KDAY-FM (93.5) mixes “back-in-the-day” hip-hop and R&B hits, but it’s hoping a new strategy will bring it out of the digital Dark Ages.
The Hancock Park station has launched a mobile and desktop app to increase its reach beyond Southern California’s radio waves. Listeners can hear live streams of the station’s broadcasts, purchase and share songs through social media and tap into exclusive content. KDAY also plans to hire its first Web editor to curate content for the revamped website it is set to roll out this month.
KDAY’s iOS and Android app has already seen 22,000 downloads.
The digital radio platform could boost revenue for the station by giving brands a new way to reach its younger-skewing audience. More than 500,000 millennials listen to KDAY each week, according to Meruelo Media, the media arm of Downey investment firm Meruelo Group, which purchased the station for $15 million in April.
“This is just one more opportunity to tell the community that we love that KDAY is here to stay,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Otto Padron. He would not say what Meruelo was spending on the digital initiative.
For years, former owner Magic Broadcasting of Panama City, Fla., struggled to sell the station. Rumors swirled early last year that one suitor wanted to change the hip-hop programming to Mandarin talk radio, prompting leagues of longtime listeners to object through social media.
So when Meruelo’s deal closed earlier this year, the new parent assured fans KDAY would not change. It unveiled a massive overhaul of the station’s revenue plans, which included hosting more live events and pushing digital sales.
Its first step into digital is significant, Padron said, because before Meruelo took over, the station had no active digital services.
He said KDAY is determined to meet the digital expectations of its listeners. He referenced Clear Channel’s recent rebranding as iHeartMedia, a moniker the media conglomerate adopted from its mobile radio app, as one way media companies can successfully prioritize digital as they figure out how to monetize services in a sustainable way.
“Now we are truly worldwide,” Padron said. “Not to sound like Pit Bull, but I am Cuban.”
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