Sunday, April 25, 2010

Radio numbers

Like many I am watching the machinations as Duquesne University looks to sell WDUQ.   I have to admit I don't quite understand radio-nomics these days.   You would think radio would be a dying modality, but it does not seem to be in as dire straits as many other broadcast media.  New competition from satellite services are out there, but don't seem to have subsumed the industry.  I still am curious who in town is listening to any of the HD radio stations that are out there?  Anyone? 

But Duquesne rationally wants to maximize the selling price for the station.  Buyers.   The debate seems to range between $5 and $15 million dollars.  What I've found a bit fascinating are some of the numbers.   The news accounts say WDUQ has an average 166K listeners per week, while the venerable WQED on radio had a comparable 97K listeners.  While I listen to WDUQ a lot more than QED, I just had in my head that WQED had a bigger listenership.  Perception based on it's TV presence maybe.... or possibly just that I figured there was a large classical music audience in town.

What I wonder about is what would make the value of the station change if it were to remain a nonprofit station.  I am presuming that if the station is worth on the high end of the range it is because of it's established market share and existing listenership.  Yet the listenership I presume is driven a lot by the NPR news programming WDUQ airs.  So what I don't get is what value exists if the station format changes.  I think I read WQED is interested in the NPR programming, but is there any reason WYEP could not do the same?   Thus what value can be traded in the market is curious to me.  Is a spot on the dial worth a premium these days in a Pittsburgh media market that has population-wise been declining for decades?  I guess that is the argument.

fyi... the most interesting thing I see out there with information on how this market for radio stations all really works is here:

and of course the real inside scoop on all things in Pittsburgh broadcast media is at:

Speaking of public broadcasting in Pittsburgh... just pure curiosity, but what is up with WQEX?  if anything? or are we forever doomed to have a local station airing the QVC junior varsity?  Does anyone make money on that deal?

and finally.. purely a coincident, but as I typed this it seems that Mediaweek updated it's Pittsburgh profile fwiw.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, here is a micro-blog from Velocity Radio Management that you may want to follow (or watch)regarding the radio biz:

Sunday, April 25, 2010 4:40:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

The news accounts say WDUQ has an average 166K listeners per week, while the venerable WDUQ on radio had a comparable 97K listeners.

Is the second WDUQ supposed to be WQED? I never listen to either of them as they never play Lady Gaga.

Sunday, April 25, 2010 6:07:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

corrected.... thanks.

Sunday, April 25, 2010 7:05:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

You're welcome. It's as close as I'll ever get to supporting public radio.

Sunday, April 25, 2010 7:45:00 PM  
Anonymous kejad said...

Curious about what anyone on here thinks about turning either QED or DUQ into all NPR news and switching the other one to combined jazz/classical. (Really - does anyone under 70 actually listen to the music on either?) It would free up the news station to produce some longer-format content so that they could actually dig into a news story - something that's missing from commercial broadcasting in PGH.

Personally, I'll continue to donate to stations in other towns until local NPR does more than spin music that I can get from Pandora and retransmit national shows that I can stream online. (Thank god for 3G. NPR addicts are no longer hostage to jazz and classical.)

Monday, April 26, 2010 1:21:00 PM  
Blogger Oreopithecus bambolii said...

Personally, I would be fine with the consolidation of DUQ into either QED or YEP --- no matter what happens, I'll probably continue waking up to Morning Edition, then switching over to YEP when it ends (or, since I'm up early enough and unemployed, when it repeats), switching back for All Things Considered and Marketplace, and then either back to YEP or to the game-of-the-night.

I utterly despise Tony Blow-wad---he reminds me of a cross between the Simpson's Comic Store Guy and the guy who hangs out in the corner booth at the local diner, hoping the cool kids will think he's still one of them, even though he's old enough to be their grandfather, and wasn't when he was their age---and I don't particularly care for the music Bob Studebaker plays, either. Most of their local-host staff for the NPR shows are barely competent to boot; I can't count the number of times I've heard them botch transitions, forget to switch from the NPR feed for the Marketplace Morning Report at 550, or simply utterly fail at reading their announcer's copy. Frankly, I don't care what station or foundation ends up with the NPR affiliation, as long as they can the current DUQ staff.

Thursday, May 13, 2010 7:58:00 PM  

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