006
Without KZLA, the L.A. radio "dial" is devoid of anything that grabs my attention on a consistent basis. As I've mentioned before, I started listening to country music and country radio just last year. Admittedly, at first it was only to listen for tunes by my favorite artist, Carrie Underwood. But, something happened. I started to like more and more and more. Before I knew it, I had KZLA on from dawn til dusk and even into the wee hours with Blair Garner. It was the soundtrack, the background music, in my home for over 12-16 hours a day.
Today I had my little portable headset while I was out and about running errands. Sometimes I'll stumble upon KMVN and, without realizing it, I'll think "hey, that's pretty funky stuff." But, that's not too often. Overall, there is a huge hole in this radio market. KZLA was certainly more significant than being 1/80th of the stations out there. This morning, I was so desperate to find anything listenable on the radio that I actually switched back to AM Talkradio, a genre that I had listened to consistently for a number of years before country music grabbed my attention and rejuvenated my love of other genres, too.
KZLA is sorely missed, but with our efforts, and the efforts of others, I'm confident country radio will be back in L.A. Our petition is gaining momentum, too. We have almost 2000 signatures! Ken's words are certainly inspiring and we're on the right track. Keep the faith, everyone!
Posted at 10:45 am by CarrieNEWS
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Can Rick Dees work radio magic again?
|This looks like a job for -- no, not Superman. He is, after all, nothing more than the alter ego for a mild mannered print reporter. This task would seem to require a brash broadcasting super hero. Someone like Rick Dees.
Actually, it IS Rick Dees, stepping into that morning drive time slot at 93.9 AM, the dial position KZLA has occupied for the last 25 years. And it is still there. Only now parent company Emmis Communications is calling the station Movin' 93.9 with rhythmic contemporary music replacing the country format.
Under other circumstances that might be considered a logical move, one backed by recent Arbitron ratings surveys. They reveal, for example, that Los Angeles listeners appeared to have been tuning to everything but KZLA. And Inland country music fans seem to have ignored that Burbank-based outlet entirely, turning instead to KFRG-FM (95.1), Colton, so ardently it has consistently remained among the top three stations in the western San Bernardino/Riverside market.
But does this mean there is only room for just a few country specialists on the radio bands? The reaction to the KZLA change seems to challenge that thinking, suggesting there were more followers out there than many might have suspected. And they are not at all happy about what has happened, issuing protests that have been taking the forms of letters, advertisements and computer messages.
The question now, though, is how many listeners will be moving to movin'? Especially since it has jumped into a crowded field dominated by some notably powerful rivals?
And that's where Rick Dees comes in. The one-time glamour boy of KIIS-FM (102.7) certainly brings a name, recognition and reputation to his new station. And there was a time -- 20 years of it -- when he definitely ruled Southern California's morning airwaves, giving his employers a loyal audience that remained close to their programming all day, an audience that has yet to accept Ryan Seacrest as his successor.
But the best of those days were set in the '80s and current Dees biographies reveal he is now in a 50-something category. So, can he continue to draw the 18-49 demographic that will make up the majority of his new station's listeners?
There is still a hunt for answers to those questions. Still, if there is anyone capable of handling that task it could be the personable Dees who can be as appealing off the air as he is on, a talent who was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Meanwhile, it may be worth noting that Dees has come full cycle by moving into a former country station that has gone pop. One of his first Southern California radio gigs was a morning show at the old KHJ, a Top-40 Los Angeles station. He left when it changed format -- to country music.
KCRW-FM (89.9) will turn to its Web site's all music stream Monday. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., it will broadcast programming normally heard only on KCRWMusic.com.
Other station highlights during the week will include Persephone's Bees performing on "Morning Becomes Eclectic" at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Hugh Whitemore's "Pack of Lies" is "The Play's the Thing" production scheduled for 10 p.m. Saturday on KPCC-FM (89.3). Set during the Cold War, it deals with a family recruited by the British intelligence agency to keep watch on neighbors and personal friends.
