Just over 14 months after instituting a “Two-Minute Promise” that limited spot breaks to no more than two minutes on all its alternative stations, Audacy has abandoned the practice. However, the promise continues at “107.7 The End” KNDD Seattle, where the concept first originated in 2014.
As part of what it called a commitment to putting the listener first, Audacy limited spot breaks to no more than two minutes starting in September 2020. It coincided with major changes at both its alternative and country stations that included numerous layoffs and expanded use of in-house produced national and voice-tracked content.
But on Monday, Nov. 15 Audacy quietly ended the “Two-Minute Promise” across its alternative portfolio. Instead of four 2-minute stop-sets an hour, the stations now distribute commercials across two breaks an hour, each lasting about 4-5 minutes.
The decision was apparently made due to higher spot inventory demand. It affects stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Detroit, San Diego, Portland, OR, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Sacramento, Richmond and Daytona Beach.
KNDD invented the “2-Minute Promise” in 2014 and saw a ratings bump, moving from eighth to fourth among 18-34-year-olds in Nielsen's Jan-May 2015 PPM survey period with a 6.2 share, up 48% from the same period one year earlier. It also rose from eighth to third in the 18-24 demo, with an 8.2 share in the same period, up 110%.
In August 2019 KNDD was joined by Alt 92.3” WNYL New York, followed in June 2020 by KROQ Los Angeles (106.7) and “Alternative Buffalo 107.7” WLKK Buffalo. WLKK flipped to country in July 2021.
The “Two-Minute Promise” lives on at KNDD, where the station stops down for three 2-minute breaks per hour.
While ending the practice was due to sales pressure for more spot inventory, the stations affected have not substantively increased their spotloads. Instead of eight minutes an hour, they’re now running nine or ten. But the new stop set structure allows them to go higher as demand increases without violating a commitment to listeners.
The practice also had its downsides from a programming perspective. Running four breaks an hour never gave the music a chance to breathe. And virtually all of the imaging inventory on the stations was devoted to trying to find new and clever ways to say, “You'll never hear more than two minutes of commercials at a time.”
Audacy officials declined to comment.