Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ratings Roundup Winter 2007: Part 1

Well, it's that time again. Over the next week or so, Arbitron ratings survey reports for this past winter will be released. And the results for some of the biggest markets have already come out.

In New York (#1), WWRL is holding steady, dropping from a 0.8 to a 0.7 (yes, I would consider this 'holding steady,' given the usual margin of error). This is similar to where the station has been since becoming the flagship for Air America Radio last September, and is not bad considering the signal drop-off after sunset, which comes much earlier in the winter months. In the Long Island (#18) market, this early sunset seems to be a factor, as they slide from a 0.7 to a 0.5. In Middlesex, NJ (#39) they dip a tenth of a point from 0.5 to 0.4.

The verdict is still out on whether the recent changes at KTLK in Los Angeles (#2) will result in stronger ratings. The station dips a fifth, from 0.8 to 0.6. In mid-March, KTLK completely overhauled their schedule with the addition of popular local talker Marc Germain. It's too soon to tell what effect these moves will have.

WCPT in Chicago (#3) rises a tenth of a point, from 0.7 to 0.8, only a fifth of a point behind CBS-owned FM talker WCKG (which this week dropped the "Free FM" moniker from their on-air branding). Salem's strong-signalled conservotalker WIND falls a fifth of a point from 1.2 to 0.7, virtually half their audience, dropping it behind WCPT. Hoffmania points out that conservotalk, so far, has taken a beating in the recently released ratings books, with even WLS, dropping almost a full point in the last year. It should be noted that WCPT carries no local programming. Incidentally, WCPT, with a suburban daytime-only signal, again beats their FM sister station, Nine FM, which covers almost all of the Chicago market via three suburban frequencies. Which begs the question, why not WCPT-FM?

WDTW in Detroit (#10) has been showing signs of life as of late, and this past winter, has risen from a 0.5 to 0.7. In the last year, their audience has almost doubled. Like WCPT, the station does not carry any local shows.

In Boston (#11), the duo of WXKS and WKOX have completely dropped off the ratings chart following their switch from progressive talk to "Rhumba." Ironically, Arbitron survey methods tend to be rather favorable to Spanish-language stations. Obviously, in the case of these two stations, it hasn't.

KLSD in San Diego (#17) has consistenly been one of the more successful progressive talk stations, thanks partly to a larger local presence. The station jumps from 1.9 to 2.2 as every conservotalker in the market drops considerably.

And in Akron (#73), WARF rises slightly, from 0.6 to 0.8 for its final book as a progressive talk station.

You can catch up on market ratings at Radio and Records or at Stationratings.com. New markets are added daily at around 5P ET. Stay tuned here as well for updates.

8 comments:

Emacee said...

Sorry, .8 to .7 is a 12.5% change, which is way outside the margin of error.
All Access doesn't even list stations with a 12+ AQH share and they have a point. Fractional shares are meaningless.
Nice to see WLSD coming back, however.

ltr said...

A tenth of a point is within the margin or error. And that percentage change you gave has nothing to do with that. A tenth of a point is really not much difference, especially in a situation like WWRL, which has consistently bounced around that number. That tells me it's pretty stable, though I don't expect that number to really change much (i.e. go higher). Their signal is too weak. They are, however, doing better than pre-AAR.

And there is that whole Arbitron reliability thing, which comes from the way they collect the data. That's why they're moving to electronic means of collecting data in some markets. But Arbitron is the industry standard, so we're stuck with it. It is what it is.

Of course, we're talking overalls. I don't have the scratch to subscribe to Arbitron (and if I did, I wouldn't be able to disclose breakdowns anyway). So overalls is what I have to work with, unless I get more info from other sources, which I have been able to get in the past in one form or another.

And what the heck is WLSD? I thought most of the stations in the west started with a 'K'.

And I don't check AllAccess for ratings. R&R and Stationratings.com show below the line. And in some of the really big markets like New York, LA and Chicago, it seems there's a lot of stations below a share.

So when are you getting your blog set up, so I can go over and heckle you?

jakemullins200 said...

I know this has been asked before...but whats the chances of WCPT 850AM buying out 105.9FM at some point for a 24-7 signal?

With their rising ratings and new advertising (as well as celebrating their 2nd anniversary tomorrow) it would be a great move. After all, Chicago is the third biggest market in the country!

While CBS is stubborn to keep holding onto 105.9, it seems unlikely at this point that WCPT can make the move. They may need to wait out Lionel's debut on Air America....and raise more money as a station.

jakemullins200 said...

Oh and I forgot to add that WCPT-FM would be a brilliant move. Those 9FM stations are always behind in the ratings and NewsWeb puts more promotion and money 9FM's way anyways.

ltr said...

Newsweb buying out WCKG? It'll snow in hell before that ever happens.

Remember, CBS owns WCKG. They'll never sell it. Even though ratings suck, Steve Dahl still rakes in advertising money. Same with the Bulls. It's still profitable. And being a full-signalled FM, it's worth tens of millions of dollars.

Besides, if NewsWeb ever did buy it, they most certainly wouldn't be doing talk radio on it.

The 9FM stations, I can see. And the newsweb folks have hinted in the past that they are somewhat open minded to that possibility.

Jill said...

And Danny Goldberg cancelled Morning Sedition when it had a 1.5 share. And no, I will not forget that.

jakemullins200 said...

Thanks for the update. I never heard any comments from NewsWeb about dropping their 9FM format and swapping it with WCPT.

I think most Jay Marvin fans in Chicago would love him to head up a local based show on WCPT eventually.

Emacee said...

LTR, you are confusing percentage with percentage points. If a station gets a 1.0 share and the sampling error is a 95% probability of +/- 5%, that 95 times out of a hundred with a true random sample, the share for the universe from the which the sample is drawn would be between .95 and 1.05. Not, as you indicate, between -4% and +6%.
Much as people who never took statistics or research methodology like to talk about the "margin of error," sampling error is meaningless here because Arbitron (and for practical purposes all polls and surveys) are not true random samples, and the sampling error only applies when the sample is truely random. And this does not include all the types of "error" that occur in diary panel studies.
The only poll/survey with a real world check are election polls and pollsters spent over 20 years learning how to fudge the data to make their results correspond to actual election returns.

And a less than 1.0 AQH share may equal a lot of listeners in New York but it won't translate into revenue. You may read below the line but ad agency media buyers don't. In addition, libtalk only skews slightly younger than nutjob talk. Major "blue-chip" advertisers don't buy any political talk (left or right) or any controversial program. Listen to the ads on right-wing talk. Bottom feeders, all targeting the dummy demo. the stupid demo and the illiterate demo. Much of it direct response advertising and a good deal probably PI, as well. These sleezeballs are smart enough to know that while ditto-heads may buy their crap, people who listen to Steph, Thom and Big Ed never would. Advertisers who target the kind of consumers likely to be liberals have mostly abandoned radio. That's the big problem progressive talk faces.

You do a fine job of heckling me right here. ;)
Besides, you perform a great service by providing a vehicle for the rest of us to talk about progressive talk radio, since the right wing nut jobs have pretty much taken over the News/Talk board at Radio-Info (which may have something to do with an RW talk consultant now sponsoring that board).


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