KVI-AM Returns to Lucrative Conservative-Talk Roots

After spending the past two years as first an Oldies station and then sliding back into a Lifestyle/Talk format last November, KVI-AM 570 has returned to its conservative roots. All the familiar conservative voices will be returning, including local political wonk John Carlson who has spent the 20-month hiatus on sister station KOMO-AM. The line-up also includes, or will soon include, syndicated programming from Don Imus, Lars Larsen, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Red Eye Radio and right-leaning libertarian, Todd Schnitt. Program Director Paul Duckworth noted the time is right for this “tell it like it is” approach, with upcoming hotly contested races both locally and nationally.

Non-sports Home of Educated, Upscale Men

KVI-AM 570 returns to Conservative Talk News & Views You Can't Get Anywhere ElseRegardless of political leanings, the format change provides a non-sports environment in which to reach upscale men. When the station switched from the conservative format in 2010, it was drawing an audience of college-educated (76%) men (57%) with household incomes of $50,000 or more (74%), ages 35+ (88%).

Conservative Talk Draws Strong Advertiser Support

Looking at top categories and advertisers from KVI’s previous Conservative-Talk reign, the format appeals to a variety of advertisers.

Top 10 Advertiser Categories (2007):

  1. Hospitals, Clinics and Medical Centers
  2. Car and Truck Dealers
  3. Jewelry Stores
  4. Insurance
  5. TV Networks and Stations
  6. Food Stores and Supermarkets (Chains)
  7. Amusements and Events
  8. Quick-Serve Restaurants
  9. Beauty/Health and Medical Services
  10. Live Theater, Opera, Music, Dance

Top 10 Advertisers (2007)

  1. Sleep Country USA Stores
  2. Comcast Cable
  3. Video Only Electronics Stores
  4. Verizon Wireless
  5. Geico
  6. Car Toys Accessories Store
  7. Sterling Jewelers
  8. Fred Meyer
  9. Albertsons Food Store
  10. Safeway Food Store

Opportunistic or Harbinger of Change?

There is considerable financial motivation in making the move back to Conservative Talk, a most lucrative format when a Republican is sitting in the White House. According to Media Monitors, KVI-AM was pulling in more than $5 million in ad revenue in 2007. The station enjoyed an election-year boost to $6 million in 2008, but with the Obama win and impacted by the ensuing Great Depression, revenues toppled to $3.1 million in 2009. When KVI changed from Conservative Talk to Oldies in November 2010, it closed the year with $1.8 million in ad revenue. The Oldies format in 2011 and resultant miserable ratings brought a precipitous drop in revenues, estimated at less than $210,000; the Lifestyle/ “Smart-Talk” format change in 2012 so far has proven an even worse format choice for attracting advertisers.

Either Fisher Broadcasting, parent of KVI-AM, is planning to make hay while the sun shines, or it is hedging a harbinger bet on the outcome of this year’s election!

Note: This entry has been updated with corrected annual revenue estimates for KVI-AM. The original post incorrectly assigned total radio revenue to KVI. Many thanks to KRKO-AM’s Andrew Skotdal for spotting the mistake!

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