Research Director, Inc. Presents Exclusive March PPM Analysis For New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas
April 15, 2013
ALL ACCESS presents MARCH PPM market highlights, compiled by the Ratings Experts at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. and powered by XTRENDS, radio's #1 PPM and diary analysis tool. All numbers reflect subscriber only data.
NEW YORK: The Song Remains The Same
Welcome back to our monthly journey through the ratings wars in AMERICA’s biggest radio markets. The data-driven gnomes at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. make it our duty to not only delve into the numbers, but also to find the stories that are driving the various races around the country. We look beyond the vanity scoreboard of the 6+ numbers and give you an idea of how the other major adult demos are shaping up. In addition, we focus on the recency of the information, believing that while long-term historical markers are nice, they are less relevant than what has transpired in the previous 12 months (or 13 surveys). While we may not always have the latest information first, we can guarantee you that we will provide depth and perspective you will not read elsewhere. So, watch this space over the next couple of days for ratings insight you can only find in All Access. And now, on with the show...
The juggernaut that is CCM+E AC WLTW (LITE FM) shows no signs of slowing down. While the station experienced its expected audience dip following the cessation of holiday festivities, it is now on a two-book surge (7.6-7.8) and remained the top station in America’s #1 city. This particular survey also happened to be the largest it has seen since last MAY (excluding Santa time, of course). CBS RADIO Classic Hits WCBS-F has been a marvel of consistency for the last year, and just ended a three-book slide (6.1-6.4) to remain at #2 for the eighth straight book. On the other hand, CCM+E Top 40/M WHTZ (Z100) has been a somewhat lighter version of its former self for several months now. That trend came to an end (5.1-5.6) as the station scored its best book since AUGUST and rode that increase from #4 to #3. YMF MEDIA Urban AC WBLS was down for the fourth straight book (5.5-5.3) and posted its lowest total since APRIL to slip a spot to #4. Exactly one year ago, CBS RADIO News WINS-A was in a tie at #10 with a 3.4 share. The breaking news is much better for the station as it held on to #5 for the third book in a row (4.7-4.5). Of course, one of the stations everyone is curious about is CUMULUS Country WNSH (NASH FM). This was the second consecutive full survey for the station in its new format. It experienced continued growth (1.6-1.8) and took over sole possession of the #20 position.
Once again, WLTW blew up the 25-54 demo even though its almost two-share lead over cluster mate WHTZ shrunk to its lowest margin since last AUGUST. Z100 also happened to have its best in-demo performance since JULY. WBLS continued its run of consistency and kept a firm grasp on #3 while SBS Tropical WSKQ (LA MEGA) remained at #4 despite its fourth straight flat or down book. WCBS-F ended a two-book power drain to assume complete command of #5. And how was WNSH? Up slightly as it moved from #21 to a tie at #19.
Last month, we were lamenting the fact that WHTZ had fallen from its familiar spot at #1 18-34 despite posting its best book since the previous summer. Well, this month the station was not only up for the third straight book, but it posted double-digit shares for the first time in over a year. It easily outpaced new #2 WLTW, which fell slightly from its previous non-Christmas high. Don’t despair for LITE, however, as it is still over a share heftier than it was a year ago. Fellow cluster resident CCM+E Urban WWPR (POWER) was up for the third book in a row with its best number since JULY to remain a solid #3, though it is just inches ahead of EMMIS Top 40/R WQHT (HOT), which ended a three-book slide to move up one spot to #4. UNIVISION Spanish Contemporary WXNY (X96.3) was down for the third book in a row, yet it managed to move up from #6 into a tie at #5 with WSKQ, which slid down a spot from #4. A couple of other stations worthy of mention. CBS RADIO AC WWFS (FRESH 102.7) broke into the top 10 (excluding Christmas) for the first time in a year, climbing from #13 to a tie at #8, while WNSH rose from a tie at #17 to a tie at #15.
