Wednesday, August 20, 2008
KGO in ratings trouble, or another "analyst" jumping on bandwagon too soon
Radio Equalizer Brian Maloney reports that KGO has taken a big dip in the first third of the summer ratings, now that the ratings are done by People Meters, monitors that can report exactly what people are listening to.
Regular readers of this column know that we've seen other so-called experts make big predictions based on one or two-thirds of a book, and be embarrassed when the final book came out. I'll take betting action that Maloney joins their ranks.
If he were more than a neo-Con shill, he would tell his readers that the summer book is always slower for talk radio anyway. People are on vacation; kids are out of school and dominating the family radio with music; urban stations and music stations crush talk on the beach.
Besides, KGO is in first place with the 12 and up demo, the public one that counts for its claim of being No. 1 for 30 years. As for 25-54, if the station continues its trend as he shows and ranks 18th, it really would be in some trouble for advertisers. That demo is the one they use to buy ads, figuring that people between those ages spend the most and don't have buying habits ingrained (both not true in this new age, where 60 is the new 40, I would add).
BUT, what Maloney also doesn't figure is that with the political conventions heating up this month, and school starting in August, KGO will likely get a big bump, back up to its usual high numbers. (Although I'm burning out on the election talk already. They should have rationed it earlier, and waited for the conventions to step it up.)
I think the guy has jumped the gun...and not without some real motivations (see this post to get a feel for his absolute bias). Who would call KGO and Citadel's ranks "ultra liberal?" And who would begrudge the station a good party for an unprecedented 30 years of success? (And no, I didn't get an invite, even though I hosted and guested on shows there many times, at all hours.) Although I agree that not inviting all the engineers, prodcers and rank and file is tacky, tacky, tacky on Mickey Luckoff's part.
He is right about one thing: dropping Melanie Morgan will prove to be a huge mistake for KSFO, which shows up 22nd now in the morning, when it was in the Top 10 with her. No one gets rid of a hugely popular morning host on top. It's just plain stupid or greedy. I only wish she would go to another station and make them suffer for it.
So, we'll see what happens when the monthly trends turn into the summer book. I bet Maloney eats crow.
PS: I've been saying for a long time that KGO should start thinking more about younger listeners. Most of its hosts are out of the 25-54 demo and so are their topics (Ronn Owens is a big exception. He's in touch with what's going on out there, in part because of his teenage daughters. Hell, he had Tommy Chong on yesterday and didn't make any pot jokes. Yeah, right.) Karel touches younger and cooler demos and Pete Wilson used to. (So did Bernie Ward (pun intended). But I'm not sure who else there is the least bit hip. (The news staff is.)
I appreciate their loyalty to tried and true staff. But when one leaves, maybe they should be thinking of younger, rawer talent.
When I did a tryout, my first topic was police crackdowns on San Jose nightlife, and the phones raged with younger callers. It's not a topic any of those others would know about unless it was in the newspaper first. (Enlightened self-interest alert here, but regardless, it's something Mickey should think about when he looks at filling host slots).
PPS: Thanks Pen Press Club for keeping me posted on this. You should get their daily newsletter!
(Photo: from Maloney...KGO staff gets down at party)