KLIV 1590 AM -- among the last independent, all-news radio stations in Northern California -- abruptly announced it would change its format to country music in the coming weeks.
According to Mercury News, Under the steady hand of the station's 94-year-old majority owner, Robert Kieve, the focus remained stubbornly local: If you were tuned to 1590 on the AM dial, you heard traffic and weather reports about San Jose and Silicon Valley -- not San Francisco or the East Bay.
Kieve blamed the cost of news gathering and declining ad revenues for the shift. "Indeed, in the 30 years that KLIV has been a local news station, it has never made a profit," he said, "it has lost money every year. 2015 was the worst year in our history."
With only five news staffers, KLIV has far fewer guns than a robust news-gathering operation such as KCBS-AM, which finished No. 5 in the most recent San Jose Nielsen rankings -- it was No. 1 in the larger Bay Area market. KLIV ranked 20th in San Jose.
KLIV was trying to appeal to a Silicon Valley audience that skews younger, but the ratings repeatedly showed its listeners mostly had a hand cupped behind their ears, straining to hear. "Our ratings were pretty fair in the older demographic," Kieve said. "But most advertisers really don't care about old people, and as a result we haven't been getting much advertising."
|KLIV 1590 AM (5 Kw DA-N) Red=Local Coverage Area|