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Thread: Holy cow, KROQ...

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post
    The real issue is that this fragmentation means that no station can totally please all the partisan groups that like alt rock. When this happens, most go to on-demand services or other streaming options.
    This is what is killing the various rock formats. Radio formats are built on consensus, and there is no consensus for rock or alternative today. The only consensus is about the classic hits that built the format, so that's why they do so well. In the meantime, there are lots of formats that have consensus music, such as pop, country, and urban, and that's about it for radio right now.

  2. #12
    It seems it wasn't too long ago, maybe about five years, that KROQ was among CBS's top earning stations in the country. And that was even when it was in the middle of the pack in the LA ratings. I suppose men, many college-educated, in their 20s, 30s and 40s are attractive to advertisers. So Alternative stations outperform their numbers, maybe?

    There are only a few markets that have two alternative rock stations.

    Los Angeles...KYSR #19 tie...KROQ #21 tie

    San Diego...KBZT #11....XETRA-FM #19 tie

    Honolulu...KUCD and KPOI (Only iHeart subscribes to Nielsen in Honolulu.)

    Why do these three cities have competing Alternative stations? Could it be left over from Surfer Culture originally embracing Modern Rock? Not sure. Honolulu is interesting in that it has two Alternative stations and no other rock, not Classic Rock, not Active Rock, not AAA.

    For a couple of years, till a few months ago, Detroit had two Alternative stations. But iHeart flipped 106.7 WDTW-FM to Hard Classic Rock WLLZ. Only CIMX from over the border in Windsor remains.

    So how long will Los Angeles, San Diego and Honolulu have competing Alternative stations?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    This is what is killing the various rock formats. Radio formats are built on consensus, and there is no consensus for rock or alternative today. The only consensus is about the classic hits that built the format, so that's why they do so well. In the meantime, there are lots of formats that have consensus music, such as pop, country, and urban, and that's about it for radio right now.
    Add in Regional Mexican and Spanish Rhythmic and you have two additional fairly un-fragmented segments.

    In fact, for the first time in my memory, Spanish rhythmic is the only truly universal format across Latin America and the Hispanic US market... same songs, same artists, same time.
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  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg. View Post

    So how long will Los Angeles, San Diego and Honolulu have competing Alternative stations?
    The real problem is what do you replace them with?

    This is why I say changing ownership limits doesn't mean companies will buy more stations. Because right now, most of the profitable formats are taken.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    The real problem is what do you replace them with?

    This is why I say changing ownership limits doesn't mean companies will buy more stations. Because right now, most of the profitable formats are taken.
    At some point, KFI and KNX have to make the jump to FM to continue being relevant. Blowing up Alt or KROQ to make that happen doesn't make sense at this point however or would at least be a very painful pill to swallow.

    Also, LA is one of the few markets where sports doesn't have any presence on analog FM. On an infinite time horizon, that will eventually change as well.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg. View Post

    For a couple of years, till a few months ago, Detroit had two Alternative stations. But iHeart flipped 106.7 WDTW-FM to Hard Classic Rock WLLZ. Only CIMX from over the border in Windsor remains.
    CIMX went Active Rock pretty close to two years ago. The only thing even close to Alternative in Detroit is the Modern AC/AAA/Alt/Cancon hodgepodge on CIDR, their sister station. It sounds like a jumbled mess and it’s Detroit numbers reflect that, though it does well across the bridge.

    LA is just one example of many where Alternative is seeing an erosion of numbers. As has been stated before, there’s not enough consensus among listeners. I’ve listened to the format for close to two decades and in the past few years, I’ve had trouble keeping the station on for more than three or four songs.
    Last edited by chrocket87; 06-12-2019 at 12:59 AM.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    The real problem is what do you replace them with?

    This is why I say changing ownership limits doesn't mean companies will buy more stations. Because right now, most of the profitable formats are taken.

    You just nailed the hard cold truth, BigA. You have stated it very well over the past half decade. The demographics of young listeners and old listeners is getting extremely narrow. The younger market is not embracing radio, advertisers or mediocre music. That hurts many formats. Especially alt rock and attempts at real rock. I would be scared to try to program and/or own a station with this format, because it's nearly impossible to make enough profit to invest the time, money and effort. Oddly, today's radio corporations tend to accept the lower revenues and listenership and keep these formats around longer than would have probably been the case during the years of single or duopoly stations into the 80's. Tough thing to see happen as radio "matures."

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Tibbs4 View Post
    Oddly, today's radio corporations tend to accept the lower revenues and listenership and keep these formats around longer than would have probably been the case during the years of single or duopoly stations into the 80's. Tough thing to see happen as radio "matures."
    I don't see it exactly that way. The larger radio corporations recognize the limitations of broadcast radio, and it's why they all are actively investing in other platforms. Platforms that have no limits, that have no regulations or restrictions, and platforms where they can at some point operate as subscription services rather than ad-supported operations.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tibbs4 View Post
    Oddly, today's radio corporations tend to accept the lower revenues and listenership and keep these formats around longer than would have probably been the case during the years of single or duopoly stations into the 80's. Tough thing to see happen as radio "matures."
    It's the nature of clusters to try to find things to program beyond the standard top scoring formats.

