Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ratings Roundup: Phase 2 Winter trend, part 1

The second of the Winter 2006 Arbitron ratings trend reports is being released over the next week or two. This rolling trend report survey period covers this past December, January and February. It is the run-up to the official Winter ratings books, which will be released starting later this month.

While there really isn't a whole lot earth-shattering to report progressive talk-wise, there are a few interesting tidbits. First off, WWRL in New York (#1) seems to be adjusting well to being the new Air America Radio flagship. They hold at 0.8 overall, which may not sound like much, but given the station's limited and interference-enhanced signal at 1600AM and the dearth of competition, they are pretty close to the numbers achieved by predecessor WLIB, whose ratings dropped in half following the departure of Air America and the switch to a black gospel music format. Even with the signal limitations, WWRL does make a small showing in the books for Long Island (#18), northeastern New Jersey (#39) and the Hamptons (#260).

In Chicago (#3), WCPT is making a strong showing, considering its own limited suburban signal. So, what's so significant about a 0.8 share? Well, considering the station only airs during the daytime hours, transmits from the northwest suburbs and has ratings equal to Salem's strong-signaled conservotalker WIND, I would consider that to be pretty damn remarkable. They are also close to equaling the 1.1 share of WCKG-FM, a CBS-owned talk station airing the company's Free FM format. Speaking of Free FM, in San Francisco (#4), KQKE beats KIFR, which broadcasts on one of the strongest FM signals in the Bay Area.

If Clear Channel was hoping to find better ratings by flipping WXKS and WKOX in Boston (#11) to a Spanish-language format, well, they didn't. Both stations are completely absent from the ratings survey. The long-awaited new tower and transmission facilities for WKOX are currently under construction, but it is doubtful that even this will save the stations.

And in another market that recently lost a liberal talk station, KRXA in Monterey/Salinas/Santa Cruz (#80) has shot up significantly in the most recent trend, jumping from a 0.8 to a 1.3 share, likely helped by Air America-affiliated KOMY's recent switch to oldies. In addition, KRXA is now tied with KOMY's sister station, conservotalker KSCO. Incidentally, a casual listen to either station shows that KRXA appears to sell a lot more advertising than KSCO. So congrats to the gang out in the Monterey Bay area.

More trend reports for other markets are on the way. If you want to see the overall (12+) numbers for yourself, you can check them out at Radio and Records or StationRatings.com.

2 comments:

William said...

WCPT is making its presence known, and I think that the ratings would be much higher if my local progressive talk station was on a 24 hour station with a decent or strong signal. The station tries to get a lot of local advertising and there are some strong station supporters in the local business community.

I suspect that NewsWeb Corporation will try to find a stronger signal down the road, but Chicago does not often have strong signals on the market all that often. (Ironically, shortly after the first AAR station in Chicago went off the air, WIND AM 560 was available. I can only imagine what WCPT would have in ratings with a signal of that strength.)

Thanks for the report, ltr!!

jake m said...

I have also been a die hard supporter of WCPT. The signal strength issue is definitely a huge handicap for the station. Their ratings are mighty impressive regardless.

Chicago is the 3rd largest radio market in the country. Any chance even though CBS owns 105.9 WCPT could somehow buy it if they continue their ratings climb? It would be nice to get a 24-7 clear signal.


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