Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Entercom Builds A Uniquely "San Francisco" Country Morning Package

With a morning show that includes an African-American guy, a gay guy, a Jewish guy and a blond woman, KBWF-FM (95.7) ("The Wolf") is a country music station the hosts think wouldn't work anywhere but the Bay Area.

It's a team that defies convention and stereotype, and amazingly has made a serious move in only three months toward becoming one of the region's Top 10 shows.

"I guarantee there are heads exploding right now in the Bay Area," says Marcus Osborne, who is African-American and is the show's producer and host. His career has included stints with Renel Brooks-Moon on KISQ-FM (98.1) and Chuy Gomez on KMEL-FM (106.1). "They are really shocked by what they are hearing."

In these days, when radio is as jittery about censorship as one of Dick Cheney's friends would be about accepting a duck-hunting invitation, station program director Scott Mahalick found a way to be outrageous without being offensive: He's thrown together an unlikely cast of characters, whose very nature challenges what country fans are used to hearing.

"We pitched the show as a black guy, a Jewish guy, a gay guy and a blond . . . what could be more Bay Area than that?" asks Osborne, who taped himself and his Jewish friend Gill Alexander doing a fake show as an audition.

I love the headline on this story, which says it ALL: "A little bit of country and a little bit of only-in-the Bay Area!"

It was very nice to see last Thursday's (6/28/07) ARB trends for the Bay Area were good to both country stations. In San Francisco, the Wolf is up 2.2-2.6 12+, while in San Jose, KRTY, with its more traditional country values-based approach also looked good, ranking #7 and trending solidly 3.6-3.6. Hopefully, those country shares keep growing, laying to rest once and for all the fear that country won't work in highly-diverse major markets.

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