Published on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 14:19
The Arbitron ratings for the Chicago radio market for the "January" period (01/06/11-02/02/11) were released yesterday. The following is an in-depth study of the 25-54 demographic, along with looks at the all ages numbers, the 18-34 demographic, some daypart races and key stories.
The January ratings period picks up where the November period left off, basically. The December and Holiday periods tend to show ratings that are far from the norm for the rest of the year. With the Christmas stunts & specials over and the vacation periods done, the stations' programming tends to get back to normal in January, as do the ratings.
In the all ages/all day ratings numbers, the top stations returned to almost the same ranking and shares as they were in November. WBBM-AM is back at #1, with a very strong share of 6.4 -- .2 higher than November, thanks to strong interest in the Chicago Bears' postseason run, Chicago election news and winter storm warnings. Also returning to its November form was WGN-AM, coming in at #2 with 5.2 share. (The station had a 5.1 in November.) WVAZ-FM is again #3 and WLS-AM is again #4. WDRV-FM has not yet returned to where it was in November, where it was in 5th place with a 4.3 share. Instead, it is tied for 8th place with 3.8 share. Those numbers are expected to grow in the coming months. The station is doing fantastic in its targeted 25-54 demo, however. (More on that below.)
Normally, if a station lost two-thirds of its audience in one month and dropped 8 full shares down, it would be catastrophic news and often mean the end of a station. However, that kind of loss is business as usual for WLIT-FM in January. After pulling in a 12.1 share in the most recent "Holiday" period ratings while it played a limited, but clearly popular selection of Christmas standards, the station, now back to playing AC hits, has lost most of its December followers. It is still in the Top 5 for January, with a 4.1 share, but weekly trends show the mass audience exodus from that frequency, with every week that gets farther from the holidays. As it does most every year, WLIT's numbers will continue to shrink over the next few weeks, until it plateaus off at around a 3.0-3.5 share.
WTMX-FM took 6th place and WUSN-FM was just behind them in 7th place. Tied in 8th place with WDRV-FM was WGCI-FM and the surging WXRT-FM. WXRT-FM had a 2.6 share in November, but bucked the trends and actually built up numbers during the December and Holiday periods. For January, they ended up with a 3.8 share, a 1.2 share increase over November's numbers. Their increases in their targeted demo of 25-54 was even more impressive.
WLS-FM, WSCR-AM and WLUP-FM also saw their numbers increase somewhat. Three weeks into these increased ratings, WLUP-FM flipped
from a harder rock station to more of a classic hits station, focusing more on songs that can already be found on WDRV-FM & WJMK-FM. It remains to be seen if that shift will pay off for the station or not.
There is some good news for one station in particular. For the four months prior to the holiday periods, WGCI-FM had fallen almost an entire share point. The falling has at least stopped for the Urban station. November's 3.7 was as low as they fell. Through the holidays and into January, they stayed consistent and ended up with a 3.8. It is only a .1 increase over November, but the rapidly falling ratings have been halted and they can now slowly build back up from there. They also have some very good news in the 18-34 demographic.
The news isn't as cheery for WOJO-FM and WBBM-FM, who each saw their all ages numbers drop by a .4 share, compared to their November numbers.
Looking now at the 25-54 demographic, the highly desired range for a great deal of radio 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.
With the holiday music gone, the 25-54 demo returns back to a pair of familiar stories: the dominance of the three Bonneville-owned stations (which will be Hubbard-owned stations soon
, most likely in late April/early May) and the dominance of V103. A new story this month emerges, as well: the surging ratings of WXRT.
Bonneville's WTMX-FM makes its return to the #1 overall spot, with a 5.5 share. Clear Channel's WVAZ-FM is behind them at the #2 spot with a 5.0 share. Bonneville's WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM slips a little, but is still doing well enough to be #3 overall with a 4.9 share. CBS Radio's WXRT-FM's lucky number in January was 4, as it leaps up to #4 with a 4.4 share. WBBM-AM is in a tie for the #5 spot with a 4.3 share. WLIT-FM is the other station tied at #5, thanks largely to strong ratings at nights and on weekends.
Here is how the top of the Persons 25-54 rankings looked for the last ratings period:
It is no longer ever a surprise who the winner for the busy Morning Drive radio race is each month, as WTMX-FM's super-popular "Eric & Kathy Morning Show" win that race easily each time. The only question is: "How high will their market share be?" In January, it was a whopping 8.7 share of the listening audience.
However, second place for Morning Drive in January does have a big surprise. It was a two-way tie between WBBM-AM's Felicia Middlebrooks, Pat Cassidy and the morning news crew, along with WXRT-FM's Lin Brehmer and Mary Dixon. WBBM-AM is often near the top of the ratings, regardless of the age demographic, but this is the highest rating for WXRT's morning show in a very long time. Both stations brought in a 5.6 share of the morning listening audience.
