Thursday, October 21, 2004

From another blog: More Good Ratings for Air America

Also posted here:

Much of this has been covered on this site, as it pertains to the new ratings book. A few highlights, and some personal commentary:

No summer ratings are out yet for Portland, but a Clear Channel executive who spoke before Al Franken's recent live show in San Francisco said that the trends (preliminary ratings data released only to industry insiders) showed that the summer numbers for KPOJ were likely to improve on the blockbuster spring ratings. WHAT in Philadelphia carries limited AAR programming on a weak signal, and also had no AAR for most of the summer. It still doubled the low ratings number from the spring.

Hmm... This should be interesting. Will KPOJ take the whole market? The Portland book will be released on October 29, but the book is currently under what's called an 'embargo', meaning it is only being released to subscribers and not to the general public. This happens occasionally when a non-subscribing station uses Arbitron data in it's sales presentation, a serious no-no. What then usually happens is that Arbitron freezes everyone out, except for stations that pay for the service. Whether the books is unembargoed by next week is anyone's guess, but I'll dig up any numbers I can find.
The only exception was Albuquerque where KABQ showed no ratings change at all. I have no information on whether the key demographic numbers have improved.

So far, there has been no full ratings book showing KABQ-AM. There have only been trend reports. And there is also a KABQ-FM, which airs a music format. The AM did not show up in the ratings trend report, but it could make an appearance in the new one, also out on the 29th.

It should be noted that the ratings listed here are 12+, i.e. all listeners 12 or older. These ratings are available for free on the internet because they don't really matter. What advertisers look for is specific age groups, especially the 25 - 54 grouping. Arbitron publishes these numbers for paid subscribers only, but they aren't on the net and are difficult to find out; Arbitron doesn't like having them publicized. It is known that, generally speaking, Air America has so far done much better in the 25 - 54 demo than in the published 12+. Conservative talk radio has a large 55+ audience so does better in 12+ than in 25 - 54. So if you see an article
that cites the published 12+ numbers to prove AAR is failing, know you are being

That's the thing about radio ratings. Almost anyone can claim to be a winner. But demographics are what really rule radio. As I said before, nobody buys ad time based on overall ratings. They buy based on age or gender. So if they want to target guys, they go after rock and sports stations. If they want females, they go after stations with names like 'Mix' and 'Lite'. If they want younger listeners, it's CHR and hip-hop. Listeners over 55 fill out their diaries, and AM stations airing 'adult standards' do show some decent numbers, but ad agencies don't really covet this age group, making them a somewhat tough sell. And quite a few advertisers on older stations are a bit undesirable (restaurants often stiff on the bill). Conservative talk radio is slowly heading in this direction. Their listeners are little-by-little getting older. And they don't pull in much of an under-40 audience. Could AAR and liberal talk be changing this? It seems like liberal talk is a format that is actually pulling in some younger listeners. Over time, this could give them an advantage over conservative talk.

*** Incidentally, there is one AAR-related story in yesterday's ratings release. The Arbitron book for Springfield, MA (#81) was released, and shows WHMP/WHNP hanging in there. Their schedule is a bit of a mish-mash, with the station only airing Franken (on tape delay in PM drive) and 'Unfiltered' live. The rest of the schedule consists of live shows and syndicated fare like Bill O'Reilly. I've heard from a few people that Hannity is still airing on the station, but it is not shown on the station's website. The ratings have improved significantly since spring, when the two AAR shows were added. And where else can you hear Franken directly follow O'Reilly?

*** Speaking of Franken, he'll be on Howard Stern's show next Monday (10/25). Mark your calendar.


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