Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Arbitron ranks the satcasters

Who listens to what on satellite radio?

The answer to that question became clearer yesterday when radio ratings service Arbitron released the first-ever ratings report covering the individual channels of XM and Sirius during the Spring 2007 ratings period. Here, all the individual channels go up against each other, on a rather level playing field, and provides a rather interesting glimpse at the listening habits of subscribers. There were some obvious outcomes and a few surprises.

Not surprisingly, Sirius' Howard Stern came out on top of the heap. "Howard 100" was the most-listened to satellite radio channel of them all, and the only channel on Sirius to break 1 million listeners in cume, with over 1.2 million listeners total. The average quarter hour (AQH) audience, which is the average number of people listening every 15 minutes and is the main measure used in those 12+ ratings reports Arbitron releases publically, was 96,700. "Howard 100" is one of two channels devoted to him on Sirius, and is mostly a replay of his daily radio show. Behind it is "Howard 101," which consists of a delayed West Coast feed of his show, as well as other hosts including Bubba the Love Sponge and Scott Ferrall. "Howard 101" came in with 502,000 total cume and 30,700 AQH.

XM's only channel to break the 1 million mark was their "Top 20 on 20" hits channel. Further down on the XM rankings was their flagship morning show, the oft-controversial Opie and Anthony, which airs on "The Virus" (XM202), and is partially syndicated in a much tamer version by CBS Radio. They pulled in 216,800 cume/20,800 AQH, still good to make the top 10 overall in satellite radio. By comparison, "XM Comedy" does twice that.

Music programming was strong for both services, with Top 40 hits, country and decades channels finishing especially high. Sirius also hit well with niche channels consisting of 50s hits, heavy metal and classic country. XM's biggest performers were mostly standard radio formats like hits, adult contemporary and new country, though "Willie's Place," which plays old time country, is one of the provider's most popular channels.

As for other talk radio, XM's "Talk Radio," which has recently undergone a great deal of shuffling, is tops, with a 154,000 cume/8700 AQH. The channel features Coast to Coast AM, Bruce Williams, Dave Ramsey, Glenn Beck and others. "America Right," which features conservatives such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, nabbed 132,400 cume/5000 AQH. XM167, which is home to Air America Radio, Ed Schultz, Mike Malloy and others, finished very close behind in cume, with 109,600, but ranks significantly higher than "Right" in AQH, with 7200. Oprah Winfrey's channel is slotted in between the two in cume, but has a rather low AQH. "FOX News Talk," which consists of the radio shows of everyone's favorite FOX Noise blowhards, was much farther behind, with 64,000 cume. In short, about the same as they do on terrestrial radio, which is rather dismal. The audio feed of the TV cable channel did significantly better on both providers.

On Sirius, "Sirius Left" (59,100/3000) tops both the right-wing "Sirius Patriot" (46,800/1700) and "FOX News Talk" (29,800/800). NPR does well with their two dedicated channels, pulling in 82,600 cume and 1400 AQH.

Overall, XM has a weekly cume of 10,332,900, while Sirius has a cume of 6,595,000. The satellite ratings were for persons ages 12+, based on approximately 466,000 in 300 markets during the Spring ratings period (April-June). Granted, some may take exception at Arbitron's rather outdated survey methods, but until something better comes along (Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM), perhaps?), this is what we've got.

Top 10 lists for each provider (and total) can be found on MediaWeek's site in a PDF here. You can see how each individual channel did at Radio-Info, in a rather concise PDF.


Lu Cifer said...

So how are the cons going to spin their usual bs line of "Butt librulz am be don't sell!" now?!?!?

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