Research Director, Inc. Presents Exclusive Dec. PPM Analysis For New York, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco And Dallas
December 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM (PT)
‘Twas the book before CHRISTMAS, and wouldn’t you know, stations throughout the land turned to ho, ho, ho. Their ratings were grown, ‘cause the meters were fair, in hopes that more revenue soon would be there. Welcome to the DECEMBER survey. As you enjoy your figgy pudding and spiked egg nog, the data gnomes at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. have been examining the numbers with elf-like precision to bring you this analysis. This is officially written as the DECEMBER book but the actual dates were NOVEMBER 7th through DECEMBER 4th. And, it is really the tale of two surveys. The first two weeks were reasonably normal -- barring local market conditions. However, week three was not only the lead-up to the Thanksgiving holiday, but it is also when most stations flipped to all BURL IVES, all the time. Week four kicked off with TURKEY DAY and quickly devolved into BLACK FRIDAY -- as such, listening patterns were in flux. So, prepare to unwrap the numbers.
New York: Guide Us To Thy Perfect Light
Half a book’s worth of jingling bells was enough to propel CCM+E AC WLTW (LITE FM) to its best showing since MARCH (7.0-7.6) and expand its lead on the rest of the field. For comparison’s sake, last year the station was also #1 but with a slightly more enlarged 8.4 share. YMF MEDIA Urban AC WBLS was seemingly unaffected by all these maids a’milking as it posted its best number in over a year (6.6-6.8) to remain a very solid #2. CCM+E Top 40/M WHTZ (Z100) remained in its somewhat familiar #3 position despite unveiling its lowest number since FEBRUARY (5.4-5.2). A year ago at this precise moment, CBS RADIO Classic Hits WCBS-F was sitting at #2 with a 6.8 share. Recent ratings developments have seen the station slip a bit to #4, tying its year-low share of 5.1. Rounding out the top five, as is its custom, was SBS Tropical WSKQ (LA MEGA), which was down slightly (4.9-4.6).
The Yuletide spirit helped WLTW gain share 25-54 for the fourth consecutive survey and yielded a result that was pretty much on par with last year’s number. The presence of Frosty did not deter cluster mate WHTZ as the station was up slightly to move from #3 to #2. In a similar vein, WBLS had its best book in over a year to climb one spot to #3. Alas, the same could not be said for WSKQ, which slid two spots down the ratings chimney to #4. CCM+E Top 40/M WKTU remained at #5 despite a slight loss of share, while cluster brother CCM+E Classic Rock WAXQ (Q104.3) lost a bit more share to drop out of a tie at #5 into the #6 position. CUMULUS Country WNSH (NASH FM) was also off slightly yet managed to move from #18 into a tie at #17.
WHTZ remained the dominant 18-34 station though its shares slipped for the second straight survey and were at their lowest since AUGUST. WSKQ was not able to capitalize on this slide as its numbers fell to its lowest point since MAY, though the station was still safely tucked in at #2. However, it might be hearing hoof steps (see what we did there?) as WKTU had its biggest score in over a year to leap from #6 into a tie at #3 with WLTW, which was actually down this survey despite all the holiday cheer. Last month, two stations were all tied up in a bow at #4. The tie was broken as both saw their fortunes fade a bit. EMMIS Top 40/R WQHT (HOT) scored its lowest total in over a year to drop to #5 while CCM+E Urban WWPR (POWER) had its dimmest output since AUGUST to slide to #6. WNSH matched its lowest full book share since the flip to remain at #17.
For the second month in a row WLTW was the leader 18-49 with a number that not only was its best since MARCH but one that was on par with last year’s total. WHTZ remained at #2 despite posting its lowest total since JULY while WBLS again had its best book in over a year to move up on the rooftop two places to #3. Securing its lowest total since APRIL forced WSKQ to drop from #3 into a tie at #4 with WKTU, which followed its best book of the year with something equally as tasty.