WHTZ’s resurgence was also reflected in its 18-49 performance as the station returned to #1 with its best number since JULY and is also over a full share fatter than a year ago. Even though WLTW slipped from the top spot to #2, it is exactly one share beefier than a year ago, and is just a whisper behind its cluster mate. WSKQ scored its lowest number since NOVEMBER, but held fast at #3 while WXNY remained at #4 despite its third straight down book. Three stations are locked in a deadly duel at #5. Two were there last time – CCM+E Top 40/M WKTU and WWPR. They were joined in this space by WBLS, which rose from #7. The boot-scootin’ boogie drove WNSH from #20 to #18.
LOS ANGELES: All Amped Up
Once the final strains of Silent Night left the LA airwaves, CCM+E Top 40/M KIIS (KISS FM) (5.4-5.8) assumed its full and upright position as the #1 station in town. However, last month it was forced to play nice with its cluster mate CCM+E Hot AC KBIG (MY FM) (5.4-5.5) and share that coveted ranking. This month, both stations had positive ratings experiences that were not exactly equal so they found themselves separated a bit. Still, both are at least a share point stronger than a year ago. Another member of this happy band of brothers, CCM+E AC KOST, experienced a third straight post-Christmas decline (4.8-4.6) but managed to maintain its #3 ranking. For most of the last year, CBS RADIO Top 40/M KAMP (AMP) was forced to gaze longingly at the top 5. Well, for the second straight book (4.1-4.3) the station is not only a part of that group – it has achieved its highest ranking in over a year as it climbed from #5 to #4. Exactly one year ago, CUMULUS Talk KFI-A was the #1 station in town. Though the station has been consistently ranked in the top 5 during that time, it just posted its lowest number since JANUARY (4.6-4.2) and slipped one spot to #5.
For 10 of the last fourteen surveys, KBIG has been the #1 station 25-54. MARCH marks the third month in a row the station has topped the charts, and it just posted its best number in over a year. KIIS matched its second-best number in the last year and remained at #2. A year ago, CBS RADIO Alternative KROQ was stuck in a tie at #9, with a score that was over a share lighter than what it just earned. This positive turn of events also drove the station from #4 to #3. KOST continued to shed those extra holiday pounds and slipped a spot to #4 with the exact same share it had a year ago. UNIVISION Regional Mexican KSCA was flat for the second straight book to remain at #5. KAMP has been flat or up for six straight books and is dangerously close to cracking the top 5 code as it rose from #7 to #6.
Boom goes the dynamite 18-34 as KIIS dropped in with its biggest number in over a year to secure its fifth straight #1 book. How big was the number? Try two-and-a-half shares larger than last year’s! EMMIS Top 40/R KPWR (POWER) rebounded from its lowest book of the last year to remain a now distant #2 while KAMP was up for the fourth straight book to solidify its hold on #3. Both KBIG and KROQ had positive ratings experiences to remain at #4 and #5, respectively.
The status quo was maintained 18-49 as the top 5 rankings remained completely unchanged even though every station had an up book. Over the last 14 surveys, only SANTA has been able to keep KISS from #1 and the station raised its level of dominance by scoring its best book in over a year. KBIG also had its best book in over a year but had to settle for the bridesmaid role once again. KPWR picked up its best book since NOVEMBER to remain at #3 while the two stations that were tied at #4 last time repeated that performance – KROQ and KAMP, which was KAMP’s best book in over a year.
CHICAGO: Turn It Up To Eleven
Over the last 11 out of 12 surveys, CCM+E Urban AC WVAZ (V 103) has been #1, and since DECEMBER it has led the market by at least a full share point. The trend continued this month as the station followed its best book of the last year with its second-best book (6.6-6.5), topping the six share mark for the fifth month in a row. Clearly, the station is on a hot streak. CBS RADIO News WBBM-A was up for the third straight book (5.3-5.4) and posted its best non-election-influenced number in exactly one year. The station broke out of a tie at #2 to claim the position all by its lonesome. Speaking of hotness, HUBBARD Hot AC WTMX (MIX) doubled down by matching its best book in over a year for the second month in a row (5.3-5.3) and has seemed to recover from a somewhat fallow fall, even though it slipped out of a tie at #2 to #3. TRIBUNE N/T WGN-A prepped for another disappointing CUBS season (are there any other kinds?) by maintaining its hold on #4 (4.9-4.7). CCM+E Urban WGCI has not visited the top 4 in over a year but after posting its best number since MAY (3.8-4.2), the station climbed a spot to #5. We are all aware that market compression can result in big movements from small changes. Witness CCM+E Top 40/M WKSC (KISS), which slipped from 3.9-3.8 yet fell from #5 into a tie at #7.
