Why 93.5 KDAY in Los Angeles is Knocking Out Radio Competition

Hassahn Liggins | Posted Monday, December 10th, 2012 - Category: URBAN


By Hassahn Liggins
 data-recalc-dims=As I was driving in the crazy LA traffic today, I happened to be tuned in to 93.5 FM KDAY, which specializes in playing hip-hop from today but mostly back in the day. As I was listening to radio personality PJ Butta  introduce the song, “Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down“ by Brand Nubian based on a tweet request he received from a listener, I couldn’t help but think of a comment I read a few months back from Arbitron’s Director of Programming Services, Jon Miller.

Basically Miller was impressed with KDAY’s success based on them being a independently owned niche radio station when he said, “It’s pretty impressive to be just outside the top 10 with a niche format, with a less-than-stellar signal, and in the biggest market in the country for radio.” He also suggested that the format could spread around the United States. “I think the sky’s the limit. In today’s media market, if something is good and compelling, the door is wide open.”

He couldn’t have been more correct based off the recent analysis that came out of Arbitron’s Urban PD Clinic, when Doc Wynter said, “Consider how listeners want their music and content as well as what content and music they really want.”

During my 45 minute car ride I heard KDAY do exactly what the good Doc suggested when I heard them play Brand Nubian, Tupac’sKeep Your Head Up,” Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones,” and LL Cool J’s, “Momma Said Knock You Out.” You may be thinking what’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that all the songs have a common theme and they all came directly from the listeners. These songs were all requests by listeners based on tweets they sent to @935KDAY based on the theme of “What song would you dedicate to Manny Pacquiao?” based on his epic loss to Juan Manuel Marquez where he was knocked out cold in their fourth epic battle. With this simple tactic, the phones calls and tweets were rolling in like crazy.

KDAY did something simple but highly effective and significant. They used the hype around the fight, which was a trending topic on Twitter and Facebook, to  their advantage by engaging listeners to request a song, which empowers the listener once they hear their Twitter handle and/or name announced live on the air in regard to their request. Most importantly, by employing this method they are truly listening to their audience and keeping them engaged on-air and social media simultaneously.

This is exactly one of the reasons  SoCal935, who owns KDAY is winning in the ratings department. With a virtually weak signal and a niche sound, they still manage to rank number 12 in the nation’s number two radio market and they are still rising. Time can only tell as far as the fate of this station but right now they are on the right path and their loyal following is increasing and following right behind them.  With that being said, Jon Miller may have been on to something when he suggested that  93.5 FM KDAY could possibly be the blueprint for all future radio formats.

  • Jamillah Muhammad

    I love it! Radio, the way it should be. Listener driven.

  • http://www.kjlhradio.com Gregory Johnson

    Dear RadioFacts,

    First let me say that I thoroughly enjoy radiofacts.com. There is not a day that goes by that I do not check for Radiofacts to learn of the latest urban radio news and views. That said, I read with great interest the article entitled “Why 93.5 KDAY is knocking out radio competition.” The article does a great job of describing how the station converges it’s social media platforms with it’s on-air presentation. Agreed. It was a good promotion to engage the audience around the water cooler talk of the day – the surprise KO of Manny Pacquiao. However, I take issue with a couple of points the article either states or implies.

    1. “KDAY remains ranked #12 in the market” – Not so fast, RadioFacts!! As I peruse the Nov. 2012 PPM book, I just cannot find where they are ranked that high in the market. A ranker pulled6+, Mon-Sun 6a-12m and sorted by average share will show KDAY ranked at 28, KJLH is ranked 27… if you view the ranker by average rating you will find them at #22, tied with KJLH and 2 other stations – however, KJLH is listed ahead in this tie because the audience composition is more pure. .. By average persons KDAY is ranked 28th in the market, while KJLH is ranked 27th. With all due respect, can you please clarify where KDAY is ranked 12th in the nation’s second largest radio market?
    2. Sales: It would be interesting to see KDAY’s strategies relative to sales. It’s curious that the station has a decent cume, but still maintains a modest rating point. How does the station’s innovations on the social media universe translate into digital sales?? Does the cume vs. rating point ratio translate into results for advertisers? I don’t know the answers to these questions, I’m just sayn….
    3. Digital Strategies – the article presents KDAY as a leading edge, innovator when it comes to the utilization of social media strategies and implies that others can learn from them. I submit to you, sir that the digital team at KJLH is and has been at the leading edge of social media convergence. I would put them up against any social media team in the city including those at the major corporations.

    The article says KDAY is knocking out the competition. It describes that even with a weak signal and niche format, the station is finding listeners and ratings success – this due to it’s innovations in the social media universe. I surmise that KJLH is among that competition. But We are not woozy. We are not weak in the knees. We are not on the ropes… In fact, we are vibrant, relevant, bobbing and weaving, sticking and moving… I am not hating – don’t have too. It’s good that KDAY’s innovations receive notoriety and kudos for their broadcast efforts. But, in this market, we are a part of the conversation because as an independently owned, small-signal, niche broadcaster, we are not knocked out. In fact it could be said that we are floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee!!!

    #stillstanding

    Gregory L. Johnson, CDMC KJLH Radio Marketing

  • http://www.radiofacts.com Kevin Ross

    Greg,
    Hope all is great this is Kev Ross. One of my great writers wrote this story and it has many fantastic points. A station like KDAY surviving in today’s radio climate in a multicultural market like LA cannot be easy but they have a niche and they target a growing audience, old school hip hop fans. The writer Hassahn may have been referencing an article in the LA Weekly concerning the 12th position for KDAY >HERE< as I wondered about that myself until I saw it. Otherwise the article appears to be pretty accurate.
    Yes you are correct, KJLH certainly has its place in the market as well and congrats on your current success. Thanks for the comment.

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