AM Radio is thriving in some parts of America

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AM Radio is thriving in some parts of America

Postby tuned » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:23 pm

Interesting article on some AM stations filling niche markets in the US and thriving. Would be interesting to see if there are similar stories in Canada.

https://www.politico.com/interactives/2 ... l-matters/
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Re: AM Radio is thriving in some parts of America

Postby jon » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:04 am

CFCW with a current City of License of Camrose-Edmonton has a long history, and successful track record, serving the Rural market with 50,000 watts. And now even more like KRVN-880 in the article: having recently moved to a former 1-A Clear Channel (840) for better night coverage.

Haven't checked recently, but on weekends you could hear three different remotes, at three different small town locations with three different hosts, in the same hour.

Although they keep their music format up to date with current hits, they still play lots of the traditional Country and Western music that some claim made them the first 24 hour Country station in Canada.

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Re: AM Radio is thriving in some parts of America

Postby paterson » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:42 pm

All medium and larger markets in Canada don't seem to have much of a problem supporting at least one AM talk/news operation. Many of these have terrific ratings. As far as music goes on AM only a few in Ontario come to mind for me. AM 740 Zoomer radio still has decent ratings with a varied oldies format with some talk. CJOY in Guelph is hanging in and tweaked their oldies format about two years ago with a 80'S 90'S ac/new wave format. Not familiar with AM radio in Western Canada other than some of the talk stations, which I know do well.

One small market that does an outstanding job and would still be considered a full service station would be CFOS in Owen Sound Ontario. They have a classic ac/oldies format, a morning talk show, hourly news all day long. Weekdays, a 20 minute news package at 12 noon and half an hour news wrap up at 5pm. The station still does a swap shop program every day of half an hour, and small town features like funeral notices twice per day. On weekends some specialized and feature programming like an hour locally produced roots music program, local real estate show, local history feature and a few syndicated oldies programs and some religion on Sunday mornings.

CFOS produces OHL hockey coverage for the local Owen Sound team and also local lacrosse during the summer. All features and specialty programs are sponsored.

My understand is CFOS is number one 18+ central market for the morning show and number one 50+. Owen Sound is about 22,000 people and CFOS total market might be about 120,000 and they compete locally with about 9 or 10 stations.

CKNX 920 in Wingham Ontario also a small market seems to be surviving alright with a country/information format. This is one of the oldest stations in Canada on the air since 1926 and have pretty much exclusively a rural audience. For years known as the farmers station or Canada's original country station. CKNX also has smaller market programming like a swap shop, funeral notices, still heavy on news and weather. Both CKNX and CFOS are active with sponsorships of events and concerts. Naturally both are very local.

It a bit hard to compare the US and Canada since the US pound per pound has quite a bit more radio than we do. The examples in the article are very specialized stations which other than community radio you don't really have as much here.
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Re: AM Radio is thriving in some parts of America

Postby Aaron » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:49 pm

CFOS in the morning is #1 12+, but #6 (last) 25-54. So it's pretty old audience, but that doesn't dismiss the great service they provide.
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Re: AM Radio is thriving in some parts of America

Postby paterson » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:38 pm

Thanks Aaron, interesting that they are number one in the morning. The morning show is pretty entertaining and still strong in news/sports/weather. Yes they do skew fairly old 50+ not surprising given the format and the emphasis on community and talk/sports, as well as oldies. 920 CKNX use to have huge hours tuned numbers, many in the rural community would have the station on most of the day, out in the barn. 920 is still a strong local AM station as well, don't know if they still in the ratings though.
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Re: AM Radio is thriving in some parts of America

Postby Aaron » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:27 pm

CKNX is harder to measure, as it's a three station market with 90% out-of-market tuning.

Stations like CFOS and CKNX, or CJBQ Belleville, CKRM Regina....even CFCW Camrose are probably as close as we have to similar AM stories in Canada. And I wouldn't say they're "thriving" but rather "surviving" by not relying on ratings dependant national ad buys, but instead an 'old boys club' sales team working with their counterparts at local businesses.

Like you inferred, a very different situation in Canada where the process to get a license in the first place is very different.
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Re: AM Radio is thriving in some parts of America

Postby paterson » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:41 pm

Yes, even in their heyday national sales were never a big part of the revenue for either CKNX or CFOS. Both were really good at handling co-op advertising for local and regional advertisers and very tight with all of the service clubs. Live remote broadcasts and cut ins were a mainstay for revenue for both stations as well, and both still have paid live remotes.
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