Colorado Public Radio's morning news beating KOA, but bond rating remains negative

Our post yesterday about KHOW's Peter Boyles dominating Denver morning radio featured ratings data that told plenty of other interesting stories. Among them: KCFR, the news channel of Colorado Public Radio, kicked the ass of KOA, long the city's commercial news leader, in most major demographic categories. (See the graphics below.) Yet that hasn't caused a ratings upgrade for CPR's bonds. The outlook's still negative, as it was when CPR's Max Wycisk talked with us about the subject in March.

The latest digits for morning programs in Denver radio are telling. Overall, they're not especially robust, to put it mildly -- but KCFR does well among those listening, especially in comparison with KOA, its de facto news rival. KCFR's in third place for all listeners age twelve and over, while KOA is seventh; it's fourth to KOA's eighth with the 35-54 crowd; and it's second in the sought-after 25-54 year old demo -- and KOA failed to pierce the top ten. Indeed, the only group with which KOA is more popular than KCFR is adults 45-54 -- a category that's typically of less interest to most advertisers.

Here are the specific graphics:

But even though the popularity of National Public Radio's Morning Edition, which KCFR airs 5 a.m.-9 a.m., is good news for Colorado Public Radio, the latest review of the organization's bonds by Moody's Investors Service provides less of a morale boost. The complete document is below, but here's an excerpt that serves as a synopsis:

Moody's Investors Service has affirmed its Ba1 rating on Colorado Public Radio's ("CPR" or the "Radio Station") $4.5 million of Series 2002 Bonds issued by the Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority. The outlook remains negative. While the Radio Station has been able to manage through the current economic downturn demonstrating positive operations, the continued negative outlook reflects Moody's ongoing concern regarding the Radio Station's thin level of financial resources to support a potentially volatile revenue base which remains highly dependent on philanthropic/subscription support. The outlook also reflects CPR's outsized debt profile and the inability to sell its Denver AM station and use sale proceeds to defease the Series 2002 bonds.

In the March post linked above, Wycisk provided detailed responses to each of these issues, emphasizing that none reflect a crisis -- and that should remain true as long as CPR hits its fundraising goals. As he noted at the time, "We are reaching more people, and our listeners are being as generous as ever."

Look below to see the Moody's report:

More from our Media archive: "Colorado Public Radio announces pay cuts, salary freeze despite successful fund drive."