KOA Morning News to feature Fox News at top and bottom of hour to counter ratings dip

These are not the best of times for KOA, at 850 AM. A trio of part-timers were let go earlier this year and the longtime powerhouse's ratings are off. So how does head of AM programming Greg Foster hope to boost the station in general, and the drive-time staple Colorado Morning News in particular? By adding an extra helping of Fox News.

Foster emphasizes that no changes in personnel are envisioned for the show, which co-stars Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, with Alan Roach handling sports.

"This is a case of identifying some opportunities in the market and giving people what they want to hear," he says. "We're a Fox News affiliate, and we've been using some of their material in our newscasts. But Fox is enjoying so much popularity right now, and to run the network newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour really makes sense for the morning show."

This doesn't mean the focus will be less local than it has been, however.

"We've increased the amount of news we do on KOA," Foster stresses. "We've added a newscast at thirty minutes past each hour, along with traffic and weather. But there'll be the same level of local news people are used to, and we'll continue to provide local news around the clock."

Doing so isn't cheap -- and revenues have likely taken a hit due to an audience decline. For years, KOA has routinely been among the two or three most-popular outlets in the market. But according to the ratings from January among listeners age twelve and older -- the latest digits available from the Radio Online service -- KOA is currently tied for tenth place with KCFR, the news arm of Colorado Public Radio in Denver. Moreover, KCFR's numbers were up by around 20 percent from the previous month, while KOA's diminished by approximately 10 percent over the same span.

Nonetheless, Foster insists there are no plans for additional layoffs of the sort that took place in January -- for reasons of "efficiency," he says. Instead, he's hoping the power of Fox News will help turn the ship back in the right direction.

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