Published on Tuesday, 04 September 2012 19:57
The Arbitron ratings for the Chicago radio market for the August period (which covers 7/19/12-8/15/12) were released this week. The following is a study of the local ratings for the demographics of Persons 6+ (All Ages) and Persons 25-54, along with quick looks at more specific demographics and some key stories.
With this period being smack dab in the middle of summer, radio stations losing market share is common. In fact, finding a station that increased
share is a very rare thing. Vacations, parents dealing with children home from school, outdoor activities away from radios, and so on, all contributed to lower shares for a great many radio stations, including even the most popular ones. A decrease in overall ratings and cume tend to happen in summertime, as well.
Looking first at the all ages (6+) numbers...
For the third period in a row, WVAZ-FM/V103 remains all alone at the very top of the ratings. Not only did it retain its #1 ranking, but it also was able to maintain its market share from July of 6.4, even as most other stations were losing share.
The summer ratings periods continue to be very kind to CHR stations, namely competitors WKSC-FM and WBBM-FM. WKSC-FM/103.5 Kiss FM remained at #2, but saw its share decrease by .6 to a 4.9 share. Even though the number shrank, WKSC-FM also was #1 in cume, bringing in a still-impressive 2,576,600. WBBM-FM/B96 lost 0.4 share from the month before, averaging a 4.1 share, which made this other CHR station in town tied for #7. WBBM-FM came in second place in the cume rankings, bringing in a cumulative audience of 2,202,200.
Very few stations were actually able to gain
market share in this period. WUSN-FM/US99.5 was one such station, as it went from a 3.9 to a 4.1 share. WLS-AM went from a 3.6 share to a 3.7 share. WNUA-FM/95.5 El Patron Chicago went from a 1.5 share to a 2.0 share, thanks largely to a format flip to Regional Mexican music
, which is finally catching on for the station. The biggest increase belonged to WIQI-FM/i101, which jumped from a lowly 0.4 share to a 1.2 share, also thanks to a format flip
to a mostly all-90s music format.
Here is how the top of the Persons ages 6+ rankings looked for the August 2012 ratings period...
Looking now at the highly-desired demographic (by advertisers, and therefore station owners) of Persons ages 25-54...
In the overall numbers (Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight), the #1 radio station for Persons 25-54 is WKSC-FM/103.5 Kiss FM for the second month in a row, with a 5.8 share. That is a a .5 share decrease from last month's record high, but still good enough to earn the top ranking. WKSC-FM sister-station WVAZ-FM/V103 only decreased its share by .3, coming in at 5.5, making it a #2 once again. WTMX-FM/101.9 The Mix lost just .2 share, falling to a 5.1 share and maintaining its third place finish. The simulcast of WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM was again #4 with 4.8 share. WUSN-FM actually increased its share by .2, coming up to a 4.6 share and reaching #5 for the first time in a long time. The rest of the overall Top 10 were (in order): WOJO-FM, WBBM-FM, WSCR-AM, WGCI-FM, and WXRT-FM. WLUP-FM drops out of the Top 10 for the first time in many months, while WSCR-AM has surged ahead. WSCR-AM was one of the few stations to gain share in the August ratings period, making it by far the #1 AM radio station in Chicago.
In the overall numbers (Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight) for the demographic of Women 25-54, WKSC-FM remains as #1 with a 7.1 share, a .7 decrease. WTMX-FM was able to keep the same share with no decrease, and that 6.6 share was enough to move the station up to a #2 ranking. WVAZ-FM lost .6 share, slipping to 6.1, making it #3 for this period. WUSN-FM was #4 once again, this time with a 5.9 share, which is a .1 decrease. WBBM-FM is #5 with a 5.6 share. The rest of the Top 10 for Women were WGCI-FM, WLIT-FM, WILV-FM, WPPN-FM, and WOJO-FM.
For Men 25-54 in the overall numbers (Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight), the top stations are almost the same as they were for the last two months, with the exception of The Loop falling downward, and WOJO-FM inching upward. WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM/The Drive is still on top, coming in at #1 with a 6.7 share -- decreasing its lead by a .1 share. #2 is WSCR-AM/670 The Score with a 5.6 share, a .2 increase. Tied for #3 with a 4.9 share are WVAZ-FM and WOJO-FM. WKSC-FM is #5 with a 4.7 share. The rest of the Top 10 for Men were: WLUP-FM, WXRT-FM, WTMX-FM, WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, and WBBM-FM & WUSN-FM (tie).
Even though most major Chicago radio stations decreased their share during the August period, the top stations in the mornings actually increased
share, bucking the trend. For the Morning Drive time slot (6:00am-10:00am) for Persons (both Men & Women) 25-54, the top station is as always, WTMX-FM. The "Eric & Kathy" morning show went from a 7.5 share in July to a big 7.7 share in August. #2 is WTMX-FM's Hubbard-owned sister-station WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM, who is once again at #2 with a 5.2 share. This is also a decent increase, growing its share by .5 to a 5.2 share. WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM keeps its ranking of #3, but increases its share by .4 to 5.0. WSCR-AM stays at #4 and increases its share by .2, ending up with a 4.7 share. Coming in at a tie for #5 is WUSN-FM and WOJO-FM, each with a 4.4 share. For WUSN-FM, that is a .1 decrease, but that is the same 4.4 share for WOJO-FM as they had in July.
