Research Director, Inc. Presents Exclusive February PPM Analysis For New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco
March 16, 2015
Though FEBRUARY is the shortest month on record (we looked it up), it also marks a return to normal behavior, of sorts. The CHRISTMAS holiday is now a distant memory and listeners all over the place are back into their routines. This often leads to a return to previous levels for many a station. In this particular month we dealt with the “big game,” a three-day weekend and the continuation of severe winter weather in many markets.
The Ratings Experts at RESEARCH DIRECTOR INC., in tandem with the gang at XTRENDS, invite you on a journey through the most recent NIELSEN data for the top cities in the U.S.A.
NEW YORK: They’re Leaving The Lite On
As the sounds of sleigh bells recede into the ether, it comes as no surprise that iHEARTMEDIA AC WLTW (LITE) found its 6+ share in decline for the second month in a row (7.4-7.0). There was no cause for alarm, however, as the station peeled off its fourth straight #1 book. CBS RADIO Classic Hits WCBS-F continued to nip at LITE’s heels from the #2 position (6.4-6.2) while EMMIS Urban AC WBLS remained a strong #3 (6.1-5.8). Those three stations have separated themselves from the rest of the market over the last few surveys. Next in line were two stations struggling for possession of #4. SBS Tropical WSKQ (LA MEGA) remained in place with its smallest number since NOVEMBER (5.5-5.2) while iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WHTZ (Z100) moved up a rank with a slight increase (5.1-5.2). A couple of stations just outside the top five have had a good start to their 2015. CBS RADIO News WINS-A held steady at #6 but did land its best book in over a year (4.8-5.1). Meanwhile, iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock WAXQ (Q104.3) also scored its best share in over a year (4.3-5.0) to move up a spot to #7.
The order of the top five 25-54 remained unchanged from last month. WLTW was at #1 with a slight decrease while WBLS remained at #2 with a modest decrease. In case you were wondering, a modest decrease is somewhat larger than a slight decrease. There will be a quiz. WHTZ was flat and happy at #3 while WSKQ was at #4 with a slight increase. WCBS-F was at #5 again but posted its lowest total since JUNE.
For the second book in a row, iHEARTMEDIA Urban WWPR (POWER) was #1 18-34. However, this time the station had a significant loss of share and was just barely ahead of #2 WHTZ, which had a modest increase. WSKQ slipped back to #3 as it, too, had a modest decrease and was tied with EMMIS Top 40R WQHT (HOT), which moved up a spot with its highest score since SEPTEMBER. A year ago WAXQ was sitting at #12. This time the station cracked the top five with a number almost twice as large as last year’s. This bumped iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WKTU back to #6 even though it was flat.
There was a changing of the guard and a bit of swappage in the 18-49 chart. WHTZ moved back to #1 for the first time since NOVEMBER and this knocked its cluster sister – WLTW – back to #2. A year ago these stations were tied at #1 with almost the exact same numbers they had this year. WSKQ and WWPR also traded spaces as the former moved up to #3 despite a slight decrease. Logically, this pushed POWER back to #4 as it had a modest decrease. WBLS was off a bit to remain at #5 while its younger cluster cousin – WQHT – had its highest total since JUNE to move up a couple of spots to #6, where it shared space with WKTU, which remained in place from last month with a small decrease.
LOS ANGELES: Everybody Do The Tighten Up
There was little room to wiggle atop the 6+ FEBRUARY leaderboard. Four stations were separated by a mere two-tenths of a point. Last month’s winner – iHEARTMEDIA AC KOST – returned to its pre-Santa level of NOVEMBER (5.6-5.2) but managed to cling to a share of the lead. It was joined by cluster compadre iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KIIS (KISS-FM), which had its highest share since the same month (5.0-5.2) to move forward one square. CBS RADIO Classic Hits KRTH (K-EARTH) had its biggest burst since JUNE (4.6-5.1) to remain at #3. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KBIG (MY FM) slipped back to #4 even though it scored its best book since OCTOBER (4.6-5.0). CBS RADIO Top 40/M KAMP (AMP) had its highest share in exactly one year (3.9-4.3) to move up a spot to #5. Of course, the big story out of the market centered around one large fellow. He departed EMMIS Top 40/R KPWR (POWER) early in the survey and that did have a negative effect on the station’s overall number. It dropped four places to #9 with its lowest share in over a year (4.0-3.6). Meanwhile, the upstart – iHEARTMEDIA Rhythmic AC KRRL (REAL) – did not have the big guy in place during this survey. As a result, the station was essentially flat (2.6-2.5) and fell a spot to a tie at #14. We’re guessing all this will change when the next book comes out. Watch this space.
