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CSU-Pueblo’s radio station ranks nationally

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CSU-Pueblo’s REV 89 radio station was ranked nationally in the top five among public, non-commercial radio stations. 

In the report released from Arbitron earlier this month, the ratings revealed that REV 89 was ranked fourth in cume ratings and 14th in terms of average quarter hour share.

The fourth place cume rating came in at 17.9 percent, according to the report. Cume ratings illustrate the percentage of potential listenership. The cume percentage demonstrates that REV 89 reaches nearly 18 percent or about 24,000 Pueblo listeners per week.

In the commercial arena, KILO 94.3 placed first in the Pueblo market, second place was KCCY 96.9, with an AQH share of 8.1 and 7.0, respectively. REV 89 tied for third with two other commercial radio stations, KIQN 106.9 and KPHT 95.5, all acquiring an AQH share of 6.5.

The 6.5 AQH share indicated that 6.5 percent of all Pueblo listeners are tuned into REV 89 within any given 15-minute period, between 6 a.m. and midnight, Monday through Sunday.   

In the fall 2010 semester REV 89 placed second in AQH share, but Mike Atencio, the station’s manager, doesn’t think their drop in this year’s ratings is significant enough to make any drastic changes, he said.

“If we keep falling, we may have to consider other changes like radio format and moving show times,” Atencio said.

The time when most people listen to REV 89 is later in the afternoon between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., and early morning between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., because that’s when a lot of people are getting ready for work and school, Atencio said.  The average time spent listening to the REV 89 is a little over five hours every week, according to the findings presented by the Arbitron report.

From 2002 to 2003, under the management of Sam Lovato, a mass communications professor, there was a significant increase in the AQH share because of the caliber of talent and the station’s music format during that time, he said. Lovato also attributed the peak in ratings because REV 89 was the only station to play solely hip-hop music.

“In 2002, the REV switched formats and for the first time, REV 89 became the ‘Hip-Hop Revolution.’” Lovato said. “It was the first time in the history of KTSC (REV) that African American artists were heard 24 hours a day.”

The AQH shares in 2002 and 2003 were 9.2 and 10.1, respectively, placing REV 89 in the number one spot in the Pueblo market area. After 2003, REV 89’s competitors began to add more hip-hop hits to their playlists too, thus the airwaves became saturated and the ratings started to fluctuate.

In an effort to stay competitive, REV 89 switched to a Top 40 format in 2010. The Top 40 format plays the most recent hits from well-known artists.

The format shift was a method to reach a broader target audience by playing more contemporary pop hits that appealed to the selected target audience of listeners between 12 and 17 years old, Atencio said.

 “The Top 40 format hits all diversity, nailing the target audience,” said John Dalton, a radio DJ on REV 89 who is more commonly known as DJ Naughty.  “As long as we can relate to the audience, we’re doing good. If not, it needs to change.”

Both Atencio and Dalton work with the student disc jockeys to ensure that REV 89 stays relevant among their target audience.

“We have student critiques and provide them [the DJs] with ideas for improvements,” Dalton said. “We have enough talent that we could be number one.”

REV 89 also provides variety within the Top 40.

“We have the P-Town Countdown, giveaways and live broadcasts,” said Nick Townsend, more commonly known as Sidekick Nick.  “We go out and promote local businesses and we get a lot of listeners from live spots.”

REV 89 also provides variety with the Retro Lunch Hour, Monday Night Slow Jams with Sweet DJ Dominique and the Wednesday night sports and talk shows.

“Talk shows are the hardest, but I love it. If I can make a difference to one person, I’ve done my job,” Dalton said.  

Regarding listenership on campus, Atencio thinks it could be better, he said, but it’s difficult to play what everyone likes on a radio station.

“It has got a little better, but with campuses, people are varied with those who like hip-hop or rock,” Atencio said. “We’ve been getting played in stores, restaurants and the mall because we’re playing such a variety of artists.”

His key to success is staying ahead of the competition, Atencio said.

“With new music, I like to play it before the competitors. If I see an artist who’s been having a history of hits, I’ll add their new songs to the playlist,” Atencio said.

Atencio plans to keep the momentum going in the future by being a radio station that targets younger audiences and local business, he said.