With the Midday shift (10:00am-3:00pm) for Persons 25-54, The Drive is on top yet again, as WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM is #1 with a 6.2 share, a .3 increase. WKSC-FM remains at #2, but slips .2 share to a 5.6 share. #3 is WVAZ-FM once again with a 5.0 share. WUSN-FM moves way up to #4 with a 4.7 share, a .6 increase. Coming in at a tie for #5 is WTMX-FM and WOJO-FM, each with a 4.4 share.
In the Afternoon Drive time slot (3:00pm-7:00pm), first place with a 6.8 share is still WKSC-FM, even though it suffered a .9 share decrease. 103.5 Kiss FM has been #1 in the afternoon daypart for every month in 2012. Second place goes to WVAZ-FM, with a 6.0 share, a .4 share decrease. Moving way up to #3 is WUSN-FM with a 5.0 share -- a big .8 share increase. WBBM-FM is #4 with a 4.8 share, decreasing its share by .7. Fifth place is WTMX-FM, with a 4.5 share.
For the Evenings (7:00pm-Midnight), the results for the Top 5 are very different this month. Making a big leap upward is WVAZ-FM, which reclaims the #1 ranking with a 7.3 share. That is a .8 increase over the previous period. WKSC-FM falls to #2 with a 6.5 share, a .2 share drop. #3 is WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM with a 5.3 share and WGCI-FM is #4 with a 5.1 share. WSCR-AM moves up to #5 with some of its best nighttime numbers ever, earning a 5.0 share.
The Weekend ratings (Saturday & Sunday, 6:00am-Midnight) has WKSC-FM again at #1 in July with a 6.3 share, WVAZ-FM is again #2 with a 6.2 share, and WTMX-FM is again #3 with a 5.2 share. WOJO-FM moves up to #4 with a 4.7 share. Tied at #5 is WUSN-FM and WLUP-FM, each with a 4.5 share.
One radio station that saw big increases in the August period was WIQI-FM, now known as i101. Two days before the start of this ratings period, WIQI-FM's ownership, Merlin Media, decided to abruptly cancel its news/talk format
and many future plans, to become a mostly 1990s pop/AC format. The move seemed to work for the radio company. For Persons 25-54, the ratings jumped from a 0.4 share in July to a 1.6 share in August, a 1.2 share increase. While those are great numbers at first glance, the details behind it are even better. The station flipped formats and did no publicity after making the switch. The station's previous FM News 101.1 billboards are still all over town with no changes to them, notifying the public of the new format. The only real publicity was via word of mouth and social media. People discovered the 90s music on the station, liked what they heard, and quickly told others about it, causing a swelling audience. By looking at the Persons 25-54 weekly numbers, one can see the great progress the station made. Week 1: 1.1 share. Week 2: 1.3 share. Week 3: 1.9 share. Week 4: 2.3 share. Those last week numbers place the station in the Top 20, up from near obscurity the month before. However, even THAT
is not the full story... The station's target demographic was Women 25-54. For that target demographic, the weekly numbers looked this way: Week 1: 1.5 share. Week 2: 1.7 share. Week 3: 2.4 share. Week 4: 3.3 share. Those last week numbers place the station near the Top 10, up from virtually nowhere the months before. For Women 18-49, Week 4 had a 3.4 share. For Persons 18-34, Week 4 has a 3.5 share. With surging ratings, all happening organically, one would guess that station ownership would give it a little promotional push and see those numbers rise even higher, making the station one of the year's surprise success stories. That is the logical way of thinking, though. Instead, the day after this ratings period ended, Merlin Media decided to flip the station's unique format
yet again, to a Hot AC format, featuring a playlist of more current music that can be found on any number of radio stations and outlets elsewhere. The move infuriated all the new fans and seemingly killed any momentum i101 had. Next month's ratings details will show if the move was a smart one, or as most look at it, a very puzzling one to say the least.
Taking a quick look at a younger demographic of Persons 18-34 now...
In the overall numbers (Monday-Sunday 6:00am-Midnight), WKSC-FM remains on top of its target demographics. Although it lost a giant 1.5 share in the most recent ratings period, 103.5 Kiss FM still has a very decent 7.5 share. Even though it lost .1 share, WGCI-FM moves up to #2, now with a 6.9 share. WBBM-FM loses .8 share and slips down to #3 with a 6.6 share. Coming in at #4 once again is WUSN-FM, with a 5.8 share. #5 with a 5.2 share is WTMX-FM. WKQX-LP remains at #6 and a 4.9 share. The rest of the Top 10 are (in order): WPWX-FM, WOJO-FM, WVAZ-FM, and WXRT-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.