Though the 25-54 crown remained in the same cluster, it did switch trophy cases. KIIS returned to the top spot as it matched its NOVEMBER share – the last time it was #1. KOST slipped back to #2 with a slight loss of share. KBIG remained at #3 with its second up book in a row. KRTH again had its best book since JUNE as it took two steps forward to #4. To put this in perspective, a year ago the station was in a tie at #12. CBS RADIO Adult Hits KCBS-F (JACK FM) had its best book in over a year for the second straight month to remain at #5. KPWR slid four places to #8 with – again – its lowest share in over a year while KRRL was up slightly in its advance to a tie at #15.
KIIS had its best 18-34 book since APRIL to remain at #1 for the second straight survey. KPWR remained at #2 but fell farther behind the leader thanks to its lowest share in over a year. KBIG moved up a spot to #3 with its highest total since SEPTEMBER. KAMP fell back to #4 even though it was up for the third straight book and landed its best number in exactly a year. Sometimes life is just not fair. CBS RADIO Alternative KROQ moved up to #5 with a flat performance. This dropped its cluster buddy KRTH back to #6 as it fell back to, ahem, earth. KRRL experienced a growth spurt as it jumped from #22 to #11. This was not the best book the station has had in the last year but it was darn close.
It was a good month to be KISS-FM. The station completed the sweep by remaining #1 18-49 with its best number in over a year. KBIG inched up to #2 with another solid performance while KOST slid back to #3 with a modest downturn. However, KOST was over a share fatter than last year when it landed at #6. KAMP again had its highest total in exactly a year, which propelled it to #4. KRTH also moved up a spot – to #5 – with its best book in over a year. KPWR dropped two slots to #6 while KRRL jumped eight places to a tie at #12. There’s something happening here …
CHICAGO: This Just In …
Make it two books in a row that CBS RADIO News WBBM-A threw down a very large number (7.2-7.4). The station was also #1 6+ for the second book in a row. There must have been lots of stuff going on last month in CHICAGOLAND. iHEARTMEDIA Urban AC WVAZ (V103) also showed improvement (6.2-6.3) to remain at #2. Then, there was everyone else. HUBBARD Hot AC WTMX (MIX) was in its customary #3 position – something it has done in 9 of the last 14 books (5.2-5.2). iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WKSC (KISS) inched up to #4 (4.0-4.2) while cluster sister iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC WLIT (MY FM) slipped back to #5 (4.5-4.1). This was the exact same share the station had a year ago when it was ranked #6. CUMULUS Classic Hits WLS-F has been on a two-book tear. The station just scored its highest share since OCTOBER (3.3-3.7) to move up four spots to #7. You may have heard that a country skirmish had broken out. This is the first full book for iHEARTMEDIA Country WEBG (BIG). The initial results were positive – if not overwhelming – as the station moved up seven places to #23 (1.0-1.7). On the surface it would seem this was at the expense of CBS RADIO Country WUSN (US 99.5) as it fell four spots to a tie at #15 (3.3-2.8). However, it is too early to tell if this is a direct cause-and-effect situation.
The top three spots 25-54 went unchanged but then things got interesting. WTMX remained at #1 for the second straight month with its best book since NOVEMBER. WVAZ was up slightly to remain at #2 while WKSC was flat and stable at #3. UNIVISION Regional Mexican WOJO (LA QUE BUENA) enjoyed its first full book devoid of competition by inching up to #4 though it did not experience a large influx of share. CBS RADIO Top 40/M WBBM-F (B96) dropped back to #5 with a slight decrease. Two stations surged up the chart and met at #6. WLS-F was up from a tie at #11 with its best book in over a year while HUBBARD Classic Hits WDRV (THE DRIVE) moved in from a tie at #9 with its highest score since SEPTEMBER. WLIT dropped from a tie at #5 to #10 while WBBM-A dropped from its share of #5 into that tie at #6 mentioned above. The country battle began to take root as WUSN slipped two spots to a tie at #17 while WEBG rose five places to #22.
