Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Progressive talk gone in Missoula... again

Missoula listeners were no doubt shocked when, tuning in to listen to Stephanie Miller last week, they heard liners like "A new attitude and a great line-up or some of the best conservative talk!" Yep, KMPT (930AM) has abruptly shifted ideology. The station now airs a conservotalk format.

Market manager Scott Lindahl said the station under-performed with its progressive talk format, and they had to either "turn it off," sell it or change formats. Sports was considered, but they decided instead to go with conservotalk.

Lindahl said corporate members at GapWest Broadcasting gave the station input, but local programmers ultimately made the decision to go conservative. The station says they've answered several calls from progressive listeners.

"Did they like it? No." said Lindahl. "Did they understand it? Yes."

The KMPT flip is a sign of the times for radio. The current slump in broadcast advertising revenue has especially hit small AM stations hard. Many have flipped to tried-and-true predictable formats like sports and conservotalk to stop the bleeding. Some have gone off the air completely. Lesser-established formats like progressive talk are having a rough time as a result.

KMPT had adopted the format in January, 2008, after the market's previous libtalker, KKNS, switched to the Jack-FM format.

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