Monday, December 8, 2014

CO Radio: In A World Of Radio Goliaths..Meet A 'David'

In a world filled with streaming music services, satellite radio, iPods and even the occasional CD and cassette player, does anyone listen to radio anymore?

Mike Knar
Why, yes they do, Mike Knar tells the Colorado Springs Gazette, which is why he and his wife, Lori, started Southern Colorado Radio - better known as SoCo Radio - nearly three years ago. They began with one station, KFEZ 101.3 FM, which went live at the end of 2012. Now, two years later, they have four southern Colorado stations, including one that launched Nov. 1, plus a management agreement with a station in Pueblo and a sales arrangement with two others in Colorado Springs.

They have 20 to 25 employees.

And the operation is profitable, he says.

Still, they're mindful of the challenges, not only from the constant advancements in technology, but from the David-and-Goliath landscape of radio. The U.S. radio industry is dominated by two giants: iHeartMedia, formerly Clear Channel, and Cumulus Media. iHeartMedia owns and operates 840 broadcast radio stations in 150 U.S. markets, while Cumulus has 525 stations in 110 cities, according to the companies' websites.

Knar, however, sees opportunity in a locally owned enterprise with a regional presence.

"Sure, the bigger conglomerates are funneling money into the market through the employees they hire," Knar says. "But most of that money is taken out of the market. We tell advertisers that."

KFEZ 101. FM (95.5Kw) 60dBu Coverage
An even bigger advantage, he says: Major decisions don't have to make their way up the corporate ladder.

"If someone in my string of stations needs something, it's provided rapidly," he says. "I don't have to ask anybody."

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