Entertainment consulting firm Paragon's latest blog entry, “PubRadio Music Discovery Ratings Explode,” focuses on the impressive number of new music-based non-commercial FM stations in major markets showing growth based on Nielsen's March PPMs, among them Seattle's KEXP and Austin's KUTX.
“Their stories and paths are as different as their local formats,” Paragon founder, owner and CEO Mike Henry writes, citing KEXP's move from a 1.0 share in March 2020 to its current 4th-place standing at a 5.3, and the University of Texas/Austin's KUTX growth from under-2-share delivery a year ago to March's 6th-place 4.4. Henry also notes gains for University of Pennsylvania's WXPN Philadelphia, Fordham University's WFUV New York and Minneapolis Public Radio's KCMP. “These are five great organizations from top to bottom,” Henry says. “All of them are heavily curated on a local level with great air staffs.”
As to the music, the not-so-secret to these stations' success, according to Henry, is their willingness to expose listeners to new and local sounds. “All are not afraid to play unfamiliar music and break format and have also embraced diverse artists and music,” Henry says. “They are all embedded in the local music scene and the local community.
“What do they not have in common? None of them cater to the lowest common denominators and they don’t play the ratings game.”