WTMX is riding a three-book surge that has led the station to its third straight #1 book 25-54. Even though it was down slightly from a 14-book high, it managed to widen its already sizeable lead over #2 WVAZ, which slipped a bit for the second month in a row. WGCI’s two-book charge has taken it from #10 in JANUARY to its new residence at #3. The station has not been ranked this high in this demo in over a year. Three stations are participating in a time-share at #4. WKSC slipped from #3 while CBS RADIO Top 40/M WBBM-F (B96) had its best book since JULY to move up from a tie at #5. Cluster pardner CBS RADIO Country WUSN (US 99.5) has been on a roller coaster of late, which has seen it go from #12 to a tie at #3 to a tie at #8 to its current position as one of the #4s.
There was all sorts of movement in the 18-34 demo. WGCI scored its best book since DECEMBER to return to #1 for the first time since then. Last month, CCM+E Regional Mexican WNUA (EL PATRON) was riding a three-book hot streak at #1. This month, the station lost more than a share and a half of its ratings and fell back to #2. WTMX remained solidly in place at #3 while WBBM-F scored its best number since SEPTEMBER to climb from #7 to #4. WKSC slipped a bit but remained at #5, though it is now tied with MERLIN Alternative WKQX (Q 87.7), which duplicated its best-book-since-changing-formats from last month to move up from #6.
For the ninth time in the last fourteen surveys, WTMX was #1 18-49. This might qualify as consistency as the station accomplished this feat for the third month in a row. The resurgence of WGCI continued as the station scored its best book since MAY to climb from #4 to #2. This forced cluster mate WVAZ to drop a spot to #3, which is still far better than the #7 it had a year ago. Despite an ever-so-slight down book, WKSC managed to move up one slot to #4, followed closely by WBBM-F, which jumped from #6 to #5. WNUA ended a four-book surge that had taken it from #10 to as high as #2. This time, the station slid from #3 to #6.
SAN FRANCISCO: News Is The News
It appears that residents of the BAY AREA have a hunger (or is it a thirst) for news programming. For the third month in a row, the spoken word has been the dominant source of entertainment. This time around, the largest purveyors of this product have, to coin a phrase, flip-flopped. KQED INC N/T KQED assumed the mantle of market leader it abdicated last month by posting its best book since DECEMBER (5.5-5.8). This is one of the few markets in the U.S. where a non-commercial entity consistently challenges for the market lead, and KQED has been #1 in six of the last 14 surveys. CBS RADIO News KCBS-A saw its brief hold on #1 slip from its grasp as it moved back to #2 (5.9-5.7) – exactly where it was a year ago. Since suffering the expected loss of audience after eliminating JACK FROST from its playlist, ENTERCOM AC KOIT had its second straight up book (4.8-4.9) to remain at #3. For four months in a row, CCM+E Top 40/R KMEL has been either flat or up (4.5-4.7), which has taken the station from #9 in DECEMBER to its current holding at #4. There is a true logjam at #5 as four stations are tied for the position, each with its own, unique personal history. CCM+E Top 40/R KYLD (WILD) was #5 last month but lost the opportunity to remain in sole ownership of that spot with a slight down book (4.0-3.7). CBS RADIO Top 40/M KMVQ (NOW) was down as well (3.9-3.7) but through the magic of mathematics moved up from #6. CCM+E Hot AC KIOI (STAR) also slipped a bit (3.8-3.7) but also moved up from #7. Finally, CCM+E Classic Hits KOSF got the biggest jump by just sitting still as it moved up from #8 despite a flat book (3.7-3.7).
