Research Director, Inc. Presents Exclusive May PPM Analysis For N.Y., Chicago, San Francisco And Dallas
June 9, 2014 at 1:45 PM (PT)
With the release of the MAY data, it is hard to believe the year is rapidly approaching the midway point. This particular survey was mostly, but not completely, contained within the month of its name as it covered the dates of APRIL 24th through MAY 21st.
As always, The Ratings Experts at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. took a deep dive into the numbers to find the stories (or lack thereof) that presented themselves. For this particular survey, we proceed knowing that weather was not really a major factor this time, baseball season was in full swing (batter, batter), and we were – for the most part – lacking in those pesky major holidays that throw off listener behavior.
As a reminder, we explore four different demos in each market and focus on the year-to-year progression. While it is often nice to see if a station has set an historic benchmark, we also realize that in PPM world, it’s all about “what have you done for me lately?”
As noted before, NIELSEN announced that L.A.'s data will be delayed until further notice. Let the journey for the others begin …
NEW YORK: Running In Place
When we last checked in with America’s number one market, things looked pretty much the same as they do now. The stations that were in the top five then are still there in almost the identical order. This does not mean the potential for drama does not exist. As per usual, CCM+E AC WLTW (LITE) was at #1 with a flat book (6.8-6.8). It managed to maintain its slim lead over #2 CBS RADIO Classic Hits WCBS-F – which was also flat (6.6-6.6). CCM+E Top 40/M WHTZ (Z100) was likewise flat (5.6-5.6) to remain at #3. However, it was joined there by EMMIS Urban AC WBLS, which inched up a spot with its best number since JANUARY (5.5-5.6). SBS Tropical WSKQ (LA MEGA) remained at #5 for the third straight book (4.7-5.1). In case you were wondering, CUMULUS Country WNSH (NASH) was also flat (1.9-1.9) but did move forward two squares to #19. This also marked the final book for the station formerly known as NOW – CBS RADIO Top 40/M WNOW (AMP). It remained tied at #15 with a slightly smaller share (2.2-2.1).
As the year has unfolded, the 25-54 race has gotten tighter and tighter. WLTW continued to lead with a slightly down book, but cluster sister WHTZ narrowed the gap to its smallest possible margin just by being flat. WSKQ had a small increase and bounced back to #3, which forced WBLS to take one step back to #4 as it had a modest decrease. CCM+E Top 40/M WKTU also shed a bit of share but held firm at #5.
WHTZ bounced back from its lowest non-SANTA-influenced book in over a year to remain a strong #1 18-34, though it is off by more than a share from a year ago. EMMIS Urban WQHT (HOT) had its best performance in over a year and moved forward two places to #2. This dropped arch-rival CCM+E Urban WWPR (POWER) – which was flat – back to #3 where it tied itself to WSKQ – which was up slightly. WKTU returned to the top five with a solid increase while WLTW slid two spots to #7 with its smallest share since JANUARY.
Even though it was flat, WHTZ matched its best 18-49 share of the year to remain at #1. WSKQ inched a tiny bit closer as it held on at #2, while WLTW remained flat and happy at #3. WKTU came in at #4 for the fourth month in a row. A couple of newly minted cluster mates swapped positions. WQHT moved up two spots to #5 with its best showing in over a year. This caused a bit of commotion in the company lunch room as WBLS exited the top five for the first time since JULY.
CHICAGO: Watch Out For That Pothole
The freeze-thaw cycle in the upper midwest can play havoc with macadam and asphalt (we never knew which was what). This causes huge potholes to develop, which can often swallow up your standard hybrid. This is what might have happened to the station vehicle known as CCM+E Urban AC WVAZ (V103), which saw a huge chunk of its ratings just vanish during this survey (6.7-5.6). Though it remained #1, this was its smallest share in over a year. CBS RADIO News WBBM-A also saw some ratings erosion (5.6-5.0). This was the station’s lightest share since AUGUST but it did manage to remain at #2 – if barely. HUBBARD Hot AC WTMX (MIX) is a much closer #3 thanks to a slight ratings increase (4.7-4.9). What is it about CUBS fans? The team just plain stinks yet they continue to listen to soon-to-be-former flagship TRIBUNE N/T WGN-A as the station remained at #4 with its best book since AUGUST (4.5-4.6). CBS RADIO Country WUSN (US 99.5) was up for the third straight month (4.3-4.4) to return to the top five while CCM+E Top 40/M WKSC (KISS) had its lowest total since the HOLIDAY book (4.5-4.1) to drop three spots into a tie at #7. It was joined by CCM+E Hot AC WLIT (MY FM), which matched its best non-SANTA number since flipping formats last year (3.9-4.1).
