This morning, radio station KFQD Program Director Joe Campbell issued a statement announcing former KFQD morning radio show host Mark Colavecchio would be the long term replacement to the recently dropped Bernadette WIlson in the station’s 8:30-11AM time slot.
In the announcement Campbell says:
“Mark is a 20+ year Anchorage broadcast veteran with a history of number one rating results to his credit. His unique take, in-depth knowledge of Alaska issues, and informal “regular guy” delivery will be an excellent companion to your morning commute and cup of coffee.
KFQD is committed to retaining our position as the live and local talk leader in Anchorage radio, both on-air and online. The Mark Colavecchio Show will broadcast LIVE each Weekday from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on FM at 103.7, and on AM at 750. Point your desktop or mobile browser to kfqd.com for a live stream & on-demand options for time-shifted listening.”
Colavecchio has a history of “number one rating results” by virtue of his time co-hosting the The Bob and Mark Show on rock station KWHL, but not for his time hosting a news-talk show on KFQD. In fact, his ratings during the time he hosted the news-talk format show in 2009-2010 actually raises questions about KFQD’s stated reasons for removing his predecessor Bernadette WIlson.
Alaska DIspatch News published an article detailing the removal of WIlson saying :
“Earlier this year, Wilson, a Republican, and Ethan Berkowitz, a Democrat who is now the mayor of Anchorage, co-hosted the popular “Bernadette and Berkowitz” program. When Berkowitz entered the race for mayor in February, Wilson became a solo host.
Campbell said that revenue and audience size haven’t been the same since.
“The bottom line is always the bottom line,” Campbell said. “(‘Bernadette Live’) was not generating the revenue necessary to keep it on the air.”
Campbell frames the decision to drop Wilson as solely revenue and ratings based. Here’s the kicker, though, Colavecchio’s ratings from his time on KFQD were actually lower than Wilson’s. During Wilson’s one ratings book without Berkowitz by her side, she scored a rating of 2.9 (average share, 25-54, M-F 8-11AM), while with Colavecchio hosting the mid-morning show, KFQD scored a 2.5 in the fall of 2009 and a 2.8 in Spring of 2010.
To be fair, that isn’t a100% apples-to-apples comparison, there was some jostling of the KFQD line-up between the time of the two shows. None-the-less, the ratings numbers show at best Colavecchio produced numbers comparable to Wilson when doing a straight news-talk format show.
This has to raise questions about whether WIlson’s removal really was purely ratings and revenue based.
When contacted for comment Campbell stood by his ADN quotes that the decision to drop Wilson was primarily about ratings but amplified them to shed more light on the “new direction” KFQD wants to pursue saying “We’re on FM and your smartphone now. While the handful of AM only outlets in town keep doing the “same old,” KFQD is evolving to be a station that is as much about having a good time and firmly planting your tongue-in-your-cheek as it is about traditional talk topics.” and “I think Mark fits that new direction perfectly. Let’s have some fun! It’s radio!”
Campbell also said a singular focus on his KFQD show this time around should help Colavecchio improve show quality and help ratings “His last run was done while he was still beholden to KWHL for 5 hours of content each day. His focus will be totally on us this time around.”
Whether or not Colavecchio really can bring the fun to talk radio remains to be seen, but one thing he is certain to give KFQD right off the bat is a diversity of opinion. During his time on KWHL Colavecchio had a cozy relationship with union leaders who sponsored the show and showed warm support for current Governor Bill Walker and former Governor Sarah Palin. Those are all positions that dramatically separate Colavecchio from his KFQD afternoon counterpart Dave Stieren, who has made a show out of regularly bashing all three.