Wednesday, July 18, 2007

APM to buy DC Station?

First reported in the DC area on the website and now in the Washington Times: American Public Media appears to be the leading bidder for WGTS, a Contemporary Christian radio station serving the DC area.

There's no word on what format APM might put on the air if it buys WGTS, but one thing is for certain. The impact will be felt at NPR as well as at WAMU and WETA. Having a station presence in the nation's capital gives APM greater national programming clout and the opportunity to compete for a big pot of DC-based underwriting dollars.

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Anonymous Man who's an APM fan said...

This should be interesting, since APM's strategy with KPCC in Los Angeles has been, essentially, to air the standard fare of news/talk offerings...and to air all of APM's news/talk shows (understandably). This works fine in LA because their main competition (KCRW) was - and is - a mix of music and talk.

Although I find it somewhat odd that both of them air Marketplace and The World. Maybe it's a reflection of KCRW's better signal. [shrugs]

Anyways, that approach won't work in DC because WAMU already has that schedule covered and covered well.


Perhaps even more important is to recognize that for the first time we have a content distributor that is starting to move into the station ownership business on a national level. Imagine the howls of protest if NPR tried to buy out member stations and run them directly. Yet for some reason nobody seems to mind that APM is doing it.

Certainly this is a "smart" move in the sense that the existing NPR/affiliate revenue model is showing its age and floundering in the wake of internet distribution.

But in the long run, what happens to competitors that air APM programming in a market where APM buys a station? Assuming both stations have comparable broadcast range...sooner or later APM is going to cut them off so that APM can maximize the revenue from their programming; the money from fundraising can be much, much better than the money from affiliate fees.

I sense a showdown looming...

10:49 AM  

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