Published on Thursday, 07 October 2010 16:03
The Arbitron ratings for the Chicago radio market for the "September" period (8/19/10-9/15/10) were released yesterday. The following is an in-depth study of those statistics, including looks at the all ages numbers, the 25-54 demographic, the 18-34 demographic, daypart races and key stories.
The all ages numbers can be found HERE
In the all ages/all day ratings numbers, last month's two leaders, WBBM-AM gained .2 in audience share -- now up to 5.7 -- to solidify its position as Chicago's top dog. However, the station that was #1 just a few months ago, WGN-AM, continues its slow decline down, losing audience share every month for the last three months and .4 share in the last month alone. It is now #3 with 5.0 share and heading in the wrong direction. The bigger news is the giant surge by WVAZ-FM, who jumped from a 4.5 share last month to a 5.2 share this month and easily taking the #2 spot. Some of WVAZ's audience may have come from WGCI-FM, last month's #3 radio station in the all ages numbers. This month, WGCI dropped .4 to a 4.2 and slipped to the #4 spot.
One of September's bigger success stories is WUSN-FM, who jumped up to fifth place with a 4.1 share, a .5 increase over the previous month. WUSN had nice increases in most of the important demographics, as well, fixing a slide that had been going on for a while.
WLEY-FM saw a nice increase of .6, correcting the past couple months of sliding ratings.
Another success story lately has been WXRT-FM, which has been steadily climbing in the all ages numbers and in other key demographics. It has gone from a 2.6 share in July to a 2.8 in August to a 3.1 share in September. This is a station to keep an eye on. Like WXRT-FM, WILV-FM is another station on the rise.
On the other side of the coin, one of the stations to keep an eye on is the declining WTMX-FM. It seems they are losing some listeners to both WXRT & WILV. Their numbers and market share have been on a slow decline for the last few months. In July the station pulled a 4.4 share, in August they pulled a 4.3 share, and in September, they only pulled a 3.8 share. In the 25-54 demographic (more on that below), which is normally their stronghold, they have fallen some, as well. Bonneville is known for continually "tweaking" their stations' music playlists, but they may have over-tweaked WTMX's and may have "tweaked off" some listeners. What was once a lighter, poppier, more current version of WXRT, has now become a lighter, poppier version of Kiss-FM or B96. By skewing so young and favoring more flash-in-the-pan new artists, they are slowly losing audience share to other stations. However, the younger crowd, who checked out the station for a while, seemed to have returned to the stations they listened to before. Even their once-mighty morning show, while still immensely popular and not necessarily affected by a musical playlist, has lost some share this summer. The station has the same top-notch on-air staff they have had for years, so the problem must lie in the music changes.
Other stations going in the wrong direction in the all ages numbers lately are WMVP-AM and WNUA-FM, both of whom have not had an increase in a while.
In the Morning Drive daypart of 6:00am-10:00am, WGN-AM lost ground and fell out of first place, somewhat due to the cutting back Greg Jarrett's hours and starting the unpopular Mike McConnell at 8:30am. WBBM-AM again reclaimed first place with a 7.9 share, while WLS-AM remains in third place. With the odd show times and insertion of a new late morning host that many dislike, WGN could easily fall even lower before this year is out. Greg Jarrett's strongest hour, the 5:00am-6:00am hour, does not count as part of the 6:00am-10:00am morning drive daypart and having his show end at the unusual time of 8:30am isn't helping WGN's cause, either. This should allow WLS-AM's Don & Roma show the opportunity to move up into a solid second place for the first time in a long while within the next month or two. Unlike any other major market in America, the top three morning shows in Chicago are all on AM radio -- at least in the all ages numbers, and at least for now.
The top morning show on FM remains Eric & Kathy on WTMX-FM, who again come fourth place overall, with WUSN-FM surging back up to fifth place.
For the Midday daypart of 10:00am-3:00pm in the all ages numbers, WBBM-AM jumped back up into first place. WLS-AM, who has been #1, thanks largely to the popular Rush Limbaugh syndicated talk show, falls to a three-way tie for second place with sister-station WLS-FM and also WDRV-FM. WXRT-FM takes fifth place. WGN-AM, which used to be at the top of the list for middays, has fallen down to a tie for seventh place, thanks again to odd show times and an unpopular host.
In the Afternoon Drive daypart of 3:00pm-7:00pm, WGN-AM picks back up many of the listeners they lost a few hours earlier, and moves to third place. It is down from the first place they had a few months ago or the second place they had last month, but still decent numbers considering some of those days were Cubs broadcasts -- a team completely out of the post-season race. First place is a tie that goes to WBBM-AM once again and to WVAZ-FM, who has risen steadily the last couple of months. WGCI-FM is fourth and WUSN-FM is fifth.