Julian Sands, David Selby, Rosalind Ayres and Martin Jarvis have the principal roles.
"Chuck Cecil's Swingin' Years" looks back to 1946 for its "Vintage Year" segment Saturday. It comes up at 6:30 a.m. during the 6-9 a.m. broadcast on KUOR-FM (89.1) and KKJZ-FM (88.1).
Selections and artists will include "I Can't Begin to Tell You," Bing Crosby; "Oh, What It Seemed to Be," Frankie Carle; "To Each His Own," Eddie Howard; "Five Minutes More," Frank Sinatra and "The Old Lamplighter," Sammy Kaye.
Source: San Bernardino Sun
Posted at 12:30 am by CarrieNEWS
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Show's back here, but CMA still savors Big Apple
Show's back here, but CMA still savors Big Apple
Nominations will be announced this morning
By PETER COOPER
Published: Wednesday, 08/30/06
NEW YORK CITY — Country Music Association chief Tammy Genovese sat in a Times Square restaurant Tuesday morning, drinking coffee and poring over papers.
"I've got an interview with the Wall Street Journal later," she said. "I've never done that before."
Though the CMA Music Awards are returning to Nashville in November after a single-year sojourn to Madison Square Garden, Genovese and her organization are extending their newfound ties with the Big Apple.
Today, several categories of CMA Award nominations will be announced on ABC's "Good Morning America," from the program's Manhattan studio. After 34 years on CBS, the CMA is switching to ABC for the live airing of its Nov. 6 show.
The CMA Songwriter Series at Joe's Pub also has kept country artists and writers in front of New York audiences: Tuesday night's edition of that series featured Jon Randall, Lori McKenna, Jamie O'Neal and Jo Dee Messina.
Despite — or maybe because of — the fact that New York still doesn't have a major FM radio station devoted to the country format, the CMA continues to develop East Coast media contacts that were sparked by last year's show.
And country artists are doing well in the market. The Faith Hill/Tim McGraw tour and Kenny Chesney have performed sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, and floor seats for Rascal Flatts' Oct. 14 show at the Garden are being offered for as much as $2,500 each from city ticket brokers. The CMA's challenge is to see to it that fans of those acts get the word about the 40th anniversary edition of the CMA Awards, even if there's no radio station around to trumpet the message.
"We're going to beef up our marketing and advertising in New York and in Los Angeles because we don't have the normal outlet of communicating to country fans, which is radio," Genovese said.
L.A. country station KZLA recently switched formats, meaning that three of the nation's prime markets — New York, L.A. and San Francisco — have no major country station.
"We hate that," Genovese said. "It's devastating to our format. L.A. and New York are top sales markets for our music, and it's astonishing that corporations would make the decision not to feature this music."
Fans won't need the radio this morning to find out what artists are nominated for the CMA Awards. Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland and Brad Paisley will announce the entertainer, album and male and female vocalist categories during the 8:30 a.m. segment of "Good Morning America." After that segment's airing, Jason Aldean and Little Big Town will announce the remainder of the categories from a press conference at the Gaylord Entertainment Center; that will air at 9 a.m. on cable channel CMT.
Posted at 04:25 pm by CarrieNEWS
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Country Radio Gets the Blues
Is media consolidation good or bad for L.A.'s stranded legions of country music fans?
August 27, 2006
IT'S PROBABLY ONLY A MATTER OF TIME before someone writes a song about it. KZLA-FM, based in Burbank, abruptly changed formats this month. It now plays something called "rhythmic pop," and the city that was once home to Gene Autry no longer has a country music station.
The format change, as in other big cities that no longer have country stations, stems in large part from changing demographics. A top executive at Emmis Communications, which owns KZLA, told The Times that 60% of the local audience is Latino, Asian or African American, while "country fans are about 98% Caucasian." The top slots in Arbitron's local radio rankings have been dominated in recent years by stations offering Spanish programming, hip-hop, R&B and pop hits, while KZLA's ratings have been mired just outside the Top 20.
