Friday, August 03, 2007
Airship Radio Theatre Crashes
This is how I found out that our radio show and all other local shows were no longer to be aired.:The Register-Guard
Liberal station KOPT scraps local content
By Ilene Aleshire
Published: Thursday, August 2, 2007
Liberal-leaning KOPT radio station has pulled the plug on local programming, switching to a nationally syndicated format as of today.
"Despite gaining a loyal listenership, the station, which debuted in November 2004, has been a challenging business venture for Churchill Media," the company said in a statement.
"The challenge is going up against the big guys, the Clear Channels, satellite feed talk radio programs," Churchill Media General Manager Paul Danitz said. Although KOPT did include some satellite feed programs, it also ran a full line news department - an expensive proposition, Danitz said.
Syndicated programming essentially "costs nothing," he said. "You give them a couple of commercial units per hour and they provide you with programming." The only cost to the station is the equipment, and one person to run it, he said.
In contrast, KOPT spent more than $250,000 per year to staff its local news department, Danitz said. Nine news people have now been laid off, he said. One remains.
"Progressive/liberal talk radio is having a very difficult time surviving around the country," Danitz said. "We felt that, with the liberal attitude of the Eugene-Springfield market, we could swim upstream. We couldn't."
The station was never able to get the commercial sponsorship it needed, he said.
Churchill will now concentrate on its core market of Hispanic radio, Danitz said. Churchill owns and operates seven other radio stations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, six of them Hispanic stations.
Churchill got in on the ground floor of Hispanic programming in the Pacific Northwest, and that division is doing well, Danitz said, to the point that KOPT could have survived if it only broke even. In this region, it's still a small market, he said. "But the cost of operating a Hispanic property is far less than the weight of full-line programming."
KOPT will continue to carry syndicated Air America shows - at least for now. Churchill Media President Suzanne Arlie said Wednesday that she is open to selling KOPT. If the station is not sold within three months, she said, it may be converted to a jazz format.
Danitz said that he's been in radio for 37 years, but that Wednesday was a hard day.
"Today when I went down to deliver the news, to a news department that won 20 awards in 18 months, people knew they were under the gun," he said. "But they gave it everything they had, until the last second."