Once again, evenings (7:00pm-Midnight) are dominated by Clear Channel Chicago's one-two punch of Urban programming, WVAZ-FM & WGCI-FM, who are #1 and #2 respectively at nights -- reversing last month's roles. WBBM-AM, WLIT-FM & WUSN-FM round out the rest of the evening's Top 5.
Looking now at the 25-54 demographic, the highly desired range for many advertisers, and thus, most radio station owners. For many, these ratings mean more than any of the other demographics, including, and sometimes especially, the all ages numbers.
Bonneville has lost their throne seat and for the first time in a long time, one of their three Chicago stations is not the "king of the hill" in this demographic. Clear Channel's WVAZ-FM is the new #1 station for Persons 25-54, with a 5.7 share. The previous #1 stations, Bonneville's WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM and WTMX-FM are tied for second place, each with a 5 share. A pair of CBS Radio stations round out the top spots, with WUSN-FM jumping up into fourth place and WXRT-FM remaining in fifth.
The biggest jumps in the 25-54 demo this month happened for WUSN-FM, WOJO-FM, WLUP-FM (except in mornings) and WLEY-FM. Also, as predicted here last month, WILV-FM continues to grow and is now a Top 10 station, proving the value of a good re-branding. Bonneville now has all three of its local stations in the Top 10 of the most important demographic.
Notable drops include WGN-AM who has fallen all the way down to #20 as younger Cubs fans have not found a reason to listen to the station's other programming.
Here is how the top of the Persons 25-54 rankings looked for last month:
Yet again, the busy Morning Drive radio race ends with the usual winner: WTMX-FM and the "Eric & Kathy Morning Show." The show is by far #1, with a 7.9 share over the #2 show which only had a 4.8 share. The number is down from earlier in the year, but still terrific enough to ensure them the top spot for months to come. The #2 show belongs to Pat Cassidy & Felicia Middlebrooks and the WBBM-AM morning news crew. Not only does WBBM-AM do well in the all ages numbers, but also in the most important demographic. WXRT-FM's Lin Brehmer & Mary Dixon rock on up to third place this month with a 4.6 share. Last month's second place winner, WDRV-FM slips a little into fourth place in September. Fifth place is shared between WUSN-FM & WVAZ-FM. Rounding out the rest of the morning Top 10 are WLEY-FM, WBEZ-FM, WOJO-FM, and a surprising tenth place tie between sports talk rivals, WSCR-AM & WMVP-AM.
Middays has WDRV/WWDV remaining in the #1 slot, where it was last month, with a respectable 6.0 share. The #2 slot goes to WXRT-FM, who increased their share to a 5.2. WOJO-FM moves up from sixth to third place this ratings period, with a 4.9 share, followed closely by WUSN-FM in fourth with a 4.8 share. Fifth place is a three-way tie. Last month's #2, WTMX-FM, along with WILV-FM & WVAZ-FM. WLS-FM, WLEY-FM, and WGCI-FM are in eighth, ninth and tenth place for middays.
In the Afternoon Drive time slot, WTMX has again fallen out of a top spot and is now in third place. First place now belongs to WVAZ-FM with a 5.5 share, followed by WDRV-FM with a 5.3 share. WGCI-FM takes fourth, while WXRT-FM & WUSN-FM tie for fifth place. WILV-FM, WLS-FM, WBBM-AM, and WLUP-FM round out the afternoon Top 10.
This marks the first time in a while that WLUP has cracked the Top 10 in a daypart. For middays, afternoons and evenings, the station made decent leaps in this ratings period. Only mornings continue to lag well behind. Without either a full-blown entertainment program or a full-out rock & roll show, the morning audience goes elsewhere for its entertainment, but comes back when the Loop starts rocking again. It does seem that as soon as most people write the station off due to lagging ratings, it has a tendency to rock its way back. Slightly altering its playlist to focus on mostly heavier classic rock songs, with newer songs that have a "classic" feel to them, seems to be working for the station again. Not only did it crack the Top 10 in the important afternoon drive daypart, but it just missed the Top 10 in middays and also cracked the Top 10 in evenings, coming in at #9.
Speaking of evenings... Once again WVAZ-FM is #1 at night for the 25-54 group. Second place is shared between WGCI-FM & WLIT-FM. WOJO-FM bounces up to fourth place and WUSN-FM swings up to fifth place. Sixth place is a three-way jam with WDRV-FM, WTMX-FM, and WSCR-AM. The aforementioned WLUP-FM takes ninth. WJMK-FM and WKSC-FM tie for tenth place.
One of the happier stations in town has to be Univision's WOJO-FM. After a couple rather bad months of ratings, the WOJO has found its "mojo" once again. Chicago's top Regional Mexican station had big gains in almost every category this ratings period, especially in the sought-after 25-54 demographic, but also doing extremely well in the 18-34 demo. Couple the mighty ratings with the fact they were Chicago's sole winner in this year's 2010 National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Radio Awards
, bringing the very prestigious honor back to the Windy City. There should be plenty of smiles in the halls of that radio station!