Los Angeles: Run, Run Reindeer
One of this year’s early switchers to all-elf radio was CCM+E AC KOST as the station actually flipped during week two of the survey. And, it certainly looks like it made a smart move as the station soared from a tie at #6 to the top spot (3.6-6.3) with its best number since the last time SANTA dictated the playlist. This year’s number, however, was not quite as robust as last year’s 7.1 but, still, not too shabby. This allowed CCM+E to own the top three positions in the market as CCM+E Hot AC KBIG (MY FM) remained at #2 (5.3-5.4) and CCM+E Top 40/M KIIS (KISS FM) slipped from #1 to #3 with its lowest total in over a year (5.4-5.2). EMMIS Top 40/R KPWR (POWER) had its best book in over a year (4.3-4.6) but must be on the naughty list as it slid out of a tie at #3 to land at #4. CBS RADIO Classic Hits KRTH (K-EARTH) remained a fixture at #5 (4.2-4.1) while cluster brother CBS RADIO Top 40/R KAMP (AMP) had its lowest number since JANUARY to slide down the pole three places to #6.
Despite the incessant rat-a-tat-tat of that diminutive percussionist, KBIG was able to hold on to the top spot 25-54 for the twelfth consecutive survey. This is not to say that all those drummers drumming did not elevate KOST. The station moved swiftly up the charts from #8 to #2 with a share that was less jolly than last year’s. KIIS managed to end a two-book slide and was rewarded with a drop in position from #2 to #3. CBS RADIO Alternative KROQ had its best book since JANUARY yet slipped from #3 into a tie at #4 with KPWR, which moved up from #5 with its best performance in over a year. SBS Regional Mexican KLAX (LA RAZA) got the proverbial lump of coal as it dropped from #4 into a tie at #7 with its lowest number since APRIL.
Last month, both KIIS and KPWR were tied for the lead 18-34. Though both stations had positive ratings experiences this survey, the tie has been broken. KIIS ended a two-book slide to reclaim sole possession of first place while KPWR had its best book in over a year yet slipped to #2. KBIG remained at #3 despite some minor ratings slippage. KAMP also remained where it was (at #4) despite a small downturn. KROQ was completely flat yet remained stable at #5. Apparently, the kids were not so terribly distracted by their electronic devices that they couldn’t spend a few minutes with their radios as KOST jumped from a tie at #13 to #6 though with a share well short of last year’s total.
Since they shared the #1 position 18-49 in JULY, KIIS and KBIG have traded the crown back and forth. This time, KIIS has the jewels as it reversed a two-book slide. KBIG ended a two-book surge and dropped back to #2 after two straight months on top. KPWR – once again – had its best book in over a year to remain at #3 but it is clearly in the race for #1. However, that may have to wait until the reindeer return to their stalls as KOST ambled up from #11 to #4 and we can likely see where this story ends next book. KAMP was flat for the second straight month and slipped from #4 into a tie at #5 with KROQ, which had its best posting since JULY.
Chicago: My Favorite Things
There is often debate about whether some stations go CHRISTMAS too early. While every market is different, there is strong evidence showing that going all holly jolly in mid-NOVEMBER might be a good idea in THE WINDY CITY. Consider CCM+E Hot AC WLIT (MY FM), which re-branded itself several months ago, then started caroling in week two of the survey. As a result, the station rose from #12 all the way to #2 -- more than doubling its share in the process (3.0-6.5). This is the same rank it had a year ago but with a heftier share than the 6.0 it had in 2012. CCM+E Urban AC WVAZ (V103) was #1 for the twelfth straight survey (6.6-6.7) but the hand writing is in the snow. CBS RADIO News WBBM-A was off slightly for the second straight month (6.0-5.9) and slipped a spot to #3. HUBBARD Hot AC WTMX (MIX) unwrapped its lowest number since last year’s HOLIDAY book (4.7-4.3) and fell from #3 into a tie at #4 with CCM+E Urban WGCI, which moved up from a tie at #6 (4.2-4.3). The two stations that were sharing a one-horse open sleigh last month at #4 are still side-by-side, just a little lower in the standings at #7. CBS RADIO Country WUSN (US 99.5) had its lowest score since APRIL (4.3-3.9) while CCM+E Top 40/M WKSC (KISS) took on its lightest number since AUGUST (4.3-3.9).
