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Robin Mitchell certainly tried to challenge KKNU with 95.3 The Moose, and as far as programming and promotion he did a fine job. However, the reason he couldn’t come close in ratings is due to ownership. Cumulus ran 95.3 as a jukebox, without any live personalities. Mitchell was the only contributor of content, with liners and promos.
In contrast, McKenzie River Broadcasting runs KKNU as a full service, live, local station. It has the consistently top-rated morning show in the market, with three solid, likable personalities who’ve been in the market for decades. They keep a warm body in the studio 24/7, their engineering is second-to-none, they pay cash for prime-time TV spots during the book, they sponsor prominent events, they spend tens-of-thousands of dollars every year on programming research.
KKNU is number one because of ownership/management’s commitment to a solid product and an investment that returns. Cumulus (and others who have tried to compete) is committed only to its own bravado.
If KNRQ ever moves to Portland, Cumulus may want to replace the frequency in Eugene.
Cumulus can’t manage, program, or sell their way out of a wet paper bag. Great idea, but it won’t happen.
Even if another group threw together a country format, they still wouldn’t have Barrett Fox & Berry, good management, and state-of-the-art facilities/transmission. They could put a dent in KKNU’s ratings, but I don’t think anyone is in a good position to compete with them for the long haul.