RedRock Broadcasting Featured in Utah Business magazine (August 2017)
The first commercial radio broadcast was transmitted over the airways on Nov. 2, 1920. KDKA out of Pittsburgh chose Nov. 2 because it was Election Day in America, a time when people would likely tune into the broadcast—and they did. Radio became enormously popular over the years that followed, quickly growing into a household staple despite the many changes the industry faced.
Fast-forward to today, and it seems obvious to say that the radio industry, like other traditional media forms, might be hurting—but that story isn’t quite true. During a time when traditional media outlets are struggling to retain their audience and turn a profit, radio is holding steady. According to the Pew Research Center “State of the News Media 2016” report, people are still tuning into their favorite radio station either through their traditional radio dial or finding it online. The report says 91 percent of Americans still listen to traditional, or terrestrial, radio. At the same time, online or digital radio distribution is on the rise—Americans who listened to online radio increased from 27 percent in 2010 to 53 percent in 2015 and to 57 percent in 2016. Seventy-four percent of people listened via their smartphones and 61 percent used their desktop or laptop.
Overall revenues are also holding relatively steady. According to the report, spot revenue has seen some decline, but digital revenue is increasing fast. “People still like free, over-the-air or downloadable information, and it’s advertiser supported,” says longtime radio veteran Craig Hanson. “Radio is the champion of local news and weather, of the school lunch menu, of the local chamber of commerce, of the high school games and students in the Sterling Scholar program. It still has an important place.”
Although radio seems to be holding its own when compared to its counterparts in media, the industry has seen its own set of challenges in recent years. Radio companies have had to adapt to the seemingly never-ending tech and media innovations that have challenged the industry in unprecedented ways. But, as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. And according to Hanson, that’s exactly what’s happening to radio.
“Radio is not only healthy, it’s thriving,” he says.
Hanson’s passion for radio began when he was a young child. “I became fascinated with the communications notion that you could send signals from one place to another. Neighbors and friends of mine put together a broadcast station and would transmit several blocks away.”
His early passion led to a long, storied career in the radio industry. For nearly 40 years, Hanson was president of Simmons Media. Now retired, Hanson owns and operates St. George-based Red Rock Broadcasting. “I have been able to witness some amazing transformations in the radio industry,” he says. “I remember when there were all these prophesies that traditional radio would disappear because of 8-track tapes, compact discs. Radio stations have had to adapt, and they added local entertainment, local news, public service [announcements]—those kinds of things. And they’ve thrived.”
The radio industry has been through change after change over the years, but something is different about what radio, as well as the entire media industry, has experienced during the past 15 years. Technology has disrupted traditional media like never before and it’s transformed the way information is distributed and consumed. Radio hasn’t been immune from those changes.
“It’s not just an evolution, it’s a revolution,” says Hanson. “The emergence of technology has enabled digital platforms and social media to dominate the way people consume media.”
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Craig Hanson announces name change to Redrock Broadcasting
St George, UT (Aug 2016)
— Redrock Broadcasting is the new name of the company that now owns popular St. George, Utah radio stations previously operated under the Simmons Media name.
Craig Hanson, long time Utah Broadcaster, has acquired 100% ownership of the stations, and said that the name change to Redrock Broadcasting reflects his love for Southern Utah and his desire to identify his stations with the local environment.
Under Craig Hanson’s direction, Simmons Media first entered the St. George, Utah market in 1986. Through his leadership, Hanson developed, ran and eventually sold several successful Simmons Media radio stations in Southern Utah to current owners Cherry Creek Radio and Canyon Media.
“We are excited to align our identity with the inspiring and unique landscape of Southern Utah” Craig Hanson, owner, said. “We have a long and proud history of developing strong radio stations in Southern Utah and a heritage of accomplishment and success”
Redrock Broadcasting owns and operates Mix 103.1, KOOL 98.9 and 102.3 Coyote Country in the St. George Market and currently reaches over 30% of the Washington County population every week.
“We look forward to building upon our Simmons Media heritage to create new opportunities for the communities, consumers and customers we are privileged to serve,” Hanson stated.
About Redrock Broadcasting:
Owned by longtime Utah Broadcaster- Craig Hanson, Redrock Broadcasting owns and operates Mix 103.1, KOOL 98.9 and 102.3 Coyote Country in the St George, Utah Market. Combined, the Redrock Broadcasting network of stations reach over 30% of the Washington County population each week.