For the ninth time in the last 14 surveys (and third month in a row) KQED led the pack 25-54 with its best book since DECEMBER (again). The station has a significant lead – to the tune of two-plus shares – over the rest of the market in this demo. The rest of the 25-54 race is relatively compressed. KOIT had its best non-Noel-influenced book since OCTOBER to move from a tie at #5 to #2. KMEL was happily flat to remain at #3 while three stations were deadlocked at #4. KIOI scored its lowest share since last APRIL to slip from #2, while KYLD’s ratings downturn took it from #3. KMVQ was flat yet managed to move up from a tie at #5. A year ago, KCBS-A was tied at #3 but after securing its lowest book since OCTOBER, the station plummeted from a tie at #5 to #10.
The KMEL 18-34 juggernaut continues to roll as the station is once again a dominant #1. We did a little digging and found that the last time the station was not #1 was, well, never – at least in the PPM era (going back to DECEMBER 2010). For the thirteenth month in a row, KYLD was a distant #2 while KMVQ was #3 for the third straight month. CBS RADIO Alternative KITS (LIVE 105) scored its best book since MAY to remain at #4. As recently as DECEMBER, the station was in a tie at #13. UNIVISION Regional Mexican KSOL (ESTEREO SOL) ended a disastrous three-book slide to move from a tie at #6 to #5, displacing KQED, which just happened to score its best 18-34 book in over a year.
KMEL’s dominance 18-49 is not quite as dramatic as we saw 18-34 but it did just score its third #1 book in a row. KQED had its best book since DECEMBER to move up a slot to #2, dropping KYLD to #3. KMVQ was flat for the second straight book to remain at #4 for the third month in a row, while KIOI maintained its hold on #5.
DALLAS-FT. WORTH: Fit To Be Tied
For the third month in a row, CCM+E Top 40/M KHKS (KISS FM) was the #1 station (7.2-7.2). Nothing unusual here as the only time the station has not been #1 in the last three years is when SANTA is in town. However, the rest of the market looks like rush hour on the TOM LANDRY Highway. Three, count ‘em, three stations are tied up in knots at #2. Last month’s resident of this position – SALEM Christian Contemporary KLTY – had its lowest book in over a year (5.3-4.5). CCM+E Hot AC KDMX (NOW) had its best book in over a year (4.4-4.5) to climb up from a tie at #4, while UNIVISION Regional Mexican KLNO (LA QUE BUENA) also had its highest number in over a year (4.0-4.5) to perform the stunning leap from #7. Two other stations are bumper-to-bumper at #5. CUMULUS Country KPLX (THE WOLF) ended a two-book surge (4.9-4.4) to drop from #3 while CCM+E Classic Rock KZPS (LONE STAR) was flat (4.4-4.4) to drop from a tie at #4.
When the elves are not working, KHKS is #1 25-54 and that trend continued this month even though the station had its lowest non-Christmas-music-influenced book in over a year. KLNO had its best book in over a year and has been flat or up for six straight books to remain at #2. A year ago, KDMX was tied at #8 but this time the station jumped from #5 to #3, while KZPS slumped a bit to remain at #4. KPLX is howling a bit as it dropped from #3 all the way to #5.
Yes, KHKS is #1 18-34 – again – with its best book since JULY. Channeling our inner INDIANA JONES, we find that the last time the station was not #1 in this demo was JUNE of 2011. That works out to, um, a lot of books in a row. KPLX was down this time but remained at #2 – a far sight better than the #9 it had a year ago. KDMX was flat to remain at #3 – a vast improvement on the #10 it had last year at this time. KLNO ended a three-book slide to move up a slot to #4, while SERVICE Urban KKDA (K104) seems on the road to redemption as it jumped from #7 to #5. CUMULUS Country KSCS had quite the opposite experience after posting its lowest number since JUNE to fall from #4 to #9.
KHKS fell off slightly from last month but it is still the reigning champion 18-49. It is only slightly less dominant in this demo, as we were actually able to find TWO books since the dawn of PPM where the station was not #1, and both times it lost to elfin magic. KLNO had its best book in over a year to strengthen its hold on #2, while KDMX was up for the second straight month to remain #3. KPLX had its lowest non-Christmas-influenced total since MAY but remained at #4, though it is now tied with the hard-charging RADIO ONE Top 40/R KBFB (THE BEAT), which posted its highest number in over a year to leap from #8.