While commercial radio delivers only about a 50-50 ratio of content to commercials, a Seattle classical music station has dumped its for-profit business plan and returned to its "listener supported," public radio roots.
The for-profit, free market business model just didn't work out for the station... as we'd posit it doesn't for radio in general.
Feliks Banel at Crosscut.com:
Gone are the slick, jingle-filled (and often jarring) 60-second commercials. In their place are the more sedate “underwriting announcements” — those 20-second, gently exhortatory, mildly commercial fixtures that have become familiar to public radio listeners everywhere.
We've long said that the long blocs of loud and noxious advertising, interrupted by shorter and shorter bursts of content, are a primary reason commercial radio has taken such a dive. The demographics of commercial talk radio are like those of the Republican Party or the consumers of stool softeners: over age 50.
And no wonder: A recent timing of the content patches floating in the sea of KIROFM commercials reveals that in a given hour you get an average of only 34 minutes of newsy balloon juice and 26 minutes of commercials. During drive-time, content can go down to 29 minutes per hour or less.
Program director Bryan Lowe told Banel that sans commercial spots, "... KING-FM can now play longer pieces without interruption, and that the station will now play a minimum of six to seven more minutes of music each hour, and often much more than that."
And it's no wonder talk hosts on for-profit stations are obliged to do short, pithless tabloid topics which can be easily stuck in between the commercials. The long-form news and commentary has been left to NPR; the full movements and 20 minute musical cuts to stations like KINGFM.
KING has been a public station before, so the flip wasn't all that difficult. It would be much harder, if not impossible for a commercial station to do the same.
We bet there are more than one radio suit around here who fantasizes about the mighty TSL (time spent listening) gained by KING when they got to stop running mattress ads.
How many radio hosts wish they didn't have to compromise their appearance of gravitas, relevance and pith by doing testimonial live reads of prostate medications?
The station's first pledge drive comes later this month.