The rest of the 25-54 audience enjoyed listening to #4 WDRV-FM, #5 WOJO-FM, #6 WSCR-AM, #7 (tie) WBEZ-FM & WLIT-FM, #9 WMVP-AM, #10 (tie) WVAZ-FM, WUSN-FM & WLEY-FM.
Middays shows the power of Bonneville's three Chicago radio stations. #1 is WDRV-FM with a 6.5 share, #2 is WTMX-FM with a 4.8 share, and #3 is WILV with a 4.7 share. It's a Bonneville one-two-three punch, with the company having a combined 16.0 share of the most sought-after demo in middays.
For middays, fourth place went to WXRT-FM and fifth place went to WLIT-FM.
In the Afternoon Drive time slot, WTMX-FM is again #1 with a 5.6 share, while sister station WDRV-FM is #2 with a 4.8 share. WBBM-AM shoots way up into the #3 spot with a 4.7 share. WVAZ-FM is #4, while WILV-FM and WXRT-FM tie for #5.
For Evenings, Clear Channel's stations continue to rule the Chicago airwaves. WVAZ-FM is #1 yet again, with a heavy 7.4 share. Sister-station WGCI-FM is #2 with a 6.0 share and WLIT-FM is #3 with a 4.7 share. Those three stations alone give Clear Channel a combine 18.1 share at night. Unfortunately for Clear Channel, WKSC-FM, which had been near the top of the charts in evenings, fell to #9 with a 3.6 share. Had it not fallen, Clear Channel could have had the top four or four out of the top five spots. Still, they end up with four in the top 10 at night, with a combined 21.7 share. Only their Hispanic CHR station failed to reach the top 10 -- or anywhere close, coming in for a tie in 27th place at night and a lowly 1.2 share.
WDRV-FM and WUSN-FM tied for the #4 spot at night, with WLS-FM coming in at #6. Evenings are WLS-FM's strongest time of the day. Not so surprising is the fact that WLS-FM's nighttime DJ is beloved living legend and hall-of-famer Dick Biondi.
The Weekend ratings (Saturday & Sunday, 6:00am-Midnight) are awfully similar to the evening ratings. WVAZ-FM is #1 with a 6.8 share. #2 is WLIT-FM and #3 is WGCI-FM. Fourth place is a tie between WUSN-FM & WBBM-AM. Sixth place is a three-way tie between WLS-FM, WTMX-FM and WOJO-FM. WXRT-FM is #9 and WKSC-FM is #10.
The big story of the month is WXRT-FM. The AAA format station, which has been simply doing its same type of shows and programming for the most part since the 70's and has personalities that have been with the station for many years -- in some cases, decades -- continues to naturally connect with audiences more & more. In the January 25-54 ratings, look at what WXRT-FM accomplished:
Persons Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight: #4, 4.4 share
Men Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight: #3(t), 5.0 share
Women Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight: #7, 3.8 share
The prime hours of Monday-Friday 6:00am-7:00pm: #3, 4.7 share
Monday-Friday 6:00am-10:00am: #2(t), 5.6 share
Monday-Friday 10:00am-3:00pm: #4, 4.6 share
Monday-Friday 3:00pm-7:00pm: #5(t), 4.1 share
Saturday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight: #9, 4.0 share
In CBS Radio Chicago's stable of FM radio stations, WXRT-FM is their prized possession. (They also have a pair of AM stations, a FM Rhythmic CHR station and a FM Country that aren't doing too shabby.)
Just as in the all ages numbers, WLUP-FM saw their numbers increase somewhat, but three weeks into these increased ratings, WLUP-FM altered its music playlist, angering many of its longtime fans. It still remains to be seen if that music shift will increase listeners in the 25-54 demo (and revenue) for the station or not. The February and March 25-54 ratings will better show if the experiment worked in the short-run.
Here is a quick look at the younger side of the Arbitron ratings for the Chicago radio market for the January period... this time the 18-34 demographic.
Jumping up into the top spot this month was WGCi-FM with a very strong 7.3 share overall. WBBM-FM, which had been ruling as the #1 station in this demo for three of the last four months before the holidays hit, slips back slightly to #2 with a 6.4 share. It wasn't that WBBM-FM fell that far back from its November numbers (only dropping .3), but that WGCI-FM surged up by 1.2 in share in January. In November, WGCI-FM held a 6.1 share.
The Top rankings for the January ratings period for the Persons 18-34 demographic in the Chicago market look like this:
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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.