While Nielsen’s PPM trends continue to show classic rock in year-over-year growth mode across most key demographics, the format was basically flat from January to February of this year. One major exception: iHeartMedia classic rock KZOK Seattle, which over the period soared from ninth-ranked to second in persons 6+, Mon-Fri 6am-7pm, for a 63.5% gain, while 25-54s were up 23.7% to move from 11th in the market to eighth.
KZOK, the latest station in Inside Radio’s By The Numbers series focusing on AQH gainers from January to February, also saw its highest daily cume persons since last November, with a gain of 20,000 since January, and its highest daily time spent listening in the past year.
“When we see [this] growth, it is part of our long-term strategy for KZOK and [its] position in the marketplace,” Program Director Chris Sargent says. “This is a legendary brand that continues to evolve.”
For KZOK, ‘legendary’ is no exaggeration. Its history as a classic rocker dates back to 1985, making it one of the first stations to adopt the format. What’s more, KZOK had been playing much of that same music for a decade prior to that point, during its time as a current-based album-oriented rock outlet.
What may be driving February’s uptrend, according to Sargent, is driving itself. “Seattle is seeing more commuters as people return to the office,” he says. “Some of this [growth] may [also] be [due to] natural listening habits post-holidays and getting back to normal.”
Whether with in-car or office listeners, working in KZOK’s favor is staying the course with its air talent, including “The Danny Bonaduce & Sarah Morning Show” which has been a part of the station since 2012. Says Sargent, “We are at about the three-year mark of our current roster, and feel the audience is getting comfortable with [the lineup],” which also includes Aly middays, Tanner in PM drive and Big Rig at night.
Also a factor during February were KZOK’s core artist- and local sports-driven on-air promotions, such as its Metallica Take the Field Weekend, Big Game Block Party and Spring Training Music Blocks. “For Q1, we focused on Seattle, topical, and [our] huge commitment to live music events that are dominating Seattle in 2023,” Sargent says.
While KZOK’s Jan.-Feb. growth story also included a 2.2-share-point leap from ninth to top-ranked in persons 6+ Mon.-Sun., it’s all in a day’s work for Sargent, who says, “We have continued to embrace the evolution of the music brand. – Rich Appel