The Daily Swarm spoke to Mark Sovel, the now-former program director of the recently shuttered Los Angeles freeform-lite radio outlet Indie 103.1. Sovel, first and foremost, wants people to know that as of right now, none of the station’s “primary DJs or music programmers” are going to be involved with the online-only version of Indie launching next month. And he had a few words to say about the whole Personal People Meter controversy, too:
What about the ratings and the controversial Portable People Meter (PPM)?
I’ve seen the ratings and I know we didn’t do very well on PPM, but the kind of people who listen to our station are not the kind of people who want to carry around a device to measure what they’re doing. But they are the kind of people who show up to our events in droves. Our signal didn’t cover the entire city. We have transmitters in two places – Santa Monica and Newport – and our signal didn’t reach the Valley where the proportion of PPM is very high. Take for instance the entire area from Echo Echo Park to Beverly Hills to Wilshire, yet they said we had no listeners there. We know we have core listeners in Los Feliz and Silver Lake, but we supposedly had zero listeners there – it is just ridiculous. All stations with eclectic programming don’t register well with PPM. PPM is not even certified in Los Angeles but Arbitron pushed it through early because they make more money from it.
Those “kind of people” are, as he describes them, “the Coachella crowd, professionals, creative types.” And hey, they show up at concerts! But maybe, as one commenter pointed out earlier today, they’re also the “kind of people” who would rather program their own playlists, and not be forced to trifle with, well, anything that didn’t squarely appeal to them?
I’m reminded of a guy I worked with who asked all the folks at work who were under thirty if they would sit and watch music videos for an hour or two if they had the chance. The lack of a “yes” answer confirmed for him that MTV was never going to air music videos again.
It’s the same here. I think people are more willing to listen to the radio than watch TV, but definitely not the target audience of this station. Not when songs can be downloaded directly from pitchfork to your iPod and then played in the car with one of those iPod radio thingies.
I have to say, that sounds much more plausible than the “our listeners are too cool to carry around gadgets” excuse. (After all, wouldn’t “influencer” types be excited to, um, influence other people?)
An Exclusive Interview with Indie 103.1′s Music Director Mark Sovel… [The Daily Swarm]