Is Citadel repositioning KZMG?Don @ IdahoRadioNews | August 10, 2009
KZMG/Magic 93.1 is one of the longest-running heritage stations in the market. Launched in April of 1990, just a handful of stations have stuck with a format and brand name longer (KJOT/J-105 and KQFC among them). After a rough initial launch, the station turned into a missile squarely aimed at KFXD/KF-95 – an attack that ultimately took down the older pop station. As we’ve talked about before, KZMG enjoyed dominance for quite some time, until KSAS/103.3 Kiss FM launched in August of 200 – and took a chunk of Magic’s audience with it. The two stations see-sawed back and forth — until the last year. Chart (blue is KSAS, red is KZMG):
In that time, KSAS seems to have found a formula and group of people that fit the audience. After a high amount of turnover, the combination of Hooker in the Morning, Chad, KeKe Luv and Lucky tha DJ has been locked into place for about two years.
Meanwhile KZMG no longer has a dedicated program director, and instead shares Scott Souhrada with classic rocker KKGL. Turnover has become the norm – with a string of morning show experiments, and a lack of stability in other dayparts. The combination has been a boon to KSAS.
But no competition is as simple as two frequencies. The audience KSAS and KZMG seek bleeds over into the listeners that KCIX/Mix 106, KIZN/Kissin’ 92.3, KAWO/Wow Country 104.3, KXLT/Lite 108 and KQFC hope to earn. In the era of cluster radio, it isn’t “one owner, one station” – instead it is “one owner, many stations.” So a decision that is good for, say, KZMG might be bad for KIZN. Group GMs have to weigh how billing for the cluster might be affected.
Late last year, Impact Radio launched KWYD/Wild 101 – and looked to grab a piece of the same pie that KZMG, KSAS, KCIX et al were already trying to divide. We’ll get a look at Wild’s ratings any day now – and see how it impacts the rest of the market – but the chatter on the ground is that it will not bode well for KZMG. KSAS may lose a chunk as well – but conventional wisdom seems to indicate Magic is the also-ran in the fight.
So if you run Magic and Citadel Boise, what do you do? Flip the format? OK, that raises two questions: 1) To what, exactly; and 2) How does that impact your other female-skewing stations, KIZN and KQFC. Can you afford to send Magic’s remaining audience straight to KSAS or KWYD – in the process boosting those stations? Maybe – and who knows… it may happen. But somehow, some way, KZMG has made it to nearly twenty years on the air. People still think that heritage has power.
Recently, the station jettisoned high-priced locally-based talent Dan Tooker in the morning – and after experimenting with another team, picked up the syndicated Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. While Kidd airs on lots of CHR stations – it also has its fair share of Mix, Star and Power-named stations on its roster. The show plays like a hot AC program. Heavy on the Hollywood scoop, light on blue humor. It features a raft of features aimed at mothers of kids, and would be right at home on Mix 106.
Then two other factors came into play. Afternoon host Miggy Santos bolted for Peak Fresno – and his afternoon “PM Party” with its nearly dayparted rhythmic lean and heavy promotion of bar gigs disappeared. Former mid-day host Matt Johnson moved up, and is playing more closely to the normal daytime playlist. At the same time, Peak let star player Tom Collins go – and Citadel wasted no time adding him to the Magic team – helming the same mid-day slot he had on KCIX for the better part of the last decade.
Then there’s the music. Top songs are from artists like Taylor Swift, Daughtry, Nickelback, Rob Thomas, The Fray, Kelly Clarkson sit alongside more CHR artists like Lady Gaga, Sean Kingston and others.
In the last week, the station’s top song – I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas – hit the air just 60 times — compared with 89 spins for that same song on KSAS (also Kiss’ #1 spin). Magic’s playlist looks like someone decided on a simple equation: KSAS plus KCIX divided by two equals KZMG. That is to say – the playlist takes some of the more CHR elements of Kiss and blends them with the more mellow AC parts of Mix.