Like the delicate snow globe, things got pretty shaken up 25-54. First, WTMX’s eleven-month run at #1 came to an end as the station scored its lowest number since the HOLIDAY survey. This opened the door for WVAZ, which had its best book since JULY and captured the top spot for the first time in over a year. Bells will be ringing in the halls at WLIT as the station doubled its share to move from #12 to #3 – almost matching last year’s number. WGCI had its best book since AUGUST to move up a spot to #4 while WKSC was not standing under the mistletoe as it dropped two places to #5. CBS RADIO Top 40/M WBBM-F (B96) saw its three-book surge grind to a halt as the station dropped two notches to #6.
WGCI captured its seventh straight 18-34 crown and found its best book in over a year sitting under the tree. WBBM-F was actually down slightly but must be on the nice list as it moved up one spot to #2. This had much to do with the fact that WKSC shed a bit of share and took one small step back to #3. CRAWFORD Urban WPWX (POWER) was off slightly but still held on to its #4 ranking. WVAZ was also off slightly but remained at #5 though it is now tied with hard-charging WLIT, which came from all the way back at #17.
WGCI matched its best book of 2013 to remain #1 18-49 for the second straight survey. However, it is hearing the sound of thundering hooves as WLIT more than doubled its share to move from a tie at #14 to #2 – exceeding its total from this time last year. WVAZ had its best book in over a year and moved up a spot to #3 while former market leader WTMX continued its recent slide and fell two places to #4. Both WKSC and WBBM-F dropped a bit of share, with KISS falling two spots to #5 while B96 dropped one to #6.
San Francisco: A Christmas Story
In the previous market we saw the effects of a station going to All Kringle, All the Time. Here, we see that the two (yes, two) stations that made the peppermint-flavored switch both did it very late in the book. As a result, it is difficult to get a gauge -- without looking at specific weeklies –-- how this affected the market. We do know that CBS RADIO News KCBS-A scored its sixth straight #1 book (5.3-5.1). And, cluster sister CBS RADIO Top 40/M KMVQ (NOW) had its best book in over a year (4.8-5.0) to move up one place to #2. ENTERCOM AC KOIT once again turned to the frosty side of the force and seemed to derive some benefit from that as it moved from a tie at #4 into a tie at #3 (4.3-4.9) – a bit off from the 5.4 it had a year ago. KQED N/T KQED was off ever so slightly (5.0-4.9) yet slid back from #2 into a tie at #3. UNIVISION Spanish Adult Hits KBRG had its best book in over a year (3.4-4.0) to move up from #10 to #5. Exactly a year ago the station was sitting at #18 with a 2.1 share. CUMULUS Sports KNBR-A had its lowest number since MARCH (4.3-3.7) to drop from a tie at #4 into a tie at #7. The “other” Christmas station is actually from SAN JOSE -- NEXTMEDIA AC KBAY. But, it did flip for FROSTY and moved the needle a bit (1.8-2.0) to move from a tie at #21 into a tie at #20.
SANTA, schmanta -- KMVQ popped its best book in over a year to remain #1 25-54 for the third consecutive month. KQED was off slightly but remained at #2 though it is just this much ahead of KBRG, which moved up a spot from #4 with its best showing in over a year. KOIT had some modest gains and inched up a spot to #4 with a share that is just slightly inferior to last year’s. A couple of cluster buddies are tied at #5. CCM+E Hot AC KIOI (STAR) dropped in from #3 with its lowest number in over a year while CCM+E Rhythmic AC KISQ (KISS) moved up from a tie at #6.
