Research Director, Inc.: Exclusive October PPM Analysis For NY, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas
October 26, 2015 at 1:55 PM (PT)
It’s time for another monthly meeting where we discuss the trials and tribulations of the radio ratings game. As always, The Ratings Experts from RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. –- in conjunction with the fine folks at XTRENDS –- have spared neither time nor expense to bring these numbers to your browser.
This episode involves the somewhat misleading OCTOBER survey. Since this primarily fell in the previous month (9/10 through 10/7, to be precise), there may be some confusion. Make no mistake –- this is OCTOBER. A time period that saw the beginning of another NFL season, the hoopla of Pope-a-palooza in three eastern markets and, in all likelihood, is the final survey prior to the launch of NIELSEN’s Enhanced CBET program. Let us begin …
NEW YORK: Lite Dims But Wins
Like the rheostat in your dining room, iHEARTMEDIA AC WLTW (LITE) turned down the wattage for a more intimate setting (7.5-6.9). Not to worry, the station was #1 6+ for the twelfth book in a row. And to think, there’s only two more books until CHRISTMAS. CBS RADIO Classic Hits WCBS-F was flat and remained at #2 (6.6-6.6) while EMMIS Urban AC WBLS held steady at #3 with an even performance (6.2-6.2). These three stations were well clear of the rest of the field. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WHTZ (Z100) posted its lowest score in over a year (4.9-4.6) but did not move from the #4 position. However, it was forced to share the space with cluster mate iHEARTMEDIA Urban WWPR (POWER), which moved up from #5 despite a down book (4.8-4.6). SBS Tropical WSKQ (MEGA) rose two places to share space at #4, despite the fact that it scored its lowest rating in over a year (4.7-4.6) – for the second time in a row. The smell of the pennant race combined with the kickoff to the professional football season propelled CBS RADIO Sports WFAN-F to its highest point since JANUARY (3.7-4.2). As a result, the station climbed two spots in the standings to a tie at #7.
Four of the top stations 25-54 were down from the previous survey. WLTW remained #1 for the third consecutive survey while WBLS remained in the runner-up position. WWPR was off slightly at #3. WHTZ remained at #4 but was joined at the podium by the lone gainer in the top five – WCBS-F – which took one bold step forward. Several other stations posted some nice gains in this demo. iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock WAXQ (Q104.3) bounced back from a couple of down books to move up to #7. Once again, WFAN-F had its highest score since JANUARY as it moved up to #9. One station we have not heard from in a while – CUMULUS Hot AC WPLJ – had a solid gain and posted its best share in over a year. This allowed the station to rise to #11.
This marks the tenth survey of 2015. During that time, WWPR has been #1 18-34 in seven of those months. This was the station’s third win in a row though it was unable to match last month’s double-digit performance. EMMIS Top 40/R WQHT (HOT) moved up to within shouting distance at #2 with its highest total in over a year. WHTZ dropped back to #3 with its smallest share since APRIL. WSKQ ended a rather dramatic three-book slide as it moved up to #4. WLTW was at its dimmest since JUNE and slid back to #5. WAXQ had its best showing since MAY to creep up to #7 while WPLJ broke into the top 10 (at #9) for the first time in over a year.
The top four teams 18-49 remained unchanged from the last time. WWPR was off a bit but remained a strong #1 for the second straight survey. WLTW remained at #2 but saw its three-book surge come to an end. WHTZ held on at #3 but landed its lowest share in over a year. WQHT had a small increase to fortify its #4 position. WSKQ and WBLS traded places. The former moved up to #5 with a small increase while the latter dropped back to #6 with a small decrease.
LOS ANGELES: Too Tight
Every station in the top six 6+ saw their shares move – either up or down – by a mere tenth of a share. So, while we talk about movement within the ranks, keep in mind that these changes could have as much to do with rounding as anything else. That said, it was a good month to be iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KIIS (KISS). The station wrested control of the #1 spot with its best book since APRIL (5.1-5.2). CBS RADIO Classic Hits KRTH (K-EARTH) dropped to #2 with a flat performance (5.1-5.1). iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KBIG (MY FM) was down for the third book in a row (4.9-4.8) but remained at #3. Cluster sister -– iHEARTMEDIA AC KOST –- was at its lowest point since MAY (4.6-4.5) but held on at #4. UNIVISION Spanish Contemporary KLVE (K-LOVE) jumped up to #5 with a “massive” increase (3.8-3.9). CBS RADIO Urban AC KTWV (THE WAVE) had an equally “massive” decrease (3.9-3.8) to drop to #6. One station did have an in-context big gain. CBS RADIO News KNX-A moved into the top 10 (at #7) for the first time since we were breaking our New Year’s resolutions and had its best book in over a year (3.0-3.6). Given the minor gains and losses of the stations above, KNX-A’s 20% share increase is beyond massive.
The 25-54 demo behaved in similar fashion to 6+. KIIS was #1 for the second book in a row with a tiny increase while KBIG remained #2 with a tiny decrease. KRTH repeated at #3 with its own tiniest of decreases while KLVE was flat and stable at #4. KOST dropped back to #5 thanks to its third down book in a row. Time to break out the CHRISTMAS clocks? CBS RADIO Top 40/M KAMP (AMP) had its best book since APRIL to advance three squares to #6.
