Seattle Media News and Notes

KOMO-AM Takes First Place in the January PPM ratings

KOMO-AM News/RadioFisher Broadcasting’s news/talk format KOMO-AM eked out its first-ever Arbitron PPM win in January with a 6% share. It’s been years since an AM station took the top spot. Rival news/talk format KIRO-FM was only 0.1 of a share behind. Ever strong non-commercial station KUOW-FM (NPR/Talk) ranked fourth. KISW-FM (Rock), which held onto first place for some time and was unseated by KIRO-FM, continues to falter, falling to fifth place this past month based on total listeners.

The top-10 stations based on AQH % total population are:

  • KOMO-AM (News/Talk)
  • KIRO-FM (News/Talk)
  • KRWM-FM (Soft AC)
  • KUOW-FM (Talk)
  • KISW-FM (Rock)
  • KKWF-FM (Country)
  • KZOK-FM (Classic Rock)
  • KMPS-FM (Country)
  • KUBE-FM (Rhythmic CHR)

KRWM-FM continues its strangle-hold on cume ratings, followed by KBKS-FM, KQMV-FM, KUBE-FM and KPLZ-FM.

Seattle Media Engage and Move Fans to Make a Difference

Congratulations to The Seattle Times and the Blethen-family ownership, whose annual The Seattle Times Raises Record Amount for Fund For the NeedyFund For the Needy raised just under $1.6 million – a record – for 13 local nonprofits that help local children, seniors and families in need.

Kudos too to Clear Channel’s “Jackie and Bender’s One Big KISS (KBKS-FM 106.1) for Seattle Children’s Hospital Radiothon” that raised $1.1 million over two days of fundraising. Both are a testament to the power of local media stewardship and, in the case of radio, of personality driven programming.

No doubt both of these annual efforts help boost Seattle’s ranking as the most generous in the nation for online giving. In 2011, Seattleites made more than 134,000 online donations, totaling nearly $17 million dollars; an average of $124.92. Only six other U.S. cities averaged more than $100 per online donation, the national average being $65.


KIRO-FM Adds Weekend Local Music Show in Partnership with Seattle Weekly

KIRO-FM News/TalkBonneville’s Talk Radio station KIRO-FM is taking a brief departure from its daily chatter by offering a new weekend music show called “Seattle Sounds.” The show, which airs Sundays from 3-4pm, is part of the “Learn, Laugh, Relax” weekend lineup and will feature local acts and live performances with hosts Josh Kerns and Seattle Weekly music editor Chris Kornelis. PD Larry Gifford noted that the program will “give music fans in the Northwest a weekly conversation about what’s new, what’s trending and what’s worth checking out when it comes to the local music scene.” The program will cover a wide spectrum of local music, focusing on the both the musicians and their music as well as taking a look at the market’s exciting music scene.

An interesting partnership, this move has the potential to attract a slightly younger audience (median age 45) to the older-leaning news/talk format (median age 52). I expect a lot of it depends on how the Seattle Weekly promotes the programming to its Seattle-focused readers. The Weekly brings around 100,000 readers to the partnership, only 4% of which ever tune in to KIRO’s weekend programming. Given that the region is a music mecca with a very loyal following, the program may provide a sweet spot-buy at a very affordable weekend rate.

North and South Sound Stations Kickin’ Up Some Country

South County CountryWhen Q-Country KNBQ-FM made the switch to a simulcast of sports-radio KJR-AM, it left a hole in the south county market and 96.9 KGY-FM (Olympia) is jumping in to fill it. The Kerry family-owned station made the move in late February from “Cool Classics and Hot Hits” to “South Sound Country.” Those are darn big boots to fill: when KNBQ-FM left the Country format, it was attracting nearly 294,000 adult weekly listeners; Cool Classics KGY-FM was attracting about 18,000 adult weekly listeners.

