Is KSL Radio Making PR Blunder ala Coke or Apple?

Several years ago Coca Cola made a “Classic” big branding boo boo when they dropped their original recipe in favor of New Coke, promising a superior Coke experience. They misread the market and the subsequent public relations and customer backlash cost them serious market share to Pepsi. They brought back the original Coke, but not the market share. Apple’s recent iPhone price reduction backlash has been compared to this blunder.  

There are very few vendors that have engendered brand loyalty on my part. My gas station is one. Why? Chevron gives free car washes when customers use their Chevron card to fill up on Wednesday. Although Chevron gas is not the cheapest, the price difference is overcome by the perceived value of that convenient car wash once every week or two. Now, I’ll admit that knowing my car may end up happy like those cute little talking cars on the Chevron TV commercials may at least convince me there is no better gasoline. However, if the car washes go away, I will be looking around for a better deal.  

KSL has held me similarly spellbound for many years. In the business of PR, I have to scan a lot of news outlets. However, the KSL format has met my needs for “quick read” local and national news that saves time and gets to the point. In the past I knew that at the top of the hour, every hour during the business day, I could tune in and get 5 minutes of national headline news followed by local headlines.  

KSL could have had me as a loyal customer for the next decade or two, but nnnnnoooooo…someone there decided the national news wasn’t that important, or some licensing agreement became undesirable, or someone had some heartburn with the network. The result is the national news is not on the hour, every hour any more. You have to tune in on their schedule, not your own, if you want ABC national news. This in counter to the New Media movement of the customer driving the timetable for getting the info they want, when they want it. KSL has not responded to my inquiry on this change. Another boo boo given they now have invited online feedback. 

This means I have found myself using the “seek” button on my car radio at the top of the hour searching for options. Here’s hoping KSL will go back to the KSL “Classic” recipe. When you mess with a popular recipe, the public relations ripple effect may be negative. What do you think?

About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.


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