As former CBS Radio and now Entercom’s “Seattle Country 94.1” KMPS-FM becomes the third radio station in Seattle to flip to all-Christmas, speculation is looming that the new owner is prepping the outlet for a significant change after the holidays. Entercom already owns country “100.7 the Wolf” KKWF in the market.
KMPS went all-Christmas on Friday night, following Entercom’s same-day close on the CBS Radio merger. It joins Hubbard’s AC “Warm 106.9” KRWM and Sinclair’s hot AC “Star 101.5” KPLZ with the seasonal format.
Radio and TV website Puget Sound Media, wrote on Friday, “Most observers see this as meaning a format change will happen after the holiday.”
KMPS on-air personality Deanna Lee, however, is pooh-poohing talk of a format change at the station, writing to staff, “Please take a breath, and let me share that KMPS will always be country. We are just shaking things up a bit with Christmas music. After the holidays, we will have a KMPS that you will recognize and love.”
She added in the message, “Please listen to me and not the fake rumors people are spreading about KMPS. The only thing coming to an end is our CBS Radio family.” Lee also said that “as for the 94.1 on-air staff, promotions and production crew, we are moving to Entercom. We are all still here. None of us lost our jobs. We weren’t fired.”
In fact, KMPS dominates country radio in the market. According to Nielsen’s October 2017 PPM, the former CBS Radio station scored a 3.7 share among listeners aged 6+, down from 4.3 in September. Its cume is reported at 504,4000. Entercom’s country KKWF logged a 3.1 share in October, down from 3.2 in September, with cume of 437,800.
Whether or not Entercom ultimately tweaks KMPS’ country format so it is not a head-to-head competitor with “The Wolf,” the possibility for format flips in the market remain fairly certain. As part of the Entercom-CBS Radio merger, as Inside Radio reported, Entercom was required to divest a number of stations. As a result, iHeartMedia received “The Fan 1090” KFNQ, adult hits “96.5 Jack FM” KJAQ and classic rock KZOK-FM (102.5).
Those three new additions join iHeart’s Seattle cluster that includes hot AC “106.1 Kiss FM” KBKS-FM, sports KJR (950), classic hits “95.7 The Jet” KJR-FM, CHR “Power 93.3” KPWK, modern rock “Alt 102.9” KFOO and rhythmic CHR KUBE (104.9)—although, in order to comply with FCC ownership limits, the company created the Ocean States Trust into which it places two of those stations earmarked for sale: KUBE and KFOO.