Another local family-owned station KKXA-AM 1520, launched in Snohomish County with a ClassiKXA-AM Classic Countryc Country (80s and 90s) format. KXA, as it will be called, and not to be confused with the old KXA-AM 770 which is now KTTH-AM, will also carry WSU football and basketball games along with some Everett Silvertips hockey, AquaSox baseball and high school sports games. The Skotdal family hopes to provide an affordable alternative for local businesses in the Snohomish market. Getting the FCC to grant an AM license apparently was 14 years in the making and likely will be the last new AM station awarded in Western Washington. Currently operating at 20,000 watts during the day, KXA has an application on file with the FCC to get a boost to 50,000 watts full time. Such a designation has been given to only about 100 stations in the U.S., the most recent one awarded to KRKO-AM 1380, and shared locally by AM stations KJR 950, KIRO 710, KOMO 1000 and KPTK 1090.

KXPA-AM Multi-Cultural RadioFormat Change at KXPA-AM?

There may be change afoot at 1540 KXPA-AM in Bellevue. Seattle Media Maven has been alerted that the station will shift from Spanish-brokered programming to a 24/7 affiliate of “MUSIC OF YOUR LIFE” — well more like music of your grandparent’s life, but definitely the Adult Standards format with lots of the Rat Pack, Bobby Darin, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole and “timeless romantic hits.” Currently the programming is running in the overnight slot M-F from 12am – 6am, with multi-cultural programming running the remainder of the day. If you are looking for elderly insomniacs, this (currently) overnight programming may be the key to a very devoted and very affordable audience.

HD Channel Switch-up at Entercom Stations

Seattle streaming media The Mountain HD 2I was eager to hear what the BIG NEWS was at KMTT-FM 103.7 The Mountain, ever hopeful that it would announce a return to its AAA roots. Instead, it announced that it has extended the brand to include a New Music Discovery HD2 channel, MOUNTAIN2, and a website dedicated to the station’s legacy Mountain Music Lounge sessions, The move also impacted sister station KKWF-FM’s HD line-up. KKWF dropped Smooth Jazz on 100.7 HD 2 in favor of Delta Blues which had been on KMTT-FM’s HD2 channel. The Emerging Music channel sounds great and makes me yearn for The Mountain of old; I’m with The Mountain’s loyal fans and Facebook followers calling for the Emerging Music format to replace the semi-oldies format now causing yawns on the FM dial. The channel is commercial free, with sponsorships available. HD stations are starting to show up in Arbitron ratings, but it will be a while before they have any discernible impact on the traditional streams. And don’t think they won’t — ask any old timer how long it took FM stations to be accepted.  If Mountain2 is attracting Seattle’s well-cultivated AAA crowd, it’s a very attractive, upscale, go-do and consuming audience that likely would transfer that passion to a sponsoring company. Carter Subaru is feeling all that love currently.

Computer Tycoon Michael Dell Buys Another Bankrupt Western Washington TV Station

In July, Michael Dell’s personal investment firm OTA Broadcasting, a subsidiary of MSD Capital won Seattle’s bankrupt KFFV-TV station at auction for $5.2 million. Now it appears that he’s picking up another – Bellingham’s KVOS-TV — from Newport Television.

KVOS-TV, a Me TV affiliateSeattle Times tech writer Brier Dudley, broke the original story about KFFV-TV’s sale when it became a bidding war. KVOS-TV, after a 60-year run, is changing hands with much less fanfare — but likely far more pain — as it has a storied history in the market. It is unclear what OTA Broadcasting of Virginia has planned for the station. Most likely, Dell’s firm is investing in the airwaves, not the stations themselves. They are a fairly inexpensive real estate play purchased in speculation that Congress will approve a controversial FCC plan to buy back spectrum from broadcasters and then auction it off to the big telecom companies. They, in turn, will use the extra airspace for wireless networks to support devices such as cellphones, tablets and whatever is next on the horizon.

It is expected that the operations of KFFV-TV and KVOS-TV will be consolidated in Seattle. A half-dozen KVOS employees have been laid off. A spokesman for OTA said that KVOS-TV will continue to broadcast local programming along with syndication classics such as All in the Family, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Matlock, M*A*S*H and The Twilight Zone. KFFV-TV offers primarily infomercials as well as multi-cultural information and entertainment programming in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean.

That’s it for this news roundup.  Your ques­tions and media news tips always are welcome! Con­tact Seat­tle Media Maven at


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