The End of The Sound
The end finally came for The Sound 100.3 FM, Thursday, November 16. It came after weeks of goodbyes, allowed due to the unknown timing of the transfer of ownership of the station from Entercom to EMF, and Entercom management allowing the staff to stay on until the end, a rare gift that was truly appreciated by the Sound staff and listeners alike.
Entercom management does deserve kudos for that, in my opinion, even though they made the decision to sell the wrong station. That just isn’t done very often.
Just before 1 p.m., Andy Chanley, the first DJ to be heard on The Sound almost ten years ago, wrapped it up with these words: “This has been KSWD Los Angeles. This is The Sound. And this dream will self-destruct in three, two, …” followed by silence and one of the most awkward transitions to a new format I have ever heard … including two segments of dead air. The new station is KKLQ, K-Love, yet another (I count six) Christian radio station serving Southern California.
EMF bought the station for far less than market value because Entercom wanted to make sure that the new owners did not compete with existing CBS/Entercom stations as the two companies merged.
What makes this story so interesting is the reaction from listeners. The Sound, after all, was far from a trendsetter station. It played classic rock … how hard is that? How original?
But while the music was part of it, it was far from being the most important element. Indeed, The Sound could have played almost anything. But unlike most stations, The Sound made a bond with listeners that just doesn’t happen often any more.
As mentioned, it wasn’t the music. It wasn’t the album sides played on actual vinyl. It wasn’t the way DJs or programmer Dave Beasing would personally contact listeners to ask what they thought of the station or to answer a question. It wasn’t the special weekends. Nor the concerts. It was all of that and more, including an air staff and people behind the scenes who truly love music, and love and understand good radio. It took time to build this bond, but it was most definitely built.
Perhaps that is why most listeners I have heard from will not be replacing their Sound preset on their radio. They are moving on. To Sirius/XM, to MP3 players, to online listening services.
This is unfortunate, but a reality. Unlike many who think a Sound-like station will never return, I do believe it can … I can give you a list of underperforming stations right now. Hopefully, former Sound programmer Dave Beasing will get another shot to build a great station, and our on-air friends can be heard once more.
Effect on Entercom
The CBS-Entercom merger should be complete by the time you read this, meaning that CBS Radio no longer exists and stations formerly part of one of the oldest broadcasting companies are now owned by Entercom. It was this merger that forced the sale of The Sound (or another local CBS property) as the combined company was over the ownership limit of radio stations in a single city.
That former Sound listeners may leave radio altogether is not good news for Entercom or CEO David Field, who made the decision to sell The Sound. The reason is shared listeners. Yes, Sound fans may have listened to 100.3 more often, but they also sampled Jack (KCBS-FM, 93.1) and KRTH (101.1 FM), both now owned by Entercom.
If those listeners do indeed abandon radio as expected, this may — depending on how much they did listen — negatively affect both Jack and KRTH. Field may have “sold” his way into lower ratings by dumping the one station he had with a rabidly dedicated audience. Not smart. He should have either moved the format to 93.1 or just sold Jack outright. No one cares about Jack.
KOST (103.5 FM) has — as expected — started the Christmas carols, launching its annual holiday music format about two weeks ago.
Also as expected, SiriusXM fired up its holiday music as well. Contemporary (Holly) on Channel 70 and traditional (Holiday Traditions) on Channel 4 are already up and running; soul, country, pops, latin and even Hanukkah music will be available beginning late November and early December.
Head over to http://blog.siriusxm.com/siriusxm-holiday-channels-2017/ for all the details.