Last month, KIIS led the 18-34 field by over three shares. The station was down this time and, as a result, saw its lead shrink to just under three shares. iHEARTMEDIA Urban KRRL (REAL 92.3) was flat at #2 while EMMIS Top 40/R KPWR (POWER) was off slightly at #3. KAMP moved up two slots to #4 with its highest total since MAY. There was a tie-up at #5. iHEARTMEDIA Alternative KYSR (ALT 98.7) remained in place despite posting its highest share in over a year. It was joined by KBIG, which slipped back one slot with its lowest score in over a year.
Going for the clean demo sweep, KIIS took top honors 18-49 – something it has done in every survey in 2015. Chances are the station will remain there until that right jolly old elf returns to the airwaves. KBIG was off a bit at #2 while KRTH was down slightly at #3. Two stations were upwardly mobile and joined forces at #4. KAMP advanced from #7 with its best showing since MAY while KRRL took one step forward as it, too, posted its largest number since MAY.
CHICAGO: Maybe This Book
You don’t need to be a seamhead to know the long and tortured history of the CUBS. However, despite all the pain, their fan base remains loyal. That is probably the reason CBS RADIO News WBBM-A had its best book since MARCH (5.3-5.8) and moved into a first-place 6+ tie with iHEARTMEDIA Urban AC WVAZ (V103) (5.7-5.8). Now, if they could only do something about the METS rotation … HUBBARD Hot AC WTMX (MIX) was off for the second book in a row (5.4-5.3) and slipped back to #3. And then, there was everyone else. UNIVISION Regional Mexican WOJO (LA QUE BUENA) had its highest share since MARCH (3.2-3.7) to move up five slots to #4. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WKSC (KISS) dropped back to #5 thanks to its lowest total in over a year (4.0-3.6). There was a nice, tidy arrangement being made at #6. iHEARTMEDIA Urban WGCI dropped back a spot (3.7-3.5) while CUMULUS Alternative WKQX had its best book in over a year (3.2-3.5) to advance from a tie at #9.
For the fourth straight survey WTMX was #1 25-54. The station was up slightly from the previous month and maintained a solid advantage over #2 WVAZ, which had its highest share since JUNE. Two stations were joined together at #3. WKSC remained in place despite a small decrease while WOJO moved forward one square with a strong increase. WKQX again had its best book in over a year but took a step back to #5. CUBS fever likely fueled WBBM-A’s five-step rise to a tie at #6. That was the highest the station has been ranked since FEBRUARY.
Depending on your level of reading comprehension, you probably saw this next one coming. Thanks to its best performance since NOVEMBER, WKQX rose to the #1 spot 18-34. This was also the first time in exactly one year that the station was #1. WVAZ advanced three places to #2 with its best showing since MAY. WGCI saw its three-book run at #1 come to an end. The station was flat but still fell to #3. WKSC dropped two slots to #4 with its lowest score in over a year. WOJO moved up two slots to #5 with its highest share since NOVEMBER. WTMX fell four places to #7 with its second straight down book. A couple of stations farther down the list had some strong gains in this demo. CUMULUS Classic Rock WLUP (THE LOOP) moved up to a tie at #9 with its best book in over a year while CBS RADIO Country WUSN (US99.5) rose to #11 with its largest output since MAY.
For the ninth time in the last ten surveys, WTMX copped the top spot 18-49. The station was off slightly but still maintained a healthy one-share advantage over WVAZ, which moved up to #2 with its highest total since JUNE. There was a three-some on the tee at #3. WKSC dropped a spot with its lowest share in over a year while WKQX moved up from #5 with its best book since APRIL. WOJO joined the party from #6 thanks to its largest number since MARCH. WGCI dropped two slots to #6 with its lowest total since APRIL.
SAN FRANCISCO: They Might Not Be Giants
If you’ve been following along for the last few months (and seasons), you know that this town loves its baseball GIANTS. Alas, as the team faded during this survey, so did the fortunes of its flagship – CUMULUS Sports KNBR-A. The station dropped out of a tie at #1 6+ with CBS RADIO News KCBS-A. KNBR-A ended up at #2 (5.7-5.0). A year ago when the local nine was marching towards a world’s championship, the station was #1 with a 6.6 share. Meanwhile, KCBS-A had its best book since MAY (5.7-6.0). ENTERCOM AC KOIT moved up to #3 with a flat performance (4.8-4.8), which knocked iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KIOI (STAR) back to #4 (4.9-4.5). Two stations moving in opposite directions met up at #5. KQED INC N/T KQED actually remained in place but with its smallest number since JUNE (4.6-4.2) while CBS RADIO Hot AC KLLC (ALICE) moved up two slots (4.1-4.2).
