Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Portland advertisers see an opportunity in alternative to conservative talk radio

Insurance agent Tom Hasselstrom likes to call himself a red-meat-eating, gun-toting liberal. He never dreamed of advertising on any of Portland’s talk radio stations until the “progressive” talk format on KPOJ (620 AM) was launched last spring.

“The advertising is definitely paying for itself,” says Hasselstrom, whose commercials have aired since May on KPOJ. “I’m not a big advertiser, but I wanted to advertise on the station and give it some support.”

Hasselstrom, a retired chief warrant officer who served for 20 years in the U.S. Army, says his ads are attracting about three new clients a month to his Farmers Insurance Agency in Hillsboro.


Last year, when KPOJ still was in its music format, total listeners numbered about 33,000, according to the Arbitron radio ratings service. Now, the station’s audience is almost 127,000.


Ad revenue, which averaged about $25,000 a month before the changeover, now is in the $200,000 range, thanks in large part to election-year ads.


If John Kerry wins the presidential vote, there’s speculation that Franken and some of the others might leave — figuring their job is done. Would listenership fall off as a result?

As one radio consultant explains: “George W. Bush winning didn’t hurt Limbaugh any. Talk -radio isn’t going anywhere no matter who’s in the White House.”

KPOJ is banking on it.

Who says liberal talk radio can't succeed?


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