Summerlin listeners large part of KJUL's radio audience


If you think listeners from Summerlin and its immediate environs aren't tuned into what the guy on the radio is saying, in between his playing those smooth, golden oldies, then you're in for quite a shock.

The guy doing the talking was Scott Gentry, a disc jockey and part owner of radio station KJUL 104.7 FM. He talked about the KJUL Travel Club and a one-week cruise along the Mexican coast. The price was right, especially when it included buses departing from the Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, and taking you to the embarkation point in Long Beach, Calif. And, after the cruise, the buses would be waiting at the same location to take you home.

"We had almost 100 people who joined the KJUL Travel Club on that cruise," said Gentry, an affable man who well befits the gentle smoothness of the DJ radio voice. "That's really incredible when you consider the size and reach of the station. National radio stations with far greater reach than KJUL won't pull anywhere near that many listeners for a cruise."

And when you talk to the representative from Prestige Travel, which sold the package to those KJUL listeners, she'll estimate that a third or more of the group came from Summerlin and its immediate environs.

So what's the secret to selling cruises while spinning nice music?

First off, what might seem most surprising to some is the composition of the audience and its ability to buy into cruises. Seniors make up a large proportion of KJUL's listeners.

"People over 55 still have money," Gentry stated. "We may have 11.5 percent unemployment in Las Vegas, but generally that doesn't affect our listeners, many of whom are retired and over 55."

Referring to the basis of his station's audience, Gentry explained, "They still recognize value and can afford to pay for it. In fact, KJUL is also a hidden value for our advertisers, some of whom may not fully recognize the economic power" of the station's listener age group.

The KJUL Travel Club, an informal entity, has been conducting two annual cruises since 2005, the year Gentry and two others assumed ownership of the station. "We have always pulled large numbers of listeners for these cruises. Our biggest was a cruise along the California coast a few years ago that attracted 189 listeners," he noted.

True to form, almost all KJUL-induced travelers are 55 or older, with strong representation from Summerlin's retirement communities.

Another reason for the station's popularity relates to an extraordinary loyalty on the part of listeners. They're tuned in from morning until night to what Gentry calls "the sound of Las Vegas."

"A very high percentage of our listeners are amazingly loyal. We have found that KJUL commonly gets 11 hours of time spent listening each day.

"That's not only unbelievable, it's almost unheard of."

And what is this thing called "the sound of Las Vegas?"

"We try to make it our musical theme people like Celine (Dion), Paul Anka, (Barbra) Streisand, Sonny (Bono) and Cher, the Rat Pack. We keep it conducive to all who play or have played Las Vegas," he said.

Gentry added that the station is not limited to golden oldies. It will also play pop and soft rock, "artists like George Michael, the Beatles and even occasional country singers like Don Gibson."

KQLL is a sister station with a similar music genre. It's at 1280 AM and 102.3 FM. The two stations promoted a listener appreciation concert at the Cannery, 2121 E. Craig Road, more than a year ago.

"We brought in some big names and packed the place with more than 3,000 people," Gentry said. "In fact, we had to turn away another 500."

Loyalists and listener appreciation aside, one problem that has continually plagued KJUL is its low transmitter frequency, resulting from a series of ownership and technical changes prior to Gentry's entry as a principal. This has made the station unreachable for many listeners in Summerlin and northwest Las Vegas.

"We're planning a $2.5 million upgrade at KJUL by the end of next year, with a much higher transmission tower that will improve our reach considerably," Gentry promised.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His newest novel, "All For Nothing," is now available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

 

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