The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

22 September 2009

SF Politicians Consider Dictate On Radio Content


"Progressives" Not Happy About End Of SF Gay Radio

Can San Francisco
successfully compel a radio station to resurrect their failed "gay" music format?

Utilizing the same mob-rule tactics that have come to define "progressive" activism in the Bay Area, San Francisco politicians are "encouraging" the new owner of KNGY-FM, known as "Energy 92" to bring back the full-time gay programming it featured until earlier this month. In a national political environment where a crackdown on political talk programming still looms, the outcome of this battle could prove telling.

Now run by Golden State Broadcasting's Ed Stoltz, KNGY's call letters have been changed to KREV and the outlet has switched from dance club beats and gay-themed talk to basic Top 40 hits.

As KNGY, ratings were abysmal, especially considering the Bay Area's far-left climate and substantial gay population. According to Arbitron, the station earned just a 0.6 overall audience share in the most recent figures released two weeks ago. It failed to rank even in the top 35 stations locally, placing just behind Air America's KKGN (Green 960), which also had a 0.6. By comparison, top-rated KGO's share was 6.1.

But that hasn't
even been a consideration for Bay Area politicians and activists, who see the format change as an affront to their community. As a result, they're "encouraging" Stoltz to rethink the move. The resolution introduced by Supervisor Bevan Dufty is a step in that direction.

If he knows what's good for him, is it safe to refuse the "request"? Activists have already begun a pressure campaign that includes phoning Stoltz at home and peppering him with questions about the operation.

Since there is little doubt "progressives" will back Obama's coming crackdown on talk radio, how could they possibly walk away from the chance to strong arm KNGY's forced return to the airwaves?

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  • If the SF City Council wants gay-friendly programming so badly why don't they buy a local radio station and put it on themselves?


    By Anonymous Ralph Gizzip, at 23 September, 2009 18:43  

  • This is how decisions will be made. Not whats right or what makes economic sense but political pull.

    This is how "diversity" and "localism" is going to work under Obama's FCC.

    By Blogger GeronL, at 23 September, 2009 20:47  

  • When Energy 92.7 first started out in 2004 it had a a great launch (its rating were pretty good) with a great tag line; "The Beat of the Bay"

    While the station did work with its "gay audience" it also made a effort to reach out to others as well. This is why its raiting in the beginig were so good as there was alot of cross over audience.

    Then everything changed...

    A new program director came in and "The Beat Of The Bay" tag line was changed to "Pure Dance" (the minunite dance purists come in you know your in trouble). Lets not forget a atenna switch that did little to improve the signal quality. Lets also point out that the "pure dance" meant good dance remixes of popular songs were replaced with repittious "club anthems" sprinkled with too many Madonna songs.

    Also the station ditched its corss over appeal to narrowcast on the residents of castro distrct only. This narrowcasting reached its peak when they hired the vastly overrated "Karel" to do a talkshow 5 nights a week.

    I ask you this: What is a boring talkshow host doing on a dance station that bills its self as "pure dance"?

    I'm a dance music fan and I gave up on them in 2009. The music was bad, I'll listen to KFI for a crappy talk shows and it doesnt help that the signal sucked.

    Could a narrowcasting that Energy 92.7 did work? Yes, as long as you did not pay $30 million for a station that has trouble covering the makret your supposed to serve.

    I do belive a dance station could work. Energy in its early years proved that it could.

    It was fun while it lasted.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 September, 2009 23:11  

  • One other thing:

    When you pay over 30 million for a station that does not cover all of the makret that is a formula for disaster.

    Yes energy 92.7 was billing $5 million a year and had a power ratio (share of revenue / share of audience) of .9 but that wont cover the huge debt load or people ratings killers like Karel.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 September, 2009 23:33  

  • So, what is exactly gay music? What is gay radio?
    Thanks for the article, I used it on my blog.

    By Blogger Dan, at 24 September, 2009 02:13  

  • San Francisco Liberals may belong to the Democrat party, but they do not believe in Democracy.


    By Blogger PCD, at 24 September, 2009 07:31  

  • I agree with "anonymous" about the poor coverage. Since the days of KJAZ, 92.7 has been a weak frequency, barely audible in the East Bay on the other side of the Caldicott tunnel.

    But I don't necessarily agree with Brian about the San Francsico political influence. The Supervisor's resolution uses the word "encourage" not "dictate."

    By Anonymous ttc, at 24 September, 2009 12:27  

  • tcc: "Encourage" changes meaning when you have strangers calling your house to tell you what to do at work. It's not much of a step to move up to protesters in front of their homes. What comes after that?

    By Blogger Mike, at 30 September, 2009 20:01  

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