I'm disappointed but not surprised. KLO hasn't shown up in the ratings for about a year now, and the standards format is a tough sell with advertisers. The station has been having issues with its transmitter for several months, so Capital Broadcasting probably decided to cut their losses and sell the AM. It's definitely an end of an era in Salt Lake broadcasting. I don't know exactly how long KLO has been owned and operated by the Webb family, but it's been at least 30 years. The Webb's have owned the station at least since I moved to Utah in 1987. When I was in the broadcasting program at Weber State, one of my instructors had the late John Webb as a guest speaker for our class. He was a real nice guy, very humble and unassuming.
Sorry, my bad. That was a poor choice of words, and I'm past the time allotted to edit my post. John didn't pass away until 2014, and it was some time in 1991-92 when he was a guest speaker in our class.
The transition to the new station owner appears to be in progress already. An application for assignment of license has already been filed with the FCC, which states a Form 302-AM application will be filed shortly to change KLO's status from commercial to non-commercial. The over the air signal went off the air around 10:30 this morning, and it was off for about 8 hours yesterday afternoon/evening. I suspect that the towers have to be de-energized to paint them, as mentioned in the Radio Insight article. RIP Unforgettable 1430--it was a good station while it lasted.
I'm really not that surprised either. For whatever it's worth the last time KLO showed in the ratings was the last ratings period of 2019 (Holiday). There was a similar trend a year ago with them not showing Feb-May 2019. Without going too much into the weeds it's safe to say they haven't been a serious threat for many years.
I suppose there's an outside chance of moving some form of the Unforgettable format to 103.1 but I would doubt it. It's likely that such a move would get better ratings than 1430 is getting now, both from being on FM and having a bigger and more solid (though still hampered) signal. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think a hypothetical Unforgettable 103.1 could match what The Wave is getting but the demos would be a couple of decades older. I do think that 103.1 is probably the destination for the KLO callsign. Given the choice of 103.1 or 97.9 I'd choose 103.1 to prevent any confusion over what format is on what frequency. You don't mess with the cash cow. That call sign dates back to 1929 when the station was on 1400. It looks like the current ownership as KLO Broadcasting Co dates back to 1974.
Did I miss anything saying the towers had to be painted immediately?
I was just speculating on why KLO has been off the air for most of this week. It could be because the towers need to be painted, or Capital may just be trying to save money on their power bill. If the towers need to be painted immediately, they might as well get it done while they're waiting on the FCC to approve the license assignment and change 1430 from commercial to non-commercial status. Why risk getting a NOV from "Uncle Charlie" for not maintaining the tower site? Again, it's merely speculation on my part. It just seems odd to me that KLO has only been on the air for about 8 hours per day this week.
I have a question in regards to the KLO call letters being excluded from the sale of the station. In the era of PPM ratings, Voltair, etc., are a station's call letters really that important? Other than the historical significance of a three letter call and the nostalgia factor, I don't really understand the importance of retaining the KLO identity, unless Capital has plans to move the "Unforgettable" format to FM. With the exception of the talk formats on KLO from 2001-2018, the station has always had various music formats over the years. I'm also wondering what will happen with KLO's coverage of Weber State athletics now that the station has been sold. I know the rights to broadcast the games is negotiated through Learfield IMG College, and I'd imagine there's some kind of monetary penalty if the terms of the contract are not met. Thoughts?
Good questions. In PPM markets you're right that the callsign isn't needed for ratings purposes. It IS still the way national advertisers keep track of each station, though other than the satellite fed spots I don't think KLO had any national advertisers. I think you're right that the historical/nostalgia factor is important and you can't discount that it could be tricky regaining a three letter call (though returning KHJ to 930 Los Angeles was a flimsy excuse at best.) Something I'd at least be thinking about if I were them would be trying to distance myself from the new owners. If someone gets ticked off at El Sembrador I wouldn't want them coming after me thinking I still owned the station. That may have also played a part in the same provision being in the contract for the former KWCR-FM when it got sold to Educational Media Foundation. I speculated at the time Weber State might have been trying to sell it, but if they tried it didn't work. The KWCR callsign is still available today. It's possible Capital has a buyer for the KLO callsign though I wouldn't think it has that high a probability. There is a KKLO in Kansas City though that station has had those calls since 1988. We'll see I guess.
The Weber State sports are definitely intriguing. The first thing we'd need to know of course would be what the effective dates of the contract are. If they happened to expire at (what would have been) the end of the spring semester then everything's good. Things don't tend to work out so neatly though. I've been reading that there is a lot of friction around the rights that Learfield has and the money around it.
No offense to Weber State but this isn't Learfield's biggest problem right now so they might be more inclined to just make it go away than they might normally be. To be honest it seems to me that the easiest solution is one that arguably should have been done already. That is, move the sports broadcasts to The Wave. The Wave format seems to me to be more compatible with college age kids than a soft AC format or even the old talk format. You could also argue that Now 97.9 is even more compatible with college age kids, but that's where Capital makes its money and regular disruptions to the music could be a liability and push listeners to other stations and have them stay there.
