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O'Malley Says New York is No Gimmie


Having launched WYNY as a country station for NBC and programming it from 1987-1992, Mike O'Malley from Albright & O'Malley & Brenner has a unique perspective on the Cumulus flip to Country yesterday. He says the New York metro is a great country market but it will not be a slam dunk. "With 1-million-plus cume, there are lots of fans and potential P1s, but New York is different," O'Malley writes in his latest blog, which he shared with Radio Ink last night. Here's some of what O'Malley writes. 

"Over the years Ive often been asked, Why is there no country station in New York? Ive responded that three big factors are in play: signal, power ratios, and the corporate passion for the format. Certainly one of the challenges for country in the New York metro is that big pockets of the audience live to the east (Long Island) and to the southwest (New Jersey). You can be talking in the neighborhood of 100 miles between the eastern and western pockets of the metro, so a signal with a big footprint is necessary if youre going to be able to reach the maximum audience."

"Obviously the revenue potential is a key consideration of any format decision, and formats have various power ratios (a power ratio of 1.2 means you can generally charge 20% above your ratings). These ratios vary across formats and across the country, so if the power ratio of one format is better than another, that would be a consideration. Recently countrys national Power Ratio was 1.07;   all news was a 2.0. That may or may not be what country is today in market #1."

"Yes, New York IS a different market for the format. The degree to which the plan is customized for the best prospects will make a difference. Dont get me wrong. Im not in any way advocating watering the format down but New Yorkers wont accept medium as an acceptable suit size. Country wont be a gimmie. But Im excited for the industry and the fans that country has made a return to a great country market - hey, Jason Aldean sold out the Garden in 10 minutes and Brett Gardner, outfielder for the New York Yankees has been playing country music as his walk to the plate music in Yankee stadium for years. Plus there's the market's strong sale of country music. The blueprints for success are well documented.  The potential rewards are great.  The bar is high."

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(1/22/2013 2:37:20 PM)
Doc - I think the signal is adequate and there is certainly no need to cover the 5 boroughs. All the cume will be coming from the burbs. Country today is just bad pop and there is a huge appetite for bad pop. The NYC metro is no different. It's just a matter of selling it. As we all know, stations don't go away because of ratings; they go away because the group can't sell it.

- Realist

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