Now, here is an in-depth look at the younger side of last week's Arbitron ratings for the Chicago radio market for the "September" period -- the 18-34 demographic.
Two ratings periods ago, the big story was the first-ever #1 win in this demo for WKSC-FM. Last ratings period, rival WBBM-FM became the big story of the month, posting up incredible ratings and the #1 overall spot. Both stations have since slipped down some and this ratings period, once again, WOJO-FM has climbed its way back to the #1 position. As mentioned at the end of the 25-54 section above, WOJO-FM came back strong this month and has a lot to be proud of. WOJO-FM has the top spot with a 6.6 share -- the same amount they had last month, which only got them the #2 position. However, with WBBM-FM losing some market share, the 6.6 was enough to have this month's bragging rights.
WBBM-FM lost .3, ending up with a 6.4 share overall, good enough for second place. Right behind both of them is WGCI-FM in third place with a 6.2 share, and WKSC-FM in fourth place and a 6.0 share. WTMX-FM & WKQX-FM, who both share parts of the 101 FM frequency, also share 5th place here, each with a 4.7 share.
The Top rankings for the September ratings period for the Persons 18-34 demographic in the Chicago market look like this:
In the Morning Drive time period of 6:00am-10:00am, WTMX-FM's Eric & Kathy still rule with a 7.6 share. WBBM-FM's morning show with J.Niice and Julian leaps up to the second place with a 6.6 share, their strongest showing yet. WKQX-FM's Sherman & Tingle take third place with 5.8 share. WGCI-FM's Morning Riot is right behind them with a 5.7 share, their strongest showing yet, good enough for fourth place. In a rare downturn for WOJO-FM this month, Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo's syndicated morning show slips from a 6.1 share to a 5.4 share, giving the station fifth place. The rest of the Morning Drive Top 10 looks like this: WKSC-FM in sixth, WVAZ-FM & WLEY-FM tied for seventh, WXRT-FM is in ninth place, with sister-stations WBBM-AM & WSCR-AM tied for tenth.
Middays have WOJO back in the #1 spot with a big 7.3 share and WXRT-FM behind them at #2 with a 6.7 share. WBBM-FM and WGCI-FM tie for third with a 5.2 share, with WKSC taking fifth with a 5 share. WTMX-FM not only drops out out of the Top 5, but out of the Top 10.
The Afternoon Drive last ratings period was a big victory for WBBM-FM, as they had over a full ratings point over the second place station, chief rival WKSC-FM -- 8.1 to 7.0. This month, both stations lost share, but both end up in a tie for first place, each with a 6.7 share. WGCI comes in third with a 5.7 share. WKQX takes fourth place with a 5.3 share and WOJO-FM is fifth with a 4.6 share.
The top stations for the evening daypart stayed in the same order from last ratings period to this one. Nights for the 18-34 crowd still belong to WGCI-FM, who is in first place with a big 8.5 share. WKSC-FM is very close behind with an 8.4 share and rival WBBM-FM comes in third with a 7.0 share. WOJO was in fourth place with a 6.3 share. South-suburban WPWX-FM takes fifth place with a 6.1 share. Once again, this is the station's most popular daypart.
The biggest disappoint has to be Clear Channel's WNUA-FM. The station had been doing poorly in the all ages numbers and sometimes in the 25-54 demo, but they were doing consistently better & better in the 18-34 demographic, which is the Hispanic CHR station's target audience. However, the consistent climb up has stalled and is now on the verge of becoming a consistent slide down. Even in the 18-34 demo, the station could not crack the Top 15 in any single daypart. Their morning show is barely in the Top 30, coming in at a terrible #28 and 1.3 share. Earlier this year, Clear Channel was considering flipping the station to a Regional Mexican format to compete more with WOJO-FM and WLEY-FM. A domain name was purchased and a website was being made for the upcoming format flip. Clear Channel canceled those plans when the station began to then improve. Soon after, the company was supposedly considering flipping WLIT-FM to a Regional Mexican format to give Clear Channel Chicago a one-two punch to gain Hispanic market share. The declining ratings for WLIT-FM then turned around quickly and billings picked up, so it no longer made any logical sense to touch WLIT. One has to wonder how much longer they will give WNUA-FM before trying something different. Two other companies seem to have a much better handle on how to program and attract the Mexican crowd than Clear Channel. If they were to flip formats, the question would be... to what? What could be more successful than what they have now and bring in better revenue, as well as do something that isn't being done better already in Chicago? Clearly, Mega 95.5 is not the answer for Clear Channel or Chicago radio right now.
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