There was a new 18-34 sheriff in town as WKSC moved to #1 with its best performance in over a year. This dropped WBBM-F back to #2 where it was just ahead of iHEARTMEDIA Urban WGCI, which was up slightly to slide in at #3. The gap between the two stations became quite narrow. CUMULUS Alternative WKQX has seen its numbers yo-yo the last four books. This time they were up and the station stepped forward to #4. WTMX advanced to #5 as the station landed its best number since NOVEMBER. This resulted in WVAZ dropping a couple of places to #6 with its smallest total since NOVEMBER. This was an eye-opening demo for the country confrontation. WUSN had its lowest share in over a year to drop three places to #11. Meanwhile, WEBG rose 11 places to #10 and won the demo for the month.
WTMX was #1 18-49 for the second book in a row and maintained a solid lead over WKSC, which took sole possession of the #2 slot. WVAZ slid back to #3 with a slight decrease while WBBM-F remained at #4 despite a slightly smaller decrease. WKQX was up for the third book in a row and moved forward to #5 while WGCI dropped back to a tie at #6 with its second straight down book. WUSN was down six spots to a tie at #15 while WEBG rose five places to #20.
SAN FRANCISCO: Jostling For Position
This was a very compressed market that featured numerous position changes in this survey. Well, that statement only applies to those stations that were not #1 6+. That honor went to CBS RADIO News KCBS-A, which was #1 for the eighth time in the last 14 books (7.4-6.6). Then came all the rest. ENTERCOM AC KOIT remained a solid – if distant – #2 (4.8-4.7). Last year at this time it settled in at a tie for #7 with a 3.6 share. CBS RADIO Hot AC KLLC (ALICE) took one pill to make it larger (4.1-4.4) as it advanced four steps to #3. CBS RADIO Top 40/M KMVQ (NOW) had its best book since OCTOBER (4.2-4.3) to move forward two places to #4. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/R KMEL parlayed a small gain (3.9-4.1) into a three-step jump to #5. KQED INC. N/T KQED reported its lowest share in over a year (4.6-4.0) to fall three places to #6. Two stations dropped from the top five and ended up spending time at #8. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KIOI (STAR) dropped from #4 with its lowest share since OCTOBER (4.4-3.7) while CUMULUS Sports KNBR-A slid from #5 (4.3-3.7).
The 25-54 rankings resembled a game of musical chairs with almost every station landing in a different position from last month. KLLC has been on quite a three-book run that has taken the station from #10 to its most recent resting place at #1! KOIT was the one station to sit still. It remained at #2 – a far better place than last year when its post-post-Christmas share landed the station in a tie at #9. KMVQ was off slightly but managed to move up a spot to #3. Three stations converged on the #4 slot and didn’t leave. iHEARTMEDIA Rhythmic AC KISQ (KISS) advanced from #11 with what was easily its best book in over a year. KIOI saw its numbers return to their previous levels after a monster JANUARY. As a result, the station fell from #1. UNIVISION Spanish Adult Hits KBRG was off slightly yet moved up from a tie at #5. Last month KCBS-A had one of those best-book-in-over-a-year moments and crashed the top five. This time it faded a bit to end up at #8.
It’s going on five books now that KMEL has failed to reach double digits 18-34. Fail is probably the wrong word to use because the station had a solid performance this book and continued to lead the rest of the market by a considerable margin. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KYLD (WILD) was flat and remained in its customary back-up position at #2. KMVQ was off slightly yet moved up to a somewhat distant #3. KISQ had its highest number since MAY to soar from #10 to #4. There was a comingling of assets at #5. CBS RADIO Alternative KITS (LIVE 105) remained in place with a modest increase while KIOI slid from #3 thanks to a substantial decrease. KLLC dropped from that #5 hole and landed in a tie at #7 with a slight decrease.
After a two-month absence, KMEL returned to the top spot 18-49. That also ended a two-book slide. This pushed KMVQ back to #2 as it was off a bit. KYLD advanced to #3 despite a flat book while KLLC moved up to #4 