Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Support Montana's Air America station

Air America, as everybody knows, is the nationally syndication of progressive talk radio programs. It also happens to be wildly successful -- apparently people like hearing progressive viewpoints. Montana’s only Air-America affiliated station is located right here in Missoula: KKNS. (That’s 105.9 on your FM dial, folks.) In fact, it’s the only progressive talk radio between Spokane and Denver. Recently a new ownership group has moved in with funding for the station: Simmons Media. One of the first moves the new ownership made was to cut staff despite the station's ratings success. What’s going on? I recently ran into Lesley Lotto, the News Director for KKNS. (See the KKNS page for a link to her bio.) In our conversation, she felt that the layoffs were a business decision, that the station wasn’t making money, and the new ownership wanted to trim the budget. I asked her for a written statement, and she sent me an email:
We recently got new investors who are straight business folks. When they took over the “operating” of the business they immediately released three staff members. We’re pretty much a one-man band so to speak now.
I did a little research on Simmons Media – it was the gut reaction of a raving online liberal, I admit – and found...well...nothing. Simmons Media owns a wide variety of stations, including sports talk, alternative, country, and pop formats. They do seem interested in making money. And I think it’s a good thing that they felt KKNS worth a financial risk. So, well, how can we help keep Air America in Montana? Lesley:
We are sure there is an untapped audience still out there, unaware we exist. The listeners we do have are loyal and have blessed us with fantastic ratings after only 6 weeks on the air. We want to get the word out that we’re fighting hard to stay on the air, but it’s a matter of time if don’t get listener support in the way of supporting our advertisers and also participating in advertising for local businesses. We’re passionate about what we do, but the fact is, we’re a business, too!
Get the word out! Get listening! Visit and buy from Air America’s advertisers and, if you know any businesses, let them know that spots on the station are very inexpensive right now. (Heck! Maybe 4&20 should take out a spot or two...) Parting shot from Lesley:
We need help keeping Montana’s only Air American station on the air in Montana. Thanks for your support!
UPDATE: Leslsey reminded me that Simmons Media doesn't own KKNS, but is a station investment group. (Kevin Terry of Spanish Peaks Broadcasting is still the sole owner.) Also to help the Missoula station, patronize KKNS sponsors, not the national sponsors. (Although you can choose to buy stuff from those as well...)
We want Air America in Kalispell!!!

The last time I went through Missoula I stopped my car just to listen to AAR for a while because the signal was so weak that I couldn't hear most of it while the car was running east or north of Missoula.

We love Air America and we think it would be a big hit around here if we could figure out how to get it here. Is it possible to do whatever NPR does so we could hear it here too?
You can actually listen to Air American over the internet. Follow the link to the website! (Actually, I'm not sure if the local website is airing the station; the national site definitely has a way to stream radio content...)
Regarding KKNS--Who starts a radio station without the necessary capital to weather the initial run?

Something doesn't pass the smell test here... and I think there is more than simply leslie's smug 'it's a business response'.

Unfortunately, Leslie wasn't too good at what she did. Fortunately, the station format was good and it should have survived. In any event, because of the strong numbers it posted. The first one's were posted just prior to Al Frankin's arrival in Msla., there seems more here.

I wonder if Msla Peaks paid there tab etceteras.

Now Missoula is without an alternative voicing of opinions-something that was sorely needed. Evidently, Msla Peaks broadcasting naively thought that ratings alone would be enough to get people to pay for advertising with them. In MT., because it's so 'old boy's club-ish' it takes more than ratings to penitrate the the mrkt.

This sucks.
I can't argue with you there, anonymous. You're probably right.
My impression is that people anticipated Montanan's to be more flexible--anticipated that airing a program with good ratings would be enough and would attract advertisers. That's true in most radio & t.v. markets-certainly larger ones. Sadly, in Montana there is a disease of 'old boys' club mentality that the station and others probably didn't think would be so difficult to overcome; They were wrong. Lack of sales force motivation to sell certainly couldn't have helped either.

I think that the hard-cold reality of MT is just that. It's an ugly side to an otherwise beautiful state. Yet, people are unwilling to talk about or acknowledge the presence of such dynamics.

Clearly, breaking into markets here requires more than ratings.

In that sense, it's a sad day.

Montanan's want to think they are opened minded and accepting in a "down home" sort of fashion. They're not-or else people would have been more willing to advertise. Not only are most business owners republicans-hence their ideology played a role in their business decisions--

But, they are also aware that Montanans are not as forgiving, kind, and cognitively flexible. -ick-
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?