The “Voice of Colorado” has no personality and KOA is losing the ratings race.
For decades, Denver’s KOA (850 AM and 94.1 FM) had been a staple atop the Denver radio ratings. Known as the exclusive home of the Broncos, Rockies and Buffs, KOA was the place to go for sports, news and political commentary.
Unfortunately, over the last two years, KOA has lost its way. In the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM ratings, KOA registered a 2.0 – good for 15th overall, behind Colorado Public Radio’s KCFR (news), 104.3 The Fan (sports), Freedom 93.7 (politics), and a plethora of local music stations.
Compare that to February 2019, when KOA’s rating was a 4.7, and was regularly in the top ten.
Why his KOA losing in the ratings race? Here are the reasons (primarily from a sports fan’s perspective):
- Poor FM Signal
- KOA’s 94.1 FM signal is far worse than The Fan’s crystal-clear signal at 104.3 and worse than Colorado Public Radio’s signal at 90.1. The 850 AM signal is very clear but it sounds like an AM station. Captivating content is the only reason to choose AM over FM.
- Limited Content
- KOA doesn’t provide nearly as much content as The Fan. The Fan’s January 15, 3 pm hour of The Drive provided nearly 44 minutes of content while KOA’s 3 pm hour of Big Al & JoJo offered 34 minutes of content. What is KOA packing into those ten minutes? News, weather, traffic, and LOTS of commercials.
- No Target Audience
- Who is “The Voice of Colorado” trying to reach? News junkies? They’re listening to 90.1. Political junkies? They followed Rush Limbaugh to 760 and 93.7. Sports junkies? It’s clear that Denver sports fans prefer The Fan. Part of that preference is due to the fact that sports fans don’t have to endure ten minutes of non-sports coverage at the top of certain hours (for example, “Football at 4” on The Fan starts around 4:02 p.m. whereas it starts around 4:12 p.m. on KOA).
- ‘State-Sponsored’ Sports Coverage
- In talk radio, honesty is a big part of content quality. Hosts on KOA may say they’ve never been told to avoid criticism of the home team, but it’s only natural for avid sports fans to wonder if they can find more honest commentary on a station that’s not the flagship. The Broncos haven’t been good in recent years and listeners want honest analysis of why their team is losing and how it can get better, not just honest analysis of which linebacker is most effective in dime coverage.
- Outdated approach
- Even on FM, because of everything outlined above, KOA sounds like your grandpa’s favorite station or that news station you used to listen to in the ‘80s. It’s obvious most listeners have moved on.