A recent radio listenership study found KMUN 91.9 FM is, overall, the most popular radio station on the North Coast.
The public station has, on average, the largest share of listeners age 12 and older from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday.
The next overall favorite of local listeners is KAST 1370 AM, according to a telephone poll of 303 radio listeners from Long Beach, Wash., to Tillamook.
During the average quarter-hour of listening time 6 a.m. to midnight, the research shows 15 percent of North Coast listeners 12 and older tune into KMUN while 9 percent turn the dial to KAST AM.
The study also found among some demographics during specific segments of time - such as Tom Freel's weekday news hour - KAST AM soars to the top of the charts.
The study is "a snapshot measurement" of listenership on the North Coast, according to David Hastings of Eastlan Resources, the marketing research company that conducted the poll last fall.
"We think it is a fair representation of the market at that time," said Hastings. "Public radio has some very loyal listeners. ... It depends on where you look in the survey to find out where the different stations' strengths and weaknesses are."
Eastlan was commissioned by KAST radio owner New Northwest Broadcasters, a Seattle-based radio broadcast company with five stations on the North Coast, to conduct the study, which took place last fall. Eastlan contacted a representative group of North Coast residents via telephone and asked them to detail their listening habits.
The results rank 14 radio stations, including coastal and several Portland-based stations, in order of average weekly listenership, shares of specific segments of time throughout the week and shares of listeners among specific demographic populations.
KMUN General Manager Dave Hammock purchased the results of the study from Eastlan for $5,000 with a grant from Meyer Memorial Trust and was surprised to find his station at the top of the charts.
"We're delighted," said Hammock. "We knew we were a big part of the market, but we didn't know how much. There's not much market research available for Astoria. We're too far out ... on the fringe of the Portland market."
Hammock said he sees KMUN as filling niche radio markets that aren't served by commercial broadcasters such as New Northwest and offering "radically different" blocks of focused programming from one hour to the next. On a daily basis, he said, KMUN programming can jump from classical music to reggae and "thrash metal"; once a week, the station hosts an entire hour of just Scandinavian music. The data in Eastlan's study could help KMUN attract foundation and grant money to support local programs, he said.
"This shows we are an effective means of reaching folks with the message we're asking them to fund," said Hammock.
New Northwest General Manager Paul Mitchell said he sees "no battle" between his stations and KMUN.
"I consider KMUN a community station that represents public broadcasting, which is a great thing to be able to get a different side of radio," said Mitchell. "We don't compete for advertisers."
Mitchell said the study shows KMUN "comes in very well for the 12-plus audience, but when you sit down and look at listeners ages 25-54 ... which is the primary demographic most retailers are looking for in the U.S. ... the No. 1 station is KAST." Listeners ages 25-54 have more disposable income and are more likely to own a credit card and buy a house, he said.
Mitchell said the Eastlan study is the first one he's seen of the North Coast in his four years as general manager.
The research will help New Northwest and its advertisers target the right audiences with the right messages, said Mitchell. He said he was especially pleased to see the "time spent listening" measurements.
"For KAST AM, if you take Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., the average person listens to that station about 10 hours a week," Mitchell said. "That's a lot of listening."
With an estimated 572 adults listening every 15 minutes, KAST AM morning news anchor Tom Freel leads what is "without a doubt the No. 1 listened-to show on the coast," said Mitchell.
The Eastlan study shows New Northwest runs the third and fourth most popular stations on the North Coast, as well. The research showed its classic rock station, KCRX 102.3 FM, with an average 7.6 percent share of listeners age 12 and older per week, while its pop music station, KVAS 103.9 FM, had a 5.2 percent share under the same conditions.