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I am writing this article from Sherman Oaks, LA. A big part of a big city.

I listen to K-Earth 101, the legendary Classic Hits station and probably the model for Classic Hits stations around the world. Or at least it should be.

K-Earth has an exciting morning show… Gary Bryan’s morning show. The station also has highly connected talent throughout the day.

He has the #1 cume in Los Angeles with over 2.3 million!

But what impresses me most about K-Earth is the music policy. Let’s face it….”The Greatest Hits on Earth” is a nice twist on the station’s brand but also a bold one. You have to live up to the brand promise

When was the last time you listened to a Classic Hits station and thought…” mmmm… that doesn’t sound like a classic shot volume?”

Too many stations in the Classic Hits arena are diluting their brand and therefore their ratings performance with a universe filled with weak test songs and poor music programming.

K-Earth has a tighter playlist than many Hot AC stations. K-Earth is laser focused and the ratings don’t lie. Don’t forget, cume #1 in the #2 market in the USA.

Rotations. It’s impressive.

Years ago, with Classic Hits formats, we had to learn how to rotate categories like the 70s, 80s, and 90s based on their decade of release. Right? The older they get, the rotation SLOWS DOWN.

But hey, we are in 2022!

And guess what…. Hit Classic Hits stations have evolved by analyzing not only what songs audiences LOVE, but also how and when listeners actually LISTEN.

K-EARTH embodies this strategy which has paid off in terms of market share and cume (need I remind you…#1 in LA).

You can hear Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”… three times between 6am and 6pm on K-EARTH. Font “Every breath you take” two or three times. The chances of the same listener hearing either song on K-Earth more than once in the same day are minimal. Each song played by the station defines the “Greatest Hits” brand promise.

Chris Ebbott, vice president of programming for all five Audacy stations in Los Angeles, understands what K-Earth audiences love and their listening habits.

Chris Ebbott: A few years ago I was listening to The Steve Dangle podcast – it’s a Toronto Maple Leafs show that a friend of mine, Adam Wylde, co-hosts. He said something that has resonated with me ever since: “A brand is a promise kept”. That’s what we always strive to do with K-EARTH – deliver those great musical moments and positive station vibes immediately after listening.

Every SUCCESSFUL programmer must understand the listening habits and musical preferences of their audience…. WHEN they listen and WHAT they really want to listen to.

In a competitive environment, a Classic Hits format is about songs that audiences LOVE…. not just those they love.

By David Kidd, OPI


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