Here’s an informative interview that takes a look at how local radio is done today, and how much small or unrated market listeners depend on their local stations for news, entertainment, sports, weather, emergency info and in this case, regional agricultural news. 1-kW KNAB (1140 AM “The Peoples Choice”) Burlington, Colorado, airs an Adult Standards music format and features programming and news from Cumulus Media Networks and Dial Global. KNAB-FM, at 51-kW, features Modern Country music. The station also has a website, www.knabradio.com. RBR-TVBR spoke with the owner and GM, Bette Bailly:
How is local radio viewed differently in small and unrated markets?
Small market radio is different because there is no competition, but because there is also the limited number of advertisers we need to keep our customers in mind when selling advertising and also their customers because we need to keep people shopping locally. Locals depend on getting information from the radio on a daily basis. Our local newspapers are only published once a week, so our listeners listen to find out what is happening in the community daily.
How do you sell your stations without Arbitron ratings?
We get to know the townspeople, businesses, schools, organizations, etc. We know what is happening in the community and use these events and happenings to sell advertising to our clients.
Who handles national sales for you and how valuable is it to the bottom line?
I handle national sales. They are very important to our bottom line. In a small market you have a limited number of businesses, so national sales helps generate revenue we wouldn’t have without it
What local programming and services do you air?
We air farm programs, local weather including weather warnings, ABC News at the top of the hour, local sports (we cover high school games on the radio, funeral notices, swap shop, “puppy posse”, and Community Calendar, which lets people know what is happening in the community.
Tell us about your radio history.
In 1967, I came to work for KNAB-AM as an engineer. In 1980, the station added a FM station. I am now the owner/operator of KNAB-AM/FM.
What advice do you have for large and medium-market broadcasters? What might they have forgotten about our medium?
Get to know your people, towns, and the area you serve. If you know your customers, you can serve them better.
Tell us how you sell your stations locally.
We make calls on our customers on a weekly basis with the hopes of updating their ads, learning their new products, etc. If we know what is going on with them, then maybe we can help them grow their business and keep listeners in the area when they do their shopping, etc.
How do you integrate local voices into your programming and content?
Our broadcasters do public affairs programs, school news and local news live, We also do local interviews about local issues to keep the public informed.
How much of what you air is produced locally, vs. nationally/syndication? Why?
At least 75% of our customers are local and we produce their ads in house. We do carry Dial Global for music, ABC News at the top of the hour, etc. It is hard to get qualified people to cover the station 24 hours a day, so we do as much locally as we can and then have Dial Global carry the music.