By Hassahn Liggins
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’s “Keep 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.