Published on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 18:30
The Arbitron ratings for the Chicago radio market for the February period (which covers 2/02/12-2/29/12) were released this week. The following is a study of the local ratings for the demographics of Persons 6+ (All Ages), Persons 25-54, and Persons 18-34.
Looking first at the all ages (6+) numbers...
The top of the all ages ratings features the same stations as was at the top last year, but with the order being changed around.
WGN-AM is strongly in first place, with no station even close to them at this point. Most surprisingly, their #1 status in January and again in this February ratings period is done without the aid of the ever-popular Chicago Cubs baseball broadcasts. This marks the first time since long before the PPM ratings system were in place that WGN-AM has been #1 without any Cubs broadcasts. In large part, the thanks for the strong ratings go out to new morning host Jonathon Brandmeier, the continued growth of afternoon star Garry Meier, and the popularity of Chicago Blackhawks game broadcasts.
WBBM-AM, combined with its simulcast on WCFS-FM, continues to drop in the ratings, something it has done since the October 2011 ratings period, despite having its broadcast now heard on two strong signals, one on AM and one on FM. In October, the station had a combined share of 6.6. In February, that combined share is now down to 4.7. The ratings shrinkage is being blamed on the loss of Chicago Bears' game broadcasts, slow winter news months with no major stories or storms, and WGN-AM's growing popularity. Though the numbers are dipping, the 4.7 rating is still good enough to give WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM a tie for second place, alongside WVAZ-FM. The 4.7 rating for WVAZ-FM is a .3 increase over January's numbers, and it's first increase in months. With WVAZ-FM's growing numbers and WBBM-AM's shrinking numbers, it is quite possible to see V103 alone at #2 next month with Newsradio slipping down to #3 or #4.
WLS-FM and WTMX-FM both increased their ratings to end up with a 4.5, tied for 4th place. Both are slowly getting back to their high numbers of 2011.
Besides the stations already mentioned, other stations seeing decent movement upward in the all ages ratings include WUSN-FM and WXRT-FM.
Here is how the top of the Persons ages 6+ rankings looked for the February 2012 ratings period:
Looking now at the highly-desired demographic of ages 25-54...
In the overall numbers (Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight), first place is a three-way tie. The stations at the top are WVAZ-FM, WTMX-FM, and the simulcast of WDRV-FM & WWDV-FM. All three of these radio stations earned a 5.2 share. Fourth place was a two-way tie between WXRT-FM and WLUP-FM, with both getting a 4.5 share. WKSC-FM just missed making it a three-way tie at #4, coming in instead at #6 with a 4.4 share. The rest of the top ten were (in order) WOJO-FM, WUSN-FM, and a ninth place tie between WLS-FM and WLIT-FM.
No AM stations reached the Top 10 this month. The closest was WBBM-AM, which is simulcast on the FM band, who came in at #13 with a 3.2 share. WSCR-AM was #15, WMVP-AM was #16, and WGN-AM was #20.
In the overall numbers (Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight) for the demographic of Women 25-54, WVAZ-FM and WTMX-FM tied for first place, making it the first time in a very long while (not counting Christmas time), when a station other than WTMX-FM was alone at #1. Both had a large 6.7 average share of listeners. WLIT-FM was #3 with a 5.8 share, WKSC-FM was #4 with a 5.7 share. WUSN-FM was #5 with a 5.4 share. The rest of the Top 10 for Women were WBBM-FM, WLS-FM, WGCI-FM, WXRT-FM, and WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM.
In the overall numbers (Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight) for the demographic of Men 25-54, the number one station is the usual winner, WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM with a 6.6 share. Classic rock is still king with men in this age group, as WLUP-FM comes in at #2 with a 6 share. WOJO-FM is #3 witha 5.4 share. WXRT-FM is #4 with a 5.1 share. WSCR-AM and WMVP-AM come in at #5 and a 4.8 share and #6 with a 4.5 share, respectively. The rest of the Top 10 were WLEY-FM, WVAZ-FM & WTMX-FM (tie), WGCI-FM & WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM (tie).
The winner of the Morning Drive time slot (6:00am-10:00am) for the ages of 25-54 is once again, WTMX-FM's "Eric & Kathy Morning Show," this time with a 7.7 share. WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM is #2 with a 5.1 share. WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM is #3 with a 4.8 share. WOJO-FM is #4 with a 4.5 share. #5 is WSCR-AM with 4.1 share. For Women 25-54, their favorite morning station is WTMX-FM, and for Men 25-54, their favorite is WDRV-FM.
