For Canyon Media, radio listenership rises in 2020 despite pandemic

The Canyon Media Center, St. George, Utah, 2019 | Photo by Canyon Media, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — At a time when uncertainties abound, as in the current COVID-19 pandemic, having a place to turn for fast and accurate information like a local radio station is crucial. It is even better when those stations are bolstered by engaging entertainment, exciting promotions and true community service and interaction.

KONY’s Carl Lamar and Amy Chesley during a reverse drawing at Stephen Wade’s 4th annual “Red Tag” sales event, July 13, 2019, St. George, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

It is those principles that Canyon Media General Manager Ben Lindquist attributes to the success of the media brand’s stations, which saw a cumulative rise in listenership this year despite the fact that fewer people were commuting to their jobs or listening at workplaces in the wake of COVID-19.

Canyon Media recently received the results of their Eastlan Ratings survey, which ranked 99.9 KONY Country and 95.9 The Hawk in the numbers one and two slots, respectively, across the Southern Utah radio market.

Additionally, listenership across all seven Canyon Media stations saw a cumulative audience increase in 2020 of over 9,000 listeners for a total of 142,725 people listening each week.

Also ranked in the market is Cherry Creek Media with a cumulative audience of 83,808 per week and Red Rock Broadcasting with 54,712 per week.

Dennis Soapes, a client services representative for Eastlan Ratings, compared the cumulative audience, or CUME, to owning a convenience store. The CUME is the number of people who walk through your doors every week. In the case of radio, it is the number of people who tune in weekly.

Eastlan Ratings also measures what is called the Average Quarter Hour SHARE. Using the same convenience store comparison, Soapes said the SHARE is the percentage of people who are walking into your store compared to the store across the street, or the percentage of listeners tuning into your station versus the competitor’s station.

To get those numbers, Soapes said they use both phone and online surveys to understand and calculate listeners’ preferences in their market and demographics.

Radio personalities Peter Gunn and Bill Cash celebrate after Gunn rappelled off the side of the Hyatt Place hotel in St. George, Utah, Sept. 14, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Touted by Lindquist as the most accurate ratings company in the small to medium broadcast market, Eastlan Ratings has been helping broadcast companies for 21 years. The ratings company, Lindquist said, gets the largest sample size and is the most reliable.

“They are the most credible source,” he said.

In the Southern Utah market, which includes locally broadcast media in St. George and Cedar City, Soapes said there are 27 stations that achieved reporting status, meaning they received enough response to create a qualifying ratings number.

Surveys and data gathering took place from March through June right in the middle of the economic shut-down due to COVID, Lindquist said.

Historically, Lindquist said, Canyon Media has held the number one spot in a market, which he says is unique both statewide and nationally.

“It is still very much a radio market down here,” he said, adding that he is very pleased to continue to hold the top spot in 2020.

But Lindquist said what he is most proud of is the increase in listeners, particularly during a time of crisis like the pandemic.

Lindquist believes the increase is in large part due to Canyon Media’s 2020 motto of “here for you.”

L-R: Pedro Magdiel Lopez and Carl Lamar on stage officiating the third annual “Juan Spring Festival” held in the Town Square Park, St. George, Utah, April 6, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

It is a slogan used both internally with staff and externally with customers and the community that is backed by creative and powerful messaging, fun and unique promotions, strong radio programming, talented on-air personalities, and meaningful community engagement and service.

“It (being number one) doesn’t mean anything if we don’t go out and help our community and serve our customers,” Lindquist said.

Canyon Media radio sales manager Chris Nelson agreed with Lindquist, praising both the on-air and marketing teams for the dynamic combination they create, which helped propel the broadcast company to the top.

“It truly is an honor to be Southern Utah’s most listened to radio group. Our on-air team works extremely hard to entertain and inform the great people of Southern Utah. At the same time, the Canyon Media sales and marketing team is very skilled at providing marketing strategies for local companies. This creates a dynamic combination to help any business in Southern Utah succeed,” Nelson said.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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