[JPL] Background to "the query"
wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com
Thu Jun 14 11:37:49 EDT 2007
WEMU is a fun station to listen to, Linda, with a style all its own
and, most importantly, an integral part of the community. The jazz
scene there, which is one of the richest in the State, is well served
by your exemplary radio. Look at the success of WEMU alum Brett
Saunder in Denver to see what a strong foundation in community
broadcasting will earn you.
The pursuit of a younger, technologically savvy audience is a hard row
because many of those listeners do not use traditional FM radio to get
their music. What do you do with that? Changing sound and style for
people who aren't even there and might come over if you can get them
to listen in the first place. That's a tough one, and it is
devastating "rock" or more traditionally pop-oriented youth-market
driven commercial radio's audience (amongst other factors).
Perhaps a reason stations such as Blue Lake can hang on, and probably
will have a solid audience for another 10 or 15 years, at least, is
because our audience is older and don't want to deal with getting
music via complicated technology, just the wonderfully low tech,
ubiquitous FM. We're in a different situation, of course, because the
station's bread and butter comes from the classical audience (though
the incredible influx of the medical industry in Grand Rapids is
attracting the same highly skilled people here that you're talking
about) and we are in no way near a major university "town" (despite
Grand Valley State's growth). By it's nature our jazz programming
draws the demographic you're talking about.
Yet the traditional jazz audience is non-demographic -- all ages, all
"colors," both sexes. There's something in the music that obliterates
traditional marketing models -- when every thing is working.
Though your median age listener is pushing up, so is the general
population. In a sense the listeners will catch up with you as they
age. Probably not a convincing arguement to the University yet still
Michigan's auto industry effects so much of the life of this State,
and it is in such decline, that we're dealing with larger forces here
than can be controlled by programming choices. There are like 60
foreclosures a week right now in Kent County. Nothing we do as a radio
station can stop that.
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