Monday, June 18, 2012

Last Month's Poll Results & This Month's New Poll!

It's the 18th, so it's time once again to shut down last month's poll(s) on the site and launch a new poll! Before I go over what's new, let's unveil the final results from last month's poll on the site! As you may remember, this past month featured two polls related to our coverage range on the SMS for "local" bands and concerts, and what you guys would consider "local" in proximity to the Twin Saults. The polls only got 25 combined votes, with only 5 going to the second Sault Michigan-centric poll, which is a bit disappointing, but I can still sense a pattern with how you guys voted, so here's the two questions and their respective final results!

If we expand our coverage range, how far from Sault Ste. Marie in driving distance would you consider to be "local"?

90 minutes from the Soo (7 votes, 35%)
Any show or band with Saultites, regardless of distance (4 votes, 20%)
45 minutes from the Soo (2 votes, 10%)
One hour from the Soo (2 votes, 10%)
More than 2 hours from the Soo (2 votes, 10%)
Just Algoma District/Chippewa County (2 votes, 10%)
2 hours from the Soo (1 vote, 5%)
Just Sault Ste. Marie (0 votes)

If we expand our coverage range, what other Michigan areas/counties would you consider to be "local"? (this was a multiple choice poll)

Mackinac County (4 votes, 80%)
Uncovered areas in Chippewa County (4 votes, 80%)
Luce County (4 votes, 80%)
Cheboygan/Emmet County (3 votes, 60%)
None of the above (1 vote, 20%)
Other (1 vote, 20%)

What do you guys think? Well, judging by the general consensus on the two polls, most of you guys wanna see coverage of the Algoma District within 90 minutes of the Soo (i.e. everywhere between Thessalon and Ranger Lake), while in Michigan, the entire Eastern U.P. up to Luce County would similarly be fair game, and the idea of Lower Peninsula coverage within 90 minutes isn't abhorred by those who voted either. This sort of validated some of my thoughts going in, as I figured that people generally wouldn't go too far from here without getting into a long road trip! At least for the first poll, there was a clear majority towards a 90 minute range. The choice about us covering all bands and shows with Saultites equally finished in second too, but I find that covering out of town shows and former residents' bands in other places won't attract as much equal notice and attention. If you can't easily attend X band's show, why take time away from the shows here that you can hit? As for the Michigan poll, there was definitely an even spread, but from the few who voted, it's clear that they do wanna see us hit other counties, which was a point that I wasn't sure would set off a nerve with our Yooper fans.

That said, I noted last month that I would factor in the results of the polls towards possible coverage extensions for our fifth anniversary on July 4th (just over two weeks from now), so will we follow the poll results and expand our coverage range? I'm leaning towards it, but if we pick the poll winning options or not is up in the air. Remember, 90 minutes is double the distance that we currently cover, and I need to make further research to see how much that would add to the site in terms of bands and shows. All I really know is that this won't add a lot for Sault Ontario, as communities and venues are definitely more spread out than in Michigan, but there's more bands and venues in the Eastern U.P. and Northern Michigan that could muddy the waters of an area I already struggle to equally cover and determine facts on. That, and I want any changes to be gradual so we can acclimate to expansions without the shock of "Whoa, what's all this new stuff" that would happen if we made huge changes overnight. These are things I need to work out and figure out before I decide anything formally, but I appreciate all of the votes immensely, and now I know how far we can take things without going overboard in the future on the site! Stay tuned on July 4th to see what expansions we may be undertaking!

As for this month's poll, I thought I'd bring back a topic we got into in depth in 2010 to see where people's opinions currently stand on an aspect of local media that we touch on for the site. Since the major radio purchases and changes in early 2010 in Sault Michigan, the combined radio market for the Twin Saults has remained fairly consistent, though rock fans have taken some noticeable hits. Since we lost the local branch of The Bear (97.9 FM) over two years ago, we also lost the local internet radio station Energy Rock Radio both locally and in general, following the station's relocation to British Columbia last year and their retraction into a radio show this past January. Now, with 97.9 FM back on the air in a Christian format, the concentration of radio stations with a metal/hard rock aspect is even smaller on FM radio in the Twin Sault markets. Not a lot has changed in recent years, but enough has changed that true local options have shrunk for rock fans, so I wanted to see where current opinions stand with readers of the site. As such, I'm posing this question to you guys this month: What do you frequently listen to on the radio nowadays in the Sault area? I've came up with 8 choices to see what the current habits and patterns of SMS readers are right now, so where do you lie? Here's what you can vote for this month, and PICK ALL THAT APPLY!

Rock 101 (101.3 FM): The Sault area's only rock radio station (EZ Rock doesn't count), WSUE out of Sault Michigan continues to deliver lots of solid rock classics and newer hits to local listeners, including some select locally produced and syndicated programs. Though reception for it can be mixed, it's doing well and I listen to it a lot, but do you listen to Rock 101 frequently?

WLSO: The Sounds of Lake State (90.1 FM): Though not a complete rock station, Lake Superior State University's college radio station usually has at least one metal/hard rock show during the school year, and heavier tunes can be scatteredly heard when the station's on autoplay during the summer or after hours. Is WLSO a common sight on your FM radio presets?

Other local FM stations (Yes FM, Q104, etc.): At last count, we have 16 active FM stations in the area. Aside from the two above, those include five Christian stations, three non-religious talk radio stations, two country stations, as well as a station each for the adult contemporary, top 40, oldies, and variety formats. I know that the other 14 have widely varying listener bases, and some are more popular than others (like 99.5 FM), but for your personal tastes, do you find yourself listening to any Sault Ste. Marie stations beyond Rock 101 & WLSO?

Mackinac-area rock stations (94.5, 98.9, and 105.1 FM): Better radios and/or clearer days can help increase the reception of three rock radio stations in Cheboygan & Emmet County in the Lower Peninsula, including Real Rock 105.1 (which answers many complaints you may have towards Rock 101), a newer feed of Classic Rock: The Bear at 94.5 FM, and KLT: The Rock Station at 98.9 FM, which falls in between Real Rock & The Bear for classic content. Clear reception for these is not a guarantee (especially in Sault Ontario), but do you find yourself tuning in to some troll-based rock stations much?

Local AM radio (i.e WSOO, WNBY): Sure, the Soo is not a booming market for AM radio, but there are talk programs, sports broadcasts, and classic country songs on the few AM stations that we do have (1200, 1400, and 1450 AM.) Do you listen to AM radio locally at all?

Satellite radio: Are you more for Sirius XM Satellite Radio, or an equivalent subscription service for your radio needs? Though not locally relevant, satellite radio has many benefits and happy customers for it's song selection and wide variety of station choices. Are you a satisfied customer of satellite radio?

Internet radio/podcasts: Though Energy Rock Radio has left us, there's no shortage of online radio stations and streams that are worth checking out! I'm partial to La Grosse Radio Metal out of France myself, but the choices are endless. Podcasts also have a wide reach and high quality in many cases, such as local musician Mike Cliffe's AudioFumes podcast, which is great in it's own right, but if you listen to podcasts and/or internet radio a lot, vote for this choice!

I don't listen to the radio regularly/by choice: Is the radio something you ignore or don't listen to? Do you prefer physical media for your music, or mp3s, or just dislike recorded music? Maybe you're just disenfranchised with local radio as it currently exists? Vote for this choice if you don't find yourself listening to the radio much, if ever.

VOTE TODAY!!! You guys have until July 18th to cast your votes in this month's poll, at which point we'll unveil our "Favourite concert of the first half of 2012" poll, so keep an eye out for that next month! Stay tuned as well for some upcoming concert previews in our next news post either tonight or tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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