It's also possible that Capital has no obligation at all. It would depend on how the contract is written. If it's specifically tied to 1430 and Capital doesn't own 1430 anymore then the contract might be null and void as far as they are concerned. There might be something in the contract saying the obligations are to be transferred if the station is sold (I've heard of that), but since it's almost certain we aren't going to get to read the contract we really can't know until someone releases a public statement.
It's hard for me to articulate but i think i see what you mean about the Wave being potentially compatible with college kids, but IMO not really. I'd say it's more in line with people 35-49. But i do agree that it makes way more sense to put WSU Athletics on 1031, i think if they put them on KBZN they'd be seeding more listeners to KSFI, KJMY and KBEE. And maybe some to KZHT, KUDD and 949/1019. I don't know which call letters they're using at power. With the gains KJMY has made, and KBEE to a lesser degree, they can't afford to lose any ground to anyone. KBZN had a nice run a while back where they were ahead of KSFI, but that changed a while ago with the exception of 1 ratings period i think 2-3 months ago? I think the only station that's proven they can get away with deviating from their format is KSFI.
Post by oldiesfunhouse on Jul 27, 2020 8:26:38 GMT -7
Like 570, perhaps? Does 570 cover any area that 105.9 doesn't? What demo of audience does KNRS mostly caiter to? Are there people that still have AM only radios, in old trucks, for example, that wouldn't be able to hear Limbaugh, Hannity, and the rest if KNRS became an FM only? That would be kind of bringing 570 back to the old KLUB days if the current format went along with KLO's calls. Are there markets where the Limbaugh/Hannity/Noory station is an FM only? 860 might be an option. That would get rid of Cumulus's only outlet for its talk shows and I think 1430 has much more power than 860, even during the day but I could be wrong. I'm trying to think what other full market AMs would be available. I doubt the Millers would want to get rid of 1280. 97.5 has a hard time getting into certain areas. I THINK Broadway is doing fine with 700 plus that being the home of the Utes, it doesn't seem like it would make sense for Broadway to move that. Unless Broadway wanted to move the KALL/ESPN format to one of its FMs. There are a number of markets where the sports stations are FM only. It is interesting that Capital decided to keep the KLO calls but not 1430. It will also be interesting to see what calls the new owners give to 1430.
The KLO call letters were excluded from the sale of 1430 because Capital Broadcasting is going to re-assign them to either 97.9 or 103.1. It's clearly mentioned in the asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. As CA said previously, the most likely destination for the KLO call is probably 103.1 KSQN. Most KBZN listeners probably have no idea of the historical significance of those call letters.
The chances of Capital or another broadcaster resurrecting the America's Best Music format on another AM station is probably less than zero. It costs a lot of money to cover the cost of the power bill and transmitter maintenance for a 25 KW unit. KLO's transmitter has been having issues for several months now, and the AM is likely a huge drain on Capital's bottom line. The only way for some AM stations to remain on the air these days is to reduce transmitter output power to save money on their electric bills. Even major market AM stations are struggling to remain solvent because of the Covid-19 pandemic. WBBM 780 in Chicago recently reduced power to 35 KW days and 42 KW nights after being 50 KW 24/7 since 1935, and their transmitter and antenna now share a tower with WSCR 670. WBBM has also had to cut back on their in house news staff to stay afloat. Dozens of the smaller "mom & pop" AM's have given up altogether and surrendered their licenses to the FCC recently because of huge losses in ad revenue. Non-profits like El Sembrador get plenty of tax breaks to offset the lack of advertising revenue, so they have more wiggle room in their budget than for profit broadcasters like Capital. I believe non-commercial broadcasters also qualify for reduced FCC fees; as long as their nonprofit status is current and up to date with the IRS.
Could the standards format turn up on another AM station in the Salt Lake area? It's possible, but not likely. Oldies and standards appeal mostly to the 35-75 age group, which is not a desirable demographic to most advertisers. Right or wrong, once you're over 50, you're all but invisible to most advertisers that aren't hawking life insurance, retirement plans, nutritional supplements, or ED treatments.
Last Edit: Jul 27, 2020 10:52:33 GMT -7 by David: Grammar
Post by amanuensis on Jul 27, 2020 13:54:43 GMT -7
If the KLO call sign does get reassigned to one of the FMs, I think KBZN would be the more likely to get replaced. That call sign is leftover from The Breeze format. So has no relevance to Hot AC. But I struggle to see the point of replacing either of them.
Perhaps a station in Logan would like the KLO call sign. Until I learned that historically KLO referred to Ben Lomond Peak, I had assumed that it was a reference to Logan.
If 570 gets purchased by Capital, they could use the KLO call sign to market the fact that they would be at the bottom of the AM dial. Something like, "When they went high, we went LOw, KLO 570 Salt Lake City." "Friends in Low Places" could be bumper music.
Post by christopherjohn on Jul 27, 2020 16:13:05 GMT -7
Who knows where the calls will end up. I can’t blame them for getting rid of that AM. The average person has no idea how much it costs to operate one especially since many people don’t even tune into the AM band anymore. And then with this pandemic, sales tanked everywhere.