For the fifth month in a row, WTMX captured the title of #1 station 25-54 as it bounced back slightly from its lowest book of the year. WVAZ remained at #2 despite a down book while WKSC held on at #3 after posting its second straight down book. CBS RADIO Top 40/M WBBM-F (B96) was flat for the second month in a row and did not budge from #4. HUBBARD Classic Hits WDRV (THE DRIVE) ended its four-book surge and slid a spot to #5 where it was tied with WLIT, which made a huge leap from #12.
While size may not matter, signal certainly does. Back in JANUARY, CUMULUS Alternative WKQX moved to a new and more powerful frequency. The subsequent results speak for themselves. The station was #1 18-34 for the second month in a row and has more than doubled its share since the swap. CCM+E Urban WGCI was flat – matching its lowest book in the last year – to remain at #2 where it was tied by WBBM-F, which moved up from #4 with its best showing since JANUARY. WUSN had its best book in over a year to remain in a tie at #4 though with a new partner – WTMX – which moved up from #7 with its highest total since OCTOBER. WKSC was only off a tiny bit but it was enough to send the station down three rungs to #6.
This marked the third straight month with WTMX sitting at #1 18-49 as the station ended a three-book slide. WBBM-F had a healthy increase, which caused the station to rise three spots to #2 while WKQX was up for the third book in a row to move forward three paces to #3. WKSC lost enough share to drop a spot to #4 while WGCI fell to #5. The station is on a three-book slide that has seen it shed two shares worth of ratings. WVAZ saw its three-book surge come to a crashing halt as it dropped four spots to #6.
SAN FRANCISCO: One Giant Leap
If you are a follower of Major League Baseball, you know that so far this season the two best performing teams reside in The Bay Area. One of those – your SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS – also performed very well on the radio. Their quest for another pennant drove CUMULUS Sports KNBR-A back to #1 as the station scored its best run total in over a year (5.4-6.1). As with the previous survey, the top three positions in the rankings are held by radio stations that do not play songs for a living. CBS RADIO News KCBS-A slipped back to #2 with a slight loss of share (6.0-5.8) while KQED INC N/T KQED held on to #3 despite reporting its smallest number since the HOLIDAY survey (5.3-4.8). ENTERCOM AC KOIT made a strong bid to stand on the winner’s podium as it moved from a tie at #8 to #4 with its best non-SANTA-tinged book since AUGUST (3.7-4.6). CBS RADIO Top 40/M KMVQ (NOW) matched its lowest share of the last year (4.4-4.1) to drop back one spot to #5. CCM+E Top 40/R KMEL slipped enough (4.0-3.9) to drop out of the top five and into a tie at #6.
It is a rare sight, indeed, to see a sports station sit atop the 25-54 rankings but KNBR accomplished this for the second month in a row by – once again – scoring its best book in over a year. UNIVISION Spanish Adult Hits KBRG moved up two places to #2 by matching its best book of the year while KMVQ remained stationary at #3 with a slight loss of share. CCM+E Hot AC KIOI (STAR) bounced back from last month’s down performance to move up from a tie at #5 into a tie at #4. It was in sharing mode with KOIT, which made the leap from a tie at #11 with its best un-holiday performance since NOVEMBER. KQED was awarded its lowest share since AUGUST and was forced to step down four places to #6 where it sat next to CCM+E Top 40/R KYLD (WILD). That station dropped from a tie at #5 even though it posted its highest number since SEPTEMBER.
