by | Feb 13, 2019

$103.5 Million.

That is how much K-LOVE has paid to acquire six stations from Cumulus: WPLJ in NYC, WYAY in Atlanta, WRQX in Washington D.C., KFFG in San Jose, WZAT in Savannah, GA, and WXTL in Syracuse, NY.

Cumulus needed the cash and K-LOVE has it. They’re not sorry and neither should you be. Here is my humble recommendation to individual station operators: get hungry, stay humble, and innovate!

K-LOVE has built its mega-network to scale. I’d contend that one of the best ways to ensure local Christian radio stations thrive is to do the same. Create a Co-Op within the industry with shared resources. Jon Hamilton suggested this very idea in 2017. Perhaps, it’s time. We could take a lesson from Ace Hardware, which has turned the local hardware store into a $5.1 Billion dollar Co-Op ,competing with the big national chains.

Imagine a world where local stations shared production resources, the very best talent, fundraising strategies, music testing, contesting, and promotions. Each local station GM/PD would still be empowered to make the best decisions for their market but as part of the Co-Op would have access to the supply-chain and commit to a standards of excellence for being in the Co-Op.

Let’s do it. Who’s in?


    • Vance Dillard

      I think it’s spot on! It’s not too late to be the best you can be. You can grow your audience when you stop doing the things you struggle with and strengthen your station with shared industry resources available through various channels. It’s not about beating KLove, it’s all about a better use of your assets to reach more listeners in your market for God in ways that are compelling and distinguishable. It will require focus and discipline and highly relatable content. There are many who can help. We all need each other.

  1. Mike Couchman

    My first impressions….like a thought stream….in no particular order and some of these perhaps senseless thoughts….

    – I love the BIG THINKING. But I think most of us need to be asked to do something small. Tell us/me/your peers one place we can start now. One thing we can do today. Be as specific as possible. Otherwise, those who might be inclined to help could be paralyzed by the size of the big picture you’re painting.
    – I’m much more lefty and socialist than you, but on an individual level, each person who could contribute to this values their time and talent at a certain level. We’re all hustling and side hustling to do right by our families. You’ll want to show folks how being part of this requires minimal additional time/talent. As much as I’d love to freely share everything I do, my wife, my boss, and my coworkers may not feel the same.
    – On that last part, a mindset shift may be in order at many local stand-alones. I’ll admit to being one of them. I’m paid to make our brands as unique/distinct as I possibly can. There’s only so much sharing (or borrowing from others) that’s possible without getting in my own job’s way. – Stations who are investing in their product at a high level would need to be convinced they’re not subsidizing stations who can’t/won’t invest in themselves. Let’s be honest: the reason a lot of stations suck isn’t because they’re broke. It’s because they choose to refuse prioritizing things that matter. You know the famous Alan Mason quote about that, and he’s 100% right.

    Not trying to rain on the idea. I truly do love it. There are some execution hurdles to clear I think. Or if nothing else, the first thing I said about taking this a bite at a time could be how inroads are made. Master this concept at a basic level, show it off, and start on the next level.

    • Jeff

      Okay, Mike … here’s one, small step:

      1. Post your playlist* on a password protected page of your website. Share the link and password with the group.

      * Not that joke of a playlist that’s on your website for listeners. The one you bring to the music meetings with the consultant that has spins, scoring, chart position progression, and all your other research data on it.

      If a confidentiality agreement with your research firm won’t let you share, tell them to drop the confidentiality clause or you’re dropping them.

      Not everyone can afford research. Not everyone who CAN afford research can afford GOOD research.


      • Jim

        I highly recommend that one unsubscribe from Billboard as it is a rigged chart and use several indicators starting with the one that comes with your CMB membership as that one is accurate of all air play.

        We do three (3) auditorium test a year. I would do more if I had the money. Why? We started with one and the ratings doubled and adding more tests we went to #1 and just stayed there.

        Here’s the winning secret; figure out and play only the music your listeners love.

  2. Art

    I think it’s a great idea! Love it!

  3. Dan DeBruler

    I read and considered this, and I also read Jon’s article when it came out. As much as I appreciate the content and thoughts in both, I also see the wisdom in Mike Couchman’s reply.

    Homogenization is a great concept when applied to milk, but not as appealing with things like local radio or world culture. Face it, the recurring defense we mount is that big networks sound great, but they totally deny the uniqueness of any local culture.

    We can share tips and advice all day long (which most of us freely embrace online), and through those we can form friendships and even loose alliances – whether to commiserate with, or bolster one another – but it’s going to come down to each of us as caring enough to affect the local population we serve. We don’t lose because someone has more resources than us, we lose when we give up or stop caring.

    I am grateful for all the good coaching, consulting and show prep I glean from my peers across the country, and hope that something I’ve shared in return has proved valuable at some point. That said, the weight of serving and creating unforgettable experiences in my market is mine to bear.

  4. Ron Maxwell

    Could one of those small steps be creating a co-op agency that represents a coalition of local stations that offers national clients an opportunity to underwrite across all stations?

    • Paul Cameron

      That would only happen if all stations had the same type of underwriting announcements. And based on my experience, there’s too many varieties. We actually created a agency within our organization, to buy time on other stations for different clients if needed.

  5. Chuck Pryor

    I think Paul has some good ideas here. I’ve been on BOTH sides of this equation and I can honestly say you can never out “serve” your listeners (or each other) for that matter and that’s why I think this could work.

    I get Couchman’s concerns too. At what point do you stop doing your own job to help someone else who won’t and hide behind “we can’t afford that.” I had the privilege of programming K-LOVE with all those resources and in many cases we out-performed the local markets. And in many case we did not. I also had the privilege of managing a stand alone that was in the same market as K-LOVE and we out-performed them. What was the difference? The LOCAL product was as good or better. They (we) didn’t have more resources, they (we) just did a better job at being what we could not. Local WITH great content that serves the listeners and community usually wins.

    If creating a co-op with stand alone stations helps each other then why not do it? The rising tide lifts all boats right? If the group gets better then you get better and I think the idea has merit. But remember, this is not you or the Co-Op against K-LOVE. They are not the enemy… They are trying to do the exact same thing you are doing. Use music, media, etc to reach people find and/or strengthen their relationship with Christ. I’m pretty sure that’s the heart of your radio stations and I know for a fact that’s the heart of EMF.

    I also know from first hand experience.

    Going back to my hole now… 🙂


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