The other significant change in the last decade was the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which triggered a wave of consolidation in the radio business. Instead of a local limit of two stations (one AM, one FM) and a national limit of 40, the law allowed companies to control up to eight stations in the largest local markets and an unlimited number nationally. Opponents of deregulation blame it for many of radio's ills, including narrower playlists and less diversity. But advocates — particularly Clear Channel Communications, which skyrocketed from 40 stations to about 1,200 — say the more stations a company owns in a market, the more formats it will offer.
There's logic to that argument. If a company has only a few stations, it is likely to target the biggest demographic groups in a market. The more stations, the more incentive to expand its reach by going after smaller niches. In reality, though, many groups offer multiple variations on one or two formats, hoping to capture as much of the biggest audience segments as possible. KZLA's switch brings its format closer to that of Emmis' other station in Los Angeles, KPWR-FM, which is an urban-hits outlet. Similarly, Clear Channel's five stations in and around Los Angeles all offer hit songs from a narrow range of genres.
Southern California's country music audience is nothing to sneeze at — more country CDs are sold in Los Angeles than in any other city. Granted, country doesn't dominate the Billboard Top 200, but neither is it a niche genre. So you'd think that some local radio broadcaster would leap at the chance to fill the void left by KZLA. Otherwise, the field will be conceded to competitors in neighboring counties and on satellite, putting more distance in the public's mind between "local" and "radio."
Posted at 11:28 am by CarrieNEWS
Sunday, August 27, 2006
KFRG is not giving up on country
KFRG is not giving up on country
So, is country still cool?
Absolutely. Just not in the Los Angeles radio market where KZLA-FM (93.9), that area's last holdout for the likes of Tim McGraw and Willie Nelson, ended its 26-year association with the format in rather fitting fashion on Aug. 17. Morning host Shawn Parr played the Keith Urban rendition of "Tonight I Wanna Cry."
But nobody wants to cry in the Inland area where a Frog and a Toad insist they are extremely happy with country music's good old boys (and girls) and have no plans to abandon them.
KFRG-FM (95.1) brass are particularly happy. Their 5.3 Arbitron share is topped only by the 6.2 of long-running area leader KGGI-FM (99.1), and program director Lee Douglas says he sees no reason to fix something that isn't damaged. Or, as he puts it, "The Frog is eternal. We're not going to change."
Neither is the smaller Toad at KTDD-AM (1350). Like KGGI, it is the property of Clear Channel Radio. The station's vice president and market manager, Bob Ridzak, insists that its classic country format is going to hold firm. And he and Douglas both question the KZLA decision to switch to an adult contemporary pattern.
But that change, they claim, will not have much affect on local radio listening habits. On the other hand, Douglas points out, KFRG does reach "about 50 to 60 percent of the Los Angeles area. So we may pick up some audience there."
Ridzak says he finds one especially intriguing thing in the KZLA move: "I think they're trying to be another KGGI," he declares.
Sean Ross, vice president of music and programming for Edison Media Research, says that is probably a pretty accurate observation. "But," he adds, "nobody in L.A. is doing what KGGI does. Theirs is a format that covers several different age groups. It takes two to three L.A. stations to do that and KGGI does it by itself in the Inland Empire."
But all this, Douglas says, does not deter from the fact that something had to be done because "I don't think KZLA had any growth left in them." However, he, Ross and Ridzak feel that this is not going to mean the end of country music in L.A. and all seem to agree that another station will change format to enter the field.
But was this particular move a wise one for KZLA? Ross says there is no way yet to determine that although in some respects it could make good business sense, especially if there is a blending of sales staffs with KZLA's Emmis Communications sister station KPWR-FM (105.9). Meanwhile, Ross, Ridzak and Douglas agree that the station is barging into an extremely crowded field.
It hopes to gain an edge, though, by taking on a new ambience -- now referring to itself as Movin' 93.9 and it has signed on former KIIS super star Rick Dees as its morning show host.