Though KOIT was down for the second month in a row, the station maintained its #1 25-54 position for the fourth consecutive survey. Last month, two competitors were tied at #3. Both were up this time but there was now space between them. KIOI had its best book since MAY to move up to #2 while KLLC remained in place even though it was up slightly. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KYLD (WILD) was off a bit but still moved forward one step to #4. ENTERCOM Top 40/R KRBQ (Q102) was flat but made a two-spot improvement to #5. The lack of a pennant race dropped KNBR-A from #2 to a tie at #6 and out of wild-card contention. Last year at this time the station was #1.
We have been alluding to this for the last several months and it finally happened. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/R KMEL was not #1 18-34 for the first time in at least a year and likely much longer than that. The station had a small decrease, which dropped the station to #2 and that opened the door for cluster mate KYLD, which assumed command of the demo with its highest share in over a year. KRBQ was flat and steady at #3 while KIOI held firm at #4 despite posting its lowest total since JUNE. CBS RADIO Top 40/M KMVQ (NOW) had its lowest share since some guy named JACK was invading your personal space. Despite that, the station remained at #5. For those of you keeping score at home, KNBR-A dropped five slots to #16. A year ago it was #7.
KYLD managed to hold on to the #1 spot 18-49 for the second book in a row despite a slight decrease. KOIT advanced two paces to #2 with a slight increase. What followed were a pair of ties. KMVQ and KLLC were knotted at #3. The former dropped from a tie at #2 with its lowest share since THURL RAVENSCROFT was showing up in rotation while KLLC advanced from a tie at #5 with a slight increase. Then, there was the deadlock at #5. KRBQ remained stationary and flat while KMEL dropped from a tie at #2 thanks to a modest decrease in share. KNBR-A fell one spot to #9. Last season it was #2 at this time.
DALLAS-FT.WORTH: The Bottom Fell Out
This one was different. Usually, there are two or three stations that are clearly ahead of the rest of the field. However, this time the top three 6+ stations experienced rather large and painful share losses. The ranks did not change but the market became significantly more compressed. As usual, iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KHKS (KISS) was #1 but the station had its lowest share in over a year (7.0-5.6). CUMULUS Country KPLX (THE WOLF) was at #2 with its smallest litter since JUNE (5.7-4.6). CBS RADIO Classic Hits KLUV (K-LOVE) was still at #3 (5.4-4.5). SALEM Christian Contemporary KLTY was off slightly at #4 (4.6-4.4) while iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock KZPS (LONE STAR) moved up to #5 with a slight increase (4.1-4.3). iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KDMX (NOW) dropped to #6 with its lowest share since GAYLA PEEVEY was making her demands (4.3-4.1). If you’re keeping score, in SEPTEMBER the gap between the #2 and #6 station was 1.6 shares. This time it was down to 0.5. Oh, and how ‘bout dem COWBOYS! CBS RADIO Sports KRLD-F (THE FAN) rode the broken promise of the new season to its best book in over a year (2.8-4.0) and jumped seven places to a tie at #7.
The weirdness continued 25-54. KHKS was #1, of course, but with what was easily its lowest share in over a year. Generally, the station has close to a two-share lead in this demo. It was well below that this time as KRLD-F went from a tie at #10 to #2. UNIVISION Regional Mexican KLNO moved up five spots to #3 as it rebounded from a significantly down book. KZPS held firm at #4 with a slight increase while three stations were in contention at #5. KLUV slipped from #3 with a modest decrease while CBS RADIO Adult Hits KJKK (JACK) moved up from #6 with its highest total in over a year. KPLX dropped from #2 with its smallest number since MAY.
Though KHKS won 18-34 for what seems like the millionth book in a row the station – once again – posted its lowest share in over a year. Since its high-water mark in APRIL, KISS has shed almost three full shares. It still held a comfortable lead over this month’s #2 – SERVICE Urban KKDA (K104), which had its best book since MAY. KDMX had its lowest share since MARCH and slipped back into a tie at #3 with RADIO ONE Top 40/R KBFB (THE BEAT), which took one step forward just by being flat. KRLD-F jumped four spots to #5. A year ago the station was tied at #21. And, KPLX posted its lowest score since FEBRUARY to drop five places to #9 – its lowest rank in over a year.
If you thought the 18-49 demo would be any different than the previous three, then you need to stop reading now because you’ll be disappointed. KHKS was #1 again but -– again -– had its lowest share in over a year. It held a meager two-share lead over the four –- count ‘em –- four stations tied at #2. KDMX remained in place though with a modest decrease. KKDA moved up from #5 with its best book in over a year. KJKK advanced from #6 as it, too, posted its best score in over a year. KBFB moved forward one square despite a slight decrease. KRLD-F was close behind this quartet as it rose from a tie at #12 to #6. KPLX dropped four places to a tie at #8 as the station has shed over two full shares in the last two surveys.
Round one is in the books. The Ratings Experts from RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. will re-group and prepare to explore our next group of lucky participants -– HOUSTON, WASHINGTON DC, PHILADELPHIA, ATLANTA, and BOSTON. In the meantime, feel free to disagree, digress, or debate any of our conclusions. We can be reached via the platforms below (but most people prefer e-mail).