Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And then there was music

In a move that had been expected since February, KFPT in Fresno dropped its progressive talk format and began stunting with nonstop music programming, expected to give way to a new sports format later this week.

Gone is Air America, Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz. Now, it's just music, until the station's new owners launch the new format.

The station was originally put into play last year when former owner CBS sold the station to Peak Broadcasting last November, along with the company's other stations in the market. Peak, in turn, spun the station off to Fat Dawgs 7, which owns KFIG (ESPN1430), another sports station. KFPT's website now directs there.

The Fresno radio dial is cluttered with sports stations. In addition to KFIG and now KFPT, there is also FOX Sports-affiliated KCBL, SNR-affiliated KXEX and even KGST, airing ESPN's Spanish-language feed. And that's just Fresno! How do these stations do ratings-wise? Overall, all four are clustered at the bottom of the ratings book, between a 0.4 and 0.8 share. KFPT has hovered around a one share since it's debut in July 2005. Of course, as has been mentioned here previously, sports is a format that transcends ratings. But isn't five sports stations (okay, we'll leave out KGST, since they do at least have their own unique niche) slicing the pie into too many pieces?

Elsewhere on the local AM dial, there are four religious stations, one conservotalk outlet, a few foreign language stations and quite a few brokered outlets. Again, that's just the AM dial.

So, we'll see how the whole thing shakes out. Looking at the Fresno market, there are a large number of radio stations. Unfortunately, many of them appear to be neglected properties, automated outlets, piped-in religious translators and brokered outlets. Of course, this could describe the local radio dial in just about any town in America. And now you know why LTR is such a strong advocate for internet radio.

A Yahoo! group has sprung up for listeners who already miss AM790. In addition, there is also a Myspace page for fans of the station. Local listeners can also support their noncommercial stations, such as Pacifica-affiliated KFCF (88.1FM).

UPDATE 4/04: AllAccess reports a few details of KFPT's sale. The $2.4 million deal includes a non-compete clause in it, which prohibits the station from airing a talk format (that would potentially compete with Peak Broadcasting's top-rated KMJ), though it does not prohibit a sports format.


Sornie said...

So the new owners were forced out of the talk game? Sorta sucks if that's the case but they knew what they were getting in to.

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