For the listeners and the air staff, that's true.
But, generally, from a business point of view I have to privately admit it's simply not, especially in markets where media buyers generally refuse to buy two country stations at good rates.
Doubly so in PPM measurment markets where direct format competition has often driven down shares, making point levels shrink.
This was reinforced for me in September 1999 when longtime Detroit incumbant W4 Country typically had higher ratings with country than did WYCD, lack of advertiser revenue led W4 Country to switch to a classic rock format and WYCD never looked back from a revenue viewpoint.
The same thing played out a decade ago in San Diego. Local observers claimed that neither Lincoln Financial nor the company formerly known as Clear Channel made any money during a costly fight, but when it ended KSON rose back to the top of the audience and revenue rankings, where they remain today.
iHeart's K-102 and CBS' Buz'n have been going at it in a virtual tie after three years in the Twin Cities in what has been a costly battle for both companies. The last time KEEY had an attacker in this position they purchased it, leading to two decades of revenue and audience dominance. This time, BUZ'N came out just as Taylor Swift was on the upswing.
Back before PPM measured Boston a very competitive fight went on between WKLB and WBCS (Boston's Country Station) from 1993 to 1995. The victor in that battle was Greater Media. They have been extremely powerful from a revenue and ratings perspective for the 20 years since then. Fighting for format ownership in country can be lucrative, long term.
It's been almost 20 years since the last competitive assault in Orlando for country, which even included Cox's K-92 buying the attacker just before it went country. Three years later they took it out of the format, leading the market for much of the intervening time with just one country station, part of a solid cluster with broad reach.
Until now, as JVC closed on WHKQ Monday and then quickly launched 103.1 The Wolf on Friday.
Things to watch:
- Is this the beginning of a new post-consolidation age in competitive format battles?
- In the past, new stations launched as formats were on the upswing. Is this a good time to launch a new radio station in the country format against a strong competitor?
The accountants, not so much.