KMEL continued to dominate the market 18-34, hitting double-digit shares for the fourth straight book. It had nearly a four-share lead over cluster brother KYLD, which remained at #2 despite seeing its four-book surge come to an end. The gap between these two stations and the rest of the market is pretty substantial. CCM+E Rhythmic AC KISQ (KISS) has been on a roller coaster the last four books and this time moved up a spot to #3 while KIOI had its highest share since JANUARY to move up one rank to #4. KMVQ has also been on a roller coaster recently, and this time it went downhill two places to #5. Though this is nowhere near a wheelhouse demo for sports radio, KNBR had its best showing since OCTOBER but did fall one spot in the standings to #7.
Make it four straight surveys with KMEL at #1 18-49. With a slight increase in share, it widened its modest lead over KYLD, which moved up a spot to #2 despite a flat performance. KMVQ was off a bit as it fell one place to #3 while KNBR again scored its best book in over a year to move up a spot to #4. KBRG dropped back to #5 with a slight loss of share.
DALLAS-FT. WORTH: Hungry Like The Wolf
For the most part, CCM+E Top 40/M KHKS (KISS) is not only the #1 station in town – it is a dominant #1. As a matter of fact, only the enormous power of the NORTH POLE has kept the station from fulfilling its destiny. It was #1 again but with its lowest share in over a year (7.2-6.6). This opened the door for CUMULUS Country KPLX (THE WOLF) to snare a share of the lead as it hunted down its best number in over a year (6.1-6.6). The rest of the market was left in the dust. CBS RADIO Classic Hits KLUV (K-LOVE) moved up a spot to #3 with its highest non-HOLIDAY performance in over a year (4.3-4.4). Two stations ended up spending some quality time together at #4 though both were moving in opposite directions. SALEM Christian Contemporary KLTY landed its smallest share in over a year (4.6-4.2) to slip from #3 while CCM+E Classic Rock KZPS (LONE STAR) was up slightly (4.1-4.2) to move up from #5.
KHKS kept its SANTA-free string of #1 25-54 books alive but the station landed its lowest share since JULY. It maintained a healthy, if not dominant, lead over #2 KPLX, which narrowed the gap with its best performance in over a year. CCM+E Active Rock KEGL (THE EAGLE) winged its way up two spots to #3 by hatching its highest share in over a year. KLTY was off slightly as it slipped to #4 while KZPS suffered the same fate in dropping to #5. SERVICE Urban AC KRNB slipped slightly but that forced it out of a tie at #5 into a tie at #7.
At this point, alert readers may be noticing a pattern developing. KHKS remained strong but with its lowest share in a while. KPLX had its best book in some time to challenge for the lead. The trend continued – kind of – 18-34 with KHKS remaining #1 with its lowest share since JULY. However, KPLX only had its second-best book in the last year to hold on at #2. KEGL did throw down one of those best-books-in-over-a-year as it soared from #5 to #3. CUMULUS Country KSCS has been on a five-book run. It has added more than two full shares to its total during that time and just moved up two places to #4. Two stations dropped in rank to form an alliance at #5. RADIO ONE Top 40/R KBFB (THE BEAT) was down for the third book in a row to drop from #4 while SERVICE Urban KKDA (K104) had its smallest share in over a year to drop from #3.
For the sake of symmetry, KHKS has its lowest 18-49 share in over a year but managed to keep a solid lead over #2 KPLX, which – surprise – had its highest number in over a year. KEGL remained at #3 even though it had its best showing in over a year. Two stations were upwardly mobile and met at #4. KBFB rose from #5 even though it was off slightly while CCM+E Alternative KDGE (THE EDGE) moved up from a tie at #8 with its best showing so far this year. KKDA has been hit pretty hard the last two surveys, dropping from #2 to its most recent residence at #7.
Thus ends our first round of exclusive analysis for ALL ACCESS. As with all our observations, feel free to agree, amplify, or correct anything we have written. You can easily reach us via the various platforms listed below.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of our saga as we examine HOUSTON, WASHINGTON, DC, PHILADELPHIA, ATLANTA, and BOSTON.
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