this morning my wife asked me why we are getting the la times delivered to our house – i had purchased a subscription but decided to donate it to a local school – so the times is sending us and the school the paper every day – so okay.  i took the paper this morning and saw an article talking about how kcet is struggling (the l.a. based pbs station).  in reading through article this stuck me:

“But KCET’s bid to reinvigorate itself fell flat. The station’s problem was not Silverman’s ambitions — which turned out to be middle- to highbrow — but raising enough money to make it happen. The station did not find the underwriters. The programs died before they ever got off the wish list.”

in or around 2002 while working for the foursquare church i was tasked with a research project to look at the market viability and the reach of christian radio in los angeles as opposed to other markets.  now back then information was a bit harder to come by and i had to do some hard digging to find the stats and information i needed.  what i found out in 2002 shocked me – the top radio stations in los angeles at the time where a rock and a hip-hop station, followed by pop, and top 40 stations.

now this may not surprise anyone, that is unless you look deeper.  the fact is, that los angeles (and to a much lessor extent new york) when compared to other major markets lack a huge interest into anything other than pop culture. let me explain a bit more in a minute.

when you take a look at radio station ratings in the top four u.s. markets (new york, los angeles, chicago, san francisco) for the second quarter in 2010 you begin to see a picture forming and a trend.  so here are some basic stats followed by a chart of more statistics:

  • new york – 4 of the top 10 radio stations are talk/news format
  • chicago – 3 of the top 5 radio stations are talk/news format [including the #1 and #2 stations]
  • san francisco – 3 of the top 5 radio stations are talk/news format [including the #1 station]
  • los angeles – 1 of the top 10 radio stations is talk/news format [the second one on the list is #18]
population no. of stations no. of talk/news stations average q2 2010 ratings talk/news Stations per capita
New York 15,669,500 74 13 19.5 1,205,346
Los Angeles 10,999,100 67 9 12.0 1,222,122
Chicago 7,862,200 58 9 18.3 873,578
San Francisco 6,145,800 83 9 21.1 682,867
totals 40,676,600 282 40 17.7 1,016,915

these statistics exclude sports radio and are courtesy of www.stationratings.com

extrapolating an informed opinion from these statistics is not tough to do.  in 2002 when i first looked at these stats (which took weeks to compile) i concluded in my research that their is not enough interest in los angeles to succesfully launch and financially support a new christian talk radio station to compete with the existing ones and to replace the one that was recently sold.

my reasoning behind it was based on the statistics.  looking at a simple breakdown in comparison to other major metropolitan areas in the u.s. you can comfortably state the following facts:

los angeles has less talk/news stations per person that other major markets

los angeles has less talk/news stations in the top 20 of radio stations than other major markets

los angeles has the lowest average ratings for talk/news radio that other major markets

in my 2002 research i concluded that the radio listeners in los angeles simply do not care enough about anything other than being entertained or their own vanity or whatever to listen to talk/news radio – in other words los angeles simply does not care.  this has not changed based on the statistics for q2 2010 and is reflected in the statement in the la times article about kcet this morning.

despite good ideas, a renewed focus and the right people to pull off a transformation, kcet could not get enough people to give – in other words – los angeles does not care.

this internal vanity inherent in the culture of los angeles and the surrounding areas is part of the mystique of the place. from the weather (i mean 70 degrees in the south bay in august, consistently, can’t beat that with a stick even if you tried), to hollywood, to all places in between – there is a reason folks call it la la land.

los angeles simply does not care.

when faced with a desire to minister, reach-out, change communities, bring the word of god to the nations via them being in los angeles – this is our biggest mountain.  we live in a place where the world has come to us, every nation can be touched within a 100 mile radius – yet the world remains untouched.

no, it is not for lack of trying, or outstanding people doing outstanding things, or passion, or focus, or anything, it is simply this:

los angeles does not care.

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