    If you look at historical format distributions, you find that in the later 50's and 60's you might have a market with quite a few stations, but much format duplication.

    My favorite example is Cleveland, a Top 20 market in that period. In the late 50's and earlier 60's, only the AM's had ratings. And there were 8 of them. 3 Top 40, 3 MOR and two R&B stations. There were some flips back and forth, but everyone wanted part of the big pieces.

    Today, the same market has about 20 viable stations, and no format is duplicated, at most, on two signals. The larger clusters take some mid-range performing formats along with the bigger ones and create a spectrum so that advertisers can more often buy their target audience by using several cluster stations in combo. In this way, the smaller formats enhance the big ones, and the cluster makes more money.

    In the late 60's, I owned 6 formats on 9 frequencies in Quito, Ecuador. I built each one individually from the ground up, never keeping a format that had existed on the station previously. Forgetting that it was a different country for a moment, I found that once I had done the two biggest formats, successive stations had to look for the "next best" formats. But I could go to an agency and offer a number of stations for each campaign. So the smaller ones got on the buy, dragged by the bigger ones. And the bigger ones looked even more gigantic when packaged with sister stations.

    So I was happy with some lesser performing stations, and they all did well. Were I to have only been allowed one station, I would have gone for the gold. But with multiple stations, I'd aim for the silver and bronze, too.

    In this way, consolidation has allowed secondary formats to flourish. That would not have happened when the limit was one to a band.
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  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by radio128 View Post
    Perhaps their ratings are also low because they are boring? KROQ used to be unique. Think of the Rick Carroll era with all the drop ins or early Kevin and Bean showing up at Rick Dees' house. Today they sound like any other corporate alternative station. I listened on Saturday late morning a few months ago. I heard songs (mostly old), promos, and long stop sets. I'm sure there was no live jock in the studio. The only difference between KROQ and AMP is the music. The formatics are very similar.
    As someone who's streamed KROQ periodically since that became available, I think part of the problem is that KROQ used to be a station that had a sense of unpredictability about it, you never knew what they were going to play and if at that moment you're listening they'd surprise you with a new artist or a new song by an artist you already know. KROQ I don't think has broken an artist since Foster The People and Imagine Dragons (and I'd rate the latter as a "maybe"), and that was at the start of this decade. Kansas City's 96.3 The Buzz currently acts more like vintage KROQ than KROQ currently does, as the amount of currents KROQ plays number in the teens (maybe even the low teens), and that's made the station feel more automated and bland. At this point, KROQ is leaning so heavily on its historic library that it is one step away from becoming a so-called "Classic Alternative" station, which couldn't be further from the station's mission and would make Rick Carroll spin in his grave.

    KROQ, despite it all, still has a better playlist than the one-size-fits-all generic iHeart that's been trying to kill it. But XTRA 91X also has a better playlist (and has stuck closer to its original mission of breaking new music) and it's getting killed by 94.9 in San Diego, and KRBZ 96.3 The Buzz in Kansas City is getting bruised badly by a bland Cumulus station. So I don't know if the problem is the lack of new music or something else.

    Maybe the problem is the music itself. Indie rock, in various forms, has formed the foundation of alternative stations, but it's always been accompanied by another genre or two. New wave during the 80's, grunge in the 90's, pop-punk and nu-metal at the turn of the millennium (and big beat for a brief period), etc. But none have clashed so flagrantly with indie rock as the current indie pop/alternative pop movement, which often doesn't even superficially sound like rock music. You can't segue from an Offspring recurrent to, say, AJR or SHAED with any grace, and the more rhythmic sound of alt/indie-pop has to be a turnoff for rock listeners. At the same time, fans of the more rhythmic alt/indie-pop sound have to be sick of hearing Soundgarden or The White Stripes inbetween their favorite songs.

    Out of all the alternative stations that I keep an eye on, the one that's doing the best is KPNT 105.7 The Point, which has a staggering 6.6 share in St. Louis and is soundly defeating its generic iHeart challenger. Its solution to the current dilemma is including elements of active rock into its playlist, minimizing the alt/indie-pop and concentrating almost entirely on new indie rock with a random active current or two mixed in ("Monsters" by Shinedown, "Lover, Leaver" by Greta Van Fleet, and "Panic Attack" by The Glorious Sons seem to be the choices at this moment). The Point also plays more currents than KROQ and 91X do, but again, considering the aging radio audience I don't know if that's a factor.

    Would The Point's solution work for KROQ or 91X? I can't really say. Los Angeles and San Diego are vastly different markets from St. Louis. But I were programming KROQ I'd be digging around for something fresh and new and try it out before the station is totally lost. Maybe the solution is with the dirty rock movement, maybe it's something else. But KROQ can't stay stagnant forever, or the station will just become a memory.

    I also don't think the alternative/indie-pop genre will go away anytime soon, so we could be in for a pretty dramatic format break depending on how things go.
    Last edited by macattack; 06-12-2019 at 09:48 AM.

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