Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Progressive talk returns to Missoula

The one you've been waiting for, the Top 10 Talkers of 2007, is forthcoming. As the Shrub says, it's hard work. But it is on the way.

Meanwhile, some good news to report to ring in 2008. Liberal talk is coming back to Missoula, Montana come Thursday morning, on the former KLCY (930AM). The new station is headed by the guy that initially brought progressive talk to town a few years ago on FM station KKNS, which now programs the 'everything but the kitchen sink' format known as Jack FM.

“It’ll be KMPT, Missoula’s progressive talk,” said Dave Cowan. Cowan was recently named general manager of Missoula’s six Gap West stations. Gap West, a Denver-based media company, recently purchased 57 stations from Clear Channel in small and mid-sized markets across the northern Mountain West and in the Midwest.

Cowan earlier helped a Missoula startup radio company that ran the short-lived progressive talkformat on KKNS a few years ago, and he said he learned some important lessons from his first go-around. Foremost, the ad sales will target professional people, such as real estate agents and accounts, rather than the typical retailers who advertise on the radio.

Cowan said the program may build to include locally produced talk shows and will share news resources with the other Gap West stations. A soft start without a huge initial cash is key to the station’s long-term success, he said.

KMPT's linup will consist of offerings from Air America Radio, as well as JRN's Bill Press and Stephanie Miller live. Thom Hartmann will air from 10A-1P MT. Ed Schultz' show will air 3-6P.

“Judging from the one ratings book we had with KKNS (the last progressive talk station in Missoula), there is a demand. It had a very respectable listenership,” Cowan said. “I thought we were figuring it out when they (Simmons Media) pulled the plug back in 2006.”

This time, Cowan has some breathing room, he said.

“There are not immediate revenue demands. We don’t have to hit a home run in January,” he said.


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