News stations should watch for competition from low-power upstarts
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Thread: News stations should watch for competition from low-power upstarts

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    Question News stations should watch for competition from low-power upstarts


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    Except LPFMs are limited in terms of money for staffing for this kind of news coverage. NPR programming costs money to carry.

    Just because they CAN do this kind of thing doesn't mean they WILL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    Except LPFMs are limited in terms of money for staffing for this kind of news coverage. NPR programming costs money to carry.

    Just because they CAN do this kind of thing doesn't mean they WILL.
    But wait in able for an LPFM to air news in some cases the selling point would be to air Democracy Now and Free Speech Radio News podcasts to attract an audience and donors. NPR Stations on the other hand would air on a 100kw station like KQED to cover the market well. Or a 50kw fm to capture an audience.

    LPFM's are more niche in my area though and they are usually less than 1000 watts to transmit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadioPatrol View Post
    But wait in able for an LPFM to air news in some cases the selling point would be to air Democracy Now and Free Speech Radio News podcasts to attract an audience and donors. NPR Stations on the other hand would air on a 100kw station like KQED to cover the market well. Or a 50kw fm to capture an audience.

    LPFM's are more niche in my area though and they are usually less than 1000 watts to transmit.
    LPFM stations are ALL limited to 100 watts or less.


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    Quote Originally Posted by RadioPatrol View Post
    But wait in able for an LPFM to air news in some cases the selling point would be to air Democracy Now and Free Speech Radio News podcasts to attract an audience and donors. NPR Stations on the other hand would air on a 100kw station like KQED to cover the market well. Or a 50kw fm to capture an audience.

    LPFM's are more niche in my area though and they are usually less than 1000 watts to transmit.
    An LPFM is limited to 100 watts at 100 feet or the equivalent, such as 48 watts at 150 feet, etc.

    The best coverage of people I could find in the SF metro is KGPC-LP in Oakland, which covers 235,000 persons with its 65 dbu signal. The problem is that the market is 7,500,000 persons. So the station only covers about 2.5% of the market.

    That is just not a large enough listener base to be a threat in audience and donations to the full facility stations. And there is certainly not enough money to do programming competitive with KQED.

    KQED gets lots of donor support because it has a 6 share on average. The turmoil-ridden KPFA only manages to get around a 0.2 to 0.3 share with a significant signal, but they can't seem to be able to stem the ebb of donations. So take KPFA and reduce its population coverage by 95% and you have the "best case" LPFM in the market.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by RadioPatrol View Post
    But wait in able for an LPFM to air news in some cases the selling point would be to air Democracy Now and Free Speech Radio News podcasts to attract an audience and donors.
    How is that a selling point and what does that have to do with the topic of LPFMs doing local news?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    How is that a selling point and what does that have to do with the topic of LPFMs doing local news?

    Ok Your correct though that LPFM's may not have the budget to air local news though they are limited by two ways though by budget for news staff and target area though. In the article they say Hyperlocal news was one of the talking points for LPFM's and also an alternative to NPR as the current article said though.
    Last edited by RadioPatrol; 10-22-2016 at 09:59 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by RadioPatrol View Post
    In the article they say Hyperlocal news was one of the talking points for LPFM's and also an alternative to NPR as the current article said though.
    It's not a true talking point if stations can't afford to create the content. Therefore, they're not actual competition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadioPatrol View Post
    Ok Your correct though that LPFM's may not have the budget to air local news though they are limited by two ways though by budget for news staff and target area though. In the article they say Hyperlocal news was one of the talking points for LPFM's and also an alternative to NPR as the current article said though.
    The only LPFMs that have any kind of significant news effort are those that belong to volunteer organizations that have a broader community presence than just a very limited FM signal.

    The frequent "talking point" for LPFM is "local community" operation, not local news. From a quick sample of the ones currently on the air, about two-thirds appear to belong to local church groups. It's unlikely that those would be hiring news reporters, writers and anchors to compete with KCBS and KQED.
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    Wow, the writer of the current.org article is way off in my opinion. It seems to me that an LPFM is as much of a threat to a full power non-comm as The Hudson Independent with it's 13,000 plus circulation being a threat to the New York Times. Sure, a well funded LPFM can beat anyone on hyper-local news if they have a way to fund it.

    Most LPFMs are operated by groups with no radio experience and mostly can barely scrape together the funds to get on the air. In fact many, when faced with leased tower sites find it nearly impossible. The biggest issue seems to be selling Underwriting and creating packages that potential businesses would feel good about investing in.

    There is too much of an attitude of 'we are a non-profit and it's just not right to sell clients on the idea of benefiting from Underwriting' which is plain wrong. I contend LPFMs offer stand alone businesses trade area advertising where every dollar goes to reach potential customers without having to pay to reach those who will never become their customer. For many stations that package is a couple of spots during one weekly show...not enough to be effective or reach many of the small listenership the station has.

    Programming choices are typically very poor. For some illogical reason the thinking is to do something that reaches a tiny portion of the radio audience even though the station might reach maybe 2% of a market. When you go after 1% of an audience and that audience is 50 times smaller than the other stations, it's a terrible idea. In reality, you need as many in your 60 dbu you can possibly get in order to make it. And if that means playing the 'safe' stuff, then swallow hard and play the safe stuff.

    Naturally there are exceptions and some mighty fine ones. I simply talk to lots of LPFM operators and more often than not (very much more often) the above stereotypes prevail. I haven't talked to 2 or 3 but a few hundred LPFM stations. Many complain I'm 'too corporate' in my programming and 'too sales oriented' in talking Underwriting. The worst was the radio pro with about 40 years, some of those running stations, was told by the board they knew just as much about NCE radio as he did because he had never managed a NCE. Strange but true.

    For LPFM, it is mom and pop single location businesses and neighborhood information combined with programming as many in your area want to hear that creates a viable station. I tell lots of folks, the station is not about you, it's about what the potential audience wants even if it isn't your cup of tea. A successful radio station operator knows what the people in their area want from radio and delivers it making sure to market it with ideas that local businesses like. (Ask the guy I worked for that loved classical and detested country but ran a great country station because that's what his town wanted).

    I'd love nothing more than for LPFM to make a local impact. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge in programming, sales and more than anything, the egos of the groups demanding their personal preferences is simply working to insure most LPFMs will ever take its rightful place in media nor be taken as seriously as LPFM should be taken. In fact, history has shown 1 in 3 existing LPFMs will turn in their license, shutting down as a failure.

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