Even as AAAs go, it doesn't sound like it's being programmed to build the usual audience. I'm a possible candidate for a Triple-A station, but even I, with a background in the business and musical interests as broad as Russia is wide, have had trouble finding the station's "front door" in the times I've checked it out.
"Near-zero familiarity with 'alternative alternative' music; younger-voiced-but-older-style AOR-ish jocks who talk too long; college-radio imaging and fundraising, but NPR-ish underwriting announcements" is the note I made. If that's how you're going to approach the format (meaning not doing AAA despite calling it that; it's really a new 97X [BAM]), then why have more than, say, five-equivalent people on staff when you can fill in everything else with your school's students earning no-cost credits?
In short, WNKU has tried to become an Ohio Valley clone of the almighty WXPN in Philly. Two problems:
1.) I agree their music is much to eclectic for an AAA station. That being said, this is a problem that has been growing worse since 2012. I used to irritate my mother when we were listening to the station while working outside and I could name every artist playing (from BB King, Taj Mahal, Rolling Stones, Paul Butterfield Blues Band to more mainstream pop artists) that she eventually commanded me to cut out the game and change the station (which was the queue to spin up the Irish folk on my Pandora streaming app.) But in the last year, it has been much more difficult for me to know what is being played with the reduction in blues and the increase in alt bands that I don't know. I can see the people of the Ohio Valley listening to the blues mixed with pop, rock and some non-Nashville sound country/western, but currently, the mix of music does not match that of the majority of people away from the NKU (or even the UC) campus.
2.) As much as I love the concept of having NKU on my dial for my entire drive from Ashland, KY to Mason, OH, they essentially have too many sticks consuming too much electricity. WXPN just has a single stick with modest coverage in southeastern PA and extremely limited coverage to south Jersey and northern Delaware. But the problem with NKU is that they need the Highland Heights, KY and the Middletown sticks to cover a similar area.
In this case, THAT's where my frustration with the mindset of the academy is....they might decide they "have to" dump these stations because they came in completely lacking the real-world paradigm and can't imagine the solution, not because they actually DO "have to." I actually don't want them to...I have a hunch AAA can and would work, whatever that might mean, on those two Cincinnati-area signals. Sell the 104.1 so the university can have some money to play with without touching their own hallowed salaries and structures while keeping the Cincy two and getting some time to do something right with them....maybe even actually doing AAA.
I agree. The need to toss the 100K watt 104.1 WNKE blow torch on the market because they have just gone beyond the reach of their donating market with a signal. They need to find a buyer for the WNKE transmitter and shed that power bill.
But back to the point the station needs to act more like a proper radio station with a less eclectic playlist if they want to keep supporting listeners. I used to stream WNKU all the time when working in Philly, but now, not so much. Even when I am in Ashland, I rarely tune in 104.1 on the dial because the mix of music is just too strange for casual listening. For me, I spend more time with Google Music or Apple Music instead of listening to WNKU or some station originating on 4th Ave. that sounds like it plays more commercials than music in a given hour.
But in the end, my choice to stream music is the problem that is facing all radio stations including WNKU.
The first step in a successful revolution is to defeat all competing revolutionaries.