Beach Radio riding wave of success

Popularity of the radio station has grown by 262 per cent

Before sunrise Thursday, Beach Radio’s managers converged in one of the offices at the station and waited for what’s arguably the most important news of their year to drop — the Numeris Ratings.

“Oh God, there it is,” said Russel James, the senior program director with Beach Radio, when the package of listener ratings appeared on his screen. Program director Ross Winters and general manager for the Okanagan’s leg of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Karl Johnston,, fell silent while he processed the information.

“Yes, that’s it, it’s good,” said James, as he read. “That’s awesome!”

Tension gave way to jubilation in the minutes that followed and Johnston shared the numbers that are rendered in a variety of ways. With just one package of information they learned that Beach Radio’s gargantuan push for market share, which included things like generous prize giveaways, guerrilla marketing of placard-waving people on the side of the road, and a new roster of high profile talent, paid off.

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Johnston pointed out they were expecting some positive results from the effort.

“We couldn’t have done worse than last time,” he said.

A year ago Beach Radio had a 4.3 per cent share in the market for listeners between the ages of 25 and 54, and sat at the bottom of the ratings list.

Its share moved to 15.6 per cent Thursday, which meant a growth of 262 per cent. When ranked against the other eight private radio stations in Kelowna, it came in second, behind only sister-station Power 104. Coming in third for the same category was New Country 100.7, 99.9 Sun FM was fourth with an 8.4 per cent share.

They were followed by K96.3, 101.5 EZ Rock, Okanagan Oldies 103.9 and AM1150.

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Seeing the most significant reversal of fortune in this category were Okanagan Oldies and AM1150 which each saw a 42 per cent drop in listener share. The Ara and Toby morning show saw 263 per cent growth in audience and now ranks No. 3.

While the rankings may be anecdotally interesting to listeners and offer bragging rights to DJs, they also are the bread and butter of the radio station.

Johnston said when it comes to luring national advertisers, they will put their dollars behind the top-rated stations and as they work their way down the list they will have fewer ad dollars to part with.

With their fortunes shifting, the new pressure will be about keeping up the excitement.

“That’s the tough part,” said James. “It’s a fun business. We have to keep it fresh, execute fun promotions and connect with the audience in a way that makes them feel like it’s their radio station.”

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