Once again, CCM+E Top 40/R KMEL dominated 18-34 even though it had a flat book. Cluster mate CCM+E Top 40/R KYLD (WILD) remained at #2 despite posting its lowest number in over a year and trails KMEL by over three full shares. For five straight books KMVQ’s shares have been maddeningly consistent -- and we mean that in a good way. The station continued to be the solid #3 performer in the market. KBRG caught some meter love in this demo, as well, as it scored its best number in over a year to move up one spot to #4. UNIVISION Regional Mexican KSOL had its best book since JANUARY to move up a spot to #5. The kids were digging the yule tunes as KOIT moved up from #11 to #6. KISQ ended its three-book surge and dropped three places to #7.
Last month, KMVQ had its best book in over a year to land in the top spot 18-49. Well, the station did it again with an even bigger number. KMEL remained at #2 despite scoring its lowest total in exactly a year while KBRG kept its momentum up by moving from a tie at #5 to #3. KQED was off a bit but held on at #4 while the singing angels moved KOIT up two spots to #5 – a little lighter than it was a year ago. KYLD was down for the fifth straight book and dropped from a tie at #5 to #6 while KIOI had its lowest book of the year to drop four spots to #7.
Dallas-Ft. Worth: Kissing Santa Claus
This is going to be one of those markets to watch as two different stations decided to flip the switch to an all-Christmas-themed format. However, there are some twists here. CBS RADIO Classic Hits KLUV went early, but this is its first year in the format as it inherited the stocking from clustermate KVIL. The other option is also of a slightly different flavor as it is coming from SALEM Christian Contemporary KLTY -- which flipped late in this survey. With all that said, CCM+E Top 40/M KHKS (KISS) is still the dominant market leader (8.3-7.9) and it remains to be seen if it will fall next survey. CUMULUS Country KPLX (THE WOLF) was down slightly (5.5-5.2) to remain at #2 though it is now tied with KLUV (3.3-5.2), which used the power vested in it by the CLAUS to move up from #8. CCM+E Classic Rock KZPS (LONE STAR) had its best book in over a year (4.6-4.9) to take sole possession of #4. SERVICE Urban KKDA (K104) was flat (4.6-4.6) and fell a spot to #5. The early results for KLTY were less than spectacular as the station fell from a tie at #2 to #6 with its lowest number since JULY (5.5-4.4).
Though KHKS had its lowest number since JULY, it is still well clear of the field 25-54 -- more than two and a half shares clear to be somewhat exact. Behold the power of ELMO & PATSY as KLUV gained two full shares and jumped from #13 to #2. KLTY slipped a bit to drop from #2 into a tie at #3 with KPLX, which had its best number since JULY to move up from #4. KZPS remained at #5 with its best showing since MAY and is now tied with KKDA, which dropped down from #3.
As is usually the case, KHKS was very consistent and consistently dominant 18-34, stretching its lead over #2 KKDA to nearly two shares. K104 did help by posting its lowest number since AUGUST. RADIO ONE Top 40/R KBFB (THE BEAT) was down for the second straight book yet managed to move up a spot to #3. CCM+E Hot AC KDMX (NOW) moved up a couple of spots to #4 on the strength of its second straight up book. KPLX was down for the third straight month to remain at #5 though it is now tied with UNIVISION Regional Mexican KLNO (LA QUE BUENA), which bounced back from a bad month to move up from #9. The Christmas effect made its mark here, as well, as KLUV made a bold move from #19 into a tie at #9.
A month from now we may be talking about how KHKS’s winning streak was brought to its knees by some lords a leaping -- but that will have to wait. Once again, the station is dominant 18-49 with a full three-share lead over #2 KKDA. KLTY had its lowest book since JULY to remain at #3 though it is now tied with KPLX, which moved up a spot even though it was flat. KDMX was also flat and remained at #5 where it forged a tie with KLNO, which moved in from #8. KLUV put on its CHRISTMAS shoes and took some large strides from #21 up to #7.
This concludes our first round of analysis for the DECEMBER survey. Thank you for checking us out and if you have any comments, corrections, critiques, or just want to wish us a MERRY CHRISTMAS, you can find us on the usual platforms:
Next time we do the deep dive into HOUSTON-GALVESTON, WASHINGTON, DC, PHILADELPHIA, ATLANTA and BOSTON.