Ridzak says he wonders how that move will work. "Rick Dees did an excellent job during his time at KIIS," he says. "But how long ago was that? And look at the audience they're aiming for now. How is Rick Dees going to relate to a 21-year-old female?"
Still to be determined at deadline time was whether KZLA will continue to carry the NASCAR racing broadcasts that were scheduled through Nov. 19.
However, racing fans should find enough this weekend to fill all appetites.
KFRG Frogmen Scott Ward and Tommy Carrera will be at the California Speedway on Friday to do their 5-9 a.m. show live from the infield.
The Fontana racetrack hosts three days of racing culminating in the Sony HD 500 on Sept. 3.
Ward says their schedule is still being set but it is expected to provide a number of special events that will include driver interviews.
Other shows are now in the planning phase.
KTDD will have Bill Georgi and Greg Cozzo at the track to cover a full slate of racing events Saturday and Sept. 3.
KGGI program director Jesse Duran says the station is lining up a roster of guests for special racing broadcasts set for 2 to 6 p.m. Sept. 3.
KGGI morning host Jeff Pope says he and radio partner Evelyn Erives now have a new song parody to follow their recent "Ridiculous" spoof of Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous."
This one takes off on "Superman" by High Desert rapper Brown Boy. It's called "Aquaman" and is described by Pope as a tribute "to one of our least respected super heroes."
It can be picked up at www.myspace.com/jeffandevelyn
Source: San Bernardino Sun
Posted at 12:57 am by CarrieNEWS
Friday, August 25, 2006
Orbitcast talks to XM's Eric Logan about KZLA
Posted at 02:29 pm by CarrieNEWS
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Former KZLA Listeners Are Out In Full Force
August 24, 2006
We are boycotting advertisers on the new format (Moving 93.9), as well as the station itself
- Southern California Country music lovers are not sitting still. In just a few short hours after KZLA FM flipped formats, a grassroots movement started to get their country back. Within hours of the flip, a new website was started and information of who to contact regarding this change was posted. Thousands began to flood Emmis Communications with emails and calls telling the company they were not happy with the switch and vowed to keep fighting. And kept fighting they have.
Black Thursday is the name that KZLA country music listeners now refer to when they talk about August 17, 2006 as Emmis Communications flipped the station format from country to a pop format focusing on beat-heavy R&B and dance tunes, competing with several of the same type of stations already in the Los Angeles market.
What Emmis Communications, and maybe Los Angeles itself did not realize, is the stronghold that KZLA and it fans had for the music they love. A grassroots movement is well on it way. KZLA fans, who prefer to call themselves the KZLAnation, have banded together to let America know they want their country back and they are pleading with Nashville to help them.
Press releases, letter writing, and placing advertisements in Los Angeles and Nashville markets are just a few of the things the KZLA fans already have on the way. They have jumped on myspace.com and are sending messages to every country artist they can find to ask for help. And if that weren't enough, they are now targeting radio broadcast companies to consider changing existing formats or investing into a station in Los Angeles and help them with the switch. Finally, a petition to get country back begun circulating. All this and barely a week has gone by since the change.
Recently, Whitney Allen, former KZLA Afternooner, stated on LA radio.com, 'The passion of these now mostly station-less listeners is OVERWHELMING. It is something that makes me sadder and more frustrated than I could ever have though possible. After all, as we hear over and over again, and even say to ourselves, 'it's only radio.' We sometimes forget, and we should not, the difference we can make in someone's day, or dare I say life. In my two plus years at KZLA I have felt embraced by these Country music listeners more than I have felt in any of my other 25 plus years in radio.'
"We are boycotting advertisers on the new format (Moving 93.9), as well as the station itself," proclaimed Debby, a country music Fan. "And we will support any new station and those who advertise there."
The listeners are definitely not alone. Press releases by ACM and CMA have clearly stated that they pledge to keep country alive in Southern California and openly offer assistance to any radio station considering a change in format. It is obvious to this writer that there is certainly a market that is hungry for Country in Los Angeles.
CMA has also given us numbers to prove country music is wanted and worth the investment in LA. 'We are No.1 in the market for country sales YTD, with roughly 1.3 million units sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was also the top market in 2005, with 2.1 million country albums sold.' Also stated was that 'although KZLA will be streamed via the internet and on HD2, these distribution vehicles won't afford country music the same sized audience it enjoyed via KZLA's over-the-air signal.'
Los Angeles has been and can continue to be a vital market for Country music. 'Country is certainly well represented in product sales there and it gets good concert stops,' said Victor Sansone, chairman of the board of the Nashville-based Country Music Association. 'That station's been country for a barrel of years. When you have that kind of equity, you don't think they're going to flip it. I don't get it.' As quoted in the Associated Press.
Industry insiders have proclaimed that there are operators within Southern California who can easily profit from the revenue of a KZLA format even though they feel it is a smaller market. Fans have already been extremely outspoken about their dedication to any broadcasting company that decides to change an existing format or invest in another station and help them switch over.
And they couldn't be more right. Arbitron has released its format trends report for the Spring, 2006 radio survey in the 97 continuously measured markets. Country quietly extended its 4-year rebound in the top markets, rising of a 9.5 AQH share (12+) from its low point of 8.4 in spring, 2002. Spanish formats saw the biggest gains, increasing to an 11.1, up 1.3 points from spring, 2005.
The NY Times writer Jeff Leed recently stated "Paradoxically, Los Angeles consistently ranks as one of the top two markets for country album sales (it accounts for roughly 3 percent of all country sales so far this year) and plays host to the genre's biggest touring acts. Thursday marked the first night of a sold-out three-night stand by Mr. McGraw and Ms. Hill, country's power couple, at the Staples Center arena."
Emmis Communications, Val Maki stated to the Associated Press that the reason for the change is the diverse marketplace of Southern California. He has recently been quoted in several papers as stating they felt their KZLA audience "draws predominantly white listener" and thus was holding back their ability to move up in the market (as stated on Country Aircheck.com). Many Latin American KZLA listeners are taking offense to this statement "I take offense to these statements as I see Emmis taking a reverse racial card to this whole event. I say this as a Latina who fits the target audience you are trying to reach with your new format," affirms one KZLA listener who prefers to remain anonymous. She continues, "If you have ever been to a KZLA sponsored concert you would quickly realize this music reaches out to everyone in Southern California, not just one population."
"It's not that we just need to hear country music, it is what Shawn Parr, Whitney Allen and Brian Douglas brought to the table. It is the personal, local touch they brought into our homes and lives that we are missing. Country music fans are a different breed. That is what I am missing. I am missing when Shawn would tell us the gas prices of the station at the corner near KZLA," states devoted country listener Ethan Thomas of Huntington Beach.
Karen Oliver, of Glendale, a country music lover states, "KZLA and it's air staff was a vital part of our community. They brought to us various charities that helped the homeless, deaf, cancer sufferers and more. Together we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Plus KZLA brought artists out, creating tickets sales and jobs for many people in Los Angeles."
Ms. Oliver continued, "We have asked the Mayor of Los Angeles to take a look at what has really happened and we are asking him to him recruit a new broadcasting company to pick up where Emmis communication could not envision."
It's a bitter pill to swallow. The thing I have a hard time with is the listeners. They deserve more than that,' said Shawn Parr, who has long been the voice of television's Academy of Country Music Awards. 'I went to my e-mail 3 1/2 hours later and I had 2,100 e-mails. My phone has not stopped ringing for 24 hours.'
If the listeners have anything to do with it, Los Angeles will not become another New York with out a country station. They are sure fighting like hell to get their voices heard. After all, Los Angeles is located in the Wild West.
The website http://countryboards.com/
The petition link: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Country_Fan_Link/index.html
C K Gold
Trackback URL: http://prweb.com/pingpr.php/RmFsdS1FbXB0LVpldGEtVGhpci1JbnNlLVplcm8=
Posted at 11:14 am by CarrieNEWS