With the Midday shift (10:00am-3:00pm), The Drive has been knocked down as king of the hill. After the usual holiday high numbers that WLIT-FM earns at the end of every year (which often drifts into January, before workplaces change the station), most expected The Drive to return to the top by February. Instead, WLS-FM, with Scott Shannon's voice-tracked programming, has surged ahead, taking the #1 spot with a 5.7 share -- a .5 increase over last month. WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM stays strong at #2 with a 5.6 share. WLIT-FM's numbers do its usual after-Christmas slide and is now down to #3 with a 5.1 share and slipping. #4 is WVAZ-FM and #5 is WLUP-FM.
In the Afternoon Drive time slot (3:00pm-7:00pm), first place with a 5.1 share is a tie between WVAZ-FM and WKSC-FM. In third place is another two-way tie between WTMX-FM and WLUP-FM, both with a 4.8 share. Right behind that is WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM at #5 with a 4.7 share.
For the Evenings (7:00pm-Midnight), there is yet another tie for first place, with WVAZ-FM and WDRV/WWDV-FM at #1, each with a 6.3 share. #3 is WOJO-FM with a 5.9 share. WLUP-FM is #4 with a 5.8 share and WGCI-FM is #5 with a 5.5 share.
The Weekend ratings (Saturday & Sunday, 6:00am-Midnight) has WVAZ-FM still in first place, gaining even more audience share than before, now up to 6.8. Thoughtful weekend tributes in February to Don Cornelius and Whitney Houston, both of whom passed away during this period, helped boost up the station's share even higher than before. Making a big weekend leap upward to #2 was WXRT-FM, which went from a 4.6 share in January to a 6.1 share in February. #3 was WTMX-FM with a 5.5 share. WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM moves up to #4 with a 5.1 share. WGCI-FM and WKSC-FM tie for fifth place, each with a 4.9 share
The winner in the all ages ratings, WGN-AM, was only #20 in the 25-54 demographic. (#14 for Men 25-54.) While that alone isn't great news for the station, it does mark an increase for it. The bigger story for WGN-AM in this demographic has to do the powerful draw of its new morning star, Jonathon Brandmeier, its afternoon star Garry Meier, and strong nighttime programming. Brandmeier, who had just joined the station in late December for a few days, boosted the February morning drive time slot to a 3.5 share, giving the station a tie for 8th place. Brandmeier's show doesn't fully air during the Arbitron morning hours of 6:00am-10:00am, though. Looking at just Brandmeier's actual hours of 5:30am-9:00am, Brandmeier is #5 in the 25-54 demo with a 4.2 share, almost doubling the numbers of that time period from one year ago. In afternoons, Garry Meier is able to bring in a 2.7 share, while "Sports Night" and Milt Rosenberg's "Extention 720" bring in a 2.9 share in the 25-54 demo. Chicago Blackhawks nighttime game broadcasts also figure into that 2.9 share. The only daypart not doing well for WGN-AM is its midday programming. The drop in ratings and share comparing Brandmeier's show time numbers with the Arbitron morning numbers, show that the last hour of that time slot is not a draw. Mike McConnell, who has been a controversial hire for WGN-AM since the start, and who now works the reduced shift of 9:00am-Noon, is not catching on with the WGN Radio fanbase -- and may never at this point. Unfortunately, John Williams, who works the Noon-3:00pm shift, has not been able to help bring up the midday shift numbers for WGN-AM. Expanding Williams hours and cutting McConnell's has helped slightly, and WGN is still bringing in somewhat respectable numbers in middays, but those hours in the middle of the day remains the station's Achilles heel. For the 25-54 demo in the February period, WGN-AM's middays could only gain a 1.6 share, good enough for a tie for 22nd place. Low ratings in middays and weekends have brought down the overall number for the station. While the upcoming Cubs baseball broadcast season will help change the fortunes for those two dayparts, it is still an issue that WGN-AM will have to address at some point in the future.
Here is a quick look now at the younger demographic of Persons 18-34...
In the overall numbers (Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight), the top station is once again WKSC-FM with an impressive 7.0 share. WKSC-FM's sister-station, WGCI-FM takes the #2 spot, coming up right behind with a 6.8 share. #3 is WBBM-FM with a 6.3 share. Tied for #4 is WTMX-FM and WUSN-FM, each pulling in a 5.9 share. #6 is WOJO-FM with a 5.7 share. The rest of the Top 10 are WXRT-FM, WVAZ-FM, WPWX-FM, and WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM.
Ratings data © Copyright 2012 Arbitron Inc.
May not be quoted or reproduced without prior written permission from Arbitron.
The PPM ratings are based on audience estimates, and are the opinion of Arbitron and should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of a demographic or radio market.