- Associated Press - Saturday, August 22, 2015

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - These days radio is a lot more than playing songs on a request line.

“You are not just a broadcaster, you are a content creator,” said J.R. Ramsey, better known as the DJ Dr. Nick Redbone on 103.1 The Edge.

Though Americans have more options today, with online and satellite radio, traditional AM/FM radio continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the American public with 91 percent of Americans ages 12 and older, says a 2014 Pew Research Center analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

“The DJs that are doing it successfully have become entertainment brands unto themselves,” Ramsey said. “The Dr. Nick Redbone brand is a 24 hours job and every jock worth his salt is doing the same thing.”

KEDJ plays rock music and receives a 7-day audience of 2,472 listeners, according to the Fall 2014 Eastlan Ratings, a privately held media-research firm headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. KEDJ is owned by Lee Family Broadcasting Group. The company’s top listened to station is KZDX Hot 100, which plays music from the 80s to modern hits. The station brings in a 7-day audience of 4,779 listeners.

Eastlan Ratings was formed in 1999 and provides radio audience measurement data to over 450 subscribing radio stations in more than 90 markets across the United States.

Ramsey said besides having an on-air presence, having an online presence is just as important. That’s getting a Facebook page, webpage, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and audio platforms like SoundCloud.

More than half of Americans ages 12 and older have listened to online radio in the past month, according to 2015 survey data from Edison Research, an indication that online listening continues to move rapidly and more of that listening is now being done through mobile devices than through desktops.

Larry Johnson, president and general manager at Locally Owned Radio, and his wife, Stephanie have owned the company since August 2003.

“We love it. Once you get in your blood, you got it,” Larry said.

One of the biggest differences since 1985, when Larry got into the business, is that radio was live 24 hours a day. Now a majority of radio is automated.

“Just like every other industry in the world, with computers and the Internet, everything has changed dramatically,” he said. “I can run an entire radio station from a bedroom. We are not live 24 hours a day. We can sound like we are live 24 hours a day, but we are not.”

One of Locally Owned Radio’s most popular stations is KTPZ Music Monster, which plays top 40 hits and features local DJ Joey Bravo.

KTPZ receives a 7-day audience of 9,064 listeners.

“All of our stations have been our most popular at one time or another,” Larry said.

At one time, BOB FM was the top station. It plays a variety of music from the 70s to present-day hits.

“Where there has been attrition in other media, radio hasn’t really seen that,” Larry said. “I think it’s because it’s free, easy and affordable. You can take it everywhere. You can watch TV in a lot of cars, but you can’t drive while do it.”

In the Magic Valley, the radio station that tops others in listeners is KEZJ, owned by Townsquare Media. The country station receives a 7-day audience of 13,678 listeners. The company’s news and talk station KLIX AM, received a 7-day audience of 8,158 listeners in 2014. In 2011, KLIX AM had its highest 7-day audience of 11,866. KEZJ’s audience has increased over the years and its numbers are on par with last year’s. KLIX FM plays classic hits and receives a 7-day audience of 5,933 listeners.

“People are still driving their cars and listening to the radio when they are at work at home,” Janice Degner, general manager of Townsquare Media said.

Degner said radio trends are also influenced by up-and-coming generations. Kool 96.5 used to play music from the 60s and 70s. Now anything from the 60s is rarely played and the station plays more music from the 70s and 80s.

“The definition of oldies is changing,” she said. “The one thing with radio that is different from the rest is that it’s free and it doesn’t cost you anything to listen. It goes everywhere you go.”

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com


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