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Radio U: targeting the college market.

College students nationwide have a constant companion. They wake up to it in the morning. They Walkman across campus with it by day. They study with it half the night. It's their favorite radio station. In Indiana, the stations they tune in to are likely to be owned and managed by University Broadcasting Co. The company's chairman, president and founder, Arthur A. Angotti, sets his sights on college markets almost exclusively.

"University markets have faster growth, lower unemployment and are more upscale than average communities," Angotti says. "They are recession-resistant and resilient because of the universities. In Indiana we have station WAZY-FM in Lafayette and WBWB-FM in Bloomington." The company also operates the Bloomington area's WGCT-FM, which has a different owner.

College markets tend to be similar in size, economic makeup and demographics, angotti adds. "The median age in a university town is around 26 or 27. Our typical listener is probably a female about 29 years old. Businesses cater to the 18 to 34 age group as premier customers."

What broadcast diet attracts the 18-to-34 age group? Angotti is successful with what he calls "hot adult contemporary music.' That's the broadcast industry's name for a format consisting of today's hits and some oldies. Listeners want background that is not too intrusive yet lively enough, certainly not elevator music. We definitely target office listeners and run a lot of contests specifically designed for them. At nights 'B97' targets the younger demos, students, who like music that is more hit- and dance-oriented. During the day we play sofer music."

How do University Broadcasting's stations rate in their markets? According to the ratings firm Arbitron, WBWB-FM is No. 1 in Bloomington. It has more listenership than the other top Bloomington stations combined.

Music on WBWB-FM and WAZY-FM is chosen in the studio to reflect market tastes. For example, the station in Bloomington plays more John Mellencamp thant other "hot A/C" stations because he is a local artist. The Greater Lafayette area, home of Purdue University, also counts on WAZY-FM for hot A/C entertainment. Like WBWB, WAZY is tops in the local Arbitron ratings.

University Broadcasting also owns and operates two stations in Fort Collins, Colo., home of Colorada State University and about an hour north of Denver. The arrangement there is an AM/FM combo. KIMN-FM, is hot A/C and KCOL-AM has a news and talk format. Its features include Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh.

Angotti tells a story about how responsive his listeners are. "A local student phoned the Rush Limbaugh program and said he would really like to get a copy Limbaugh's newsletter but couldn't afford it. Limbaugh suggested the listener use his ingenuity, hold a bake sale and raise money to buy it. Within a couple of hours, the station had 100 phone calls from people in the area who said they'd contribute baked goods. It kept getting bigger and bigger until finally Rush Limbaugh decided to come to Fort Collins himself for the sale. Twenty-five thousand other people came too. Hundreds arrived in private planes. It was a huge event."

Will stations open in other university towns?" With our venture-capital fund we already own an interest in WRVF-FM in Columbus, Ohio, home of Ohio State University," he responds. "We also own an interest in WYMJ-FM in Dayton, Ohio. We've targeted seven or eight other cities in our long-range plans. We think Big Ten markets would fit in very well."

Angotti has had a varied past. Born in 1944, he grew up in Gary and graduated from Horace Mann High School in 1962. His dad owned bakeries and a catering service.

Angotti graduated from Indiana University in 1966, served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968 and became a first lieutenant. He returned to the IU Graduate School of Business, where he earned his MBA in 1970. After college he worked for the Capital Management Corp., an investment-banking firm in Philadelphia. Experiences there started to shape his career. He developed an affection for gathering and investing venture capital. Angotti refers to himself as "an investment banker" and says, "I invest for my own account and I have partners who invest wiht me in limited partnerships. I am actually more of an entrepreneur."

Though many of his experiences have been in one form of broadcasting or another--among other things running some Indianapolis-area cable companies --Angotti has ventured into other territory as well. Between 19784 and 1990 he was president of Indianapolis Arrows Inc., which hoped to bring Major League baseball to Indianapolis.

As he explains it, "When Peter Ueberroth was commissioner of baseball in the early '80s, he said, 'We're going to have expansion teams. I want all the cities interested in having an expansion team to put together ownership groups, give us some indication of what kind of season ticket sales you can generate and tell us what level of local government support a team would have.' We formed an ownership group and sold more than 11,000 season tickets for a baseball team that didn't exist. Pretty good."
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Title Annotation:University Broadcasting-owned radio stations
Author:Johnson, J. Douglas
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:Western Indiana's largest employers.
Next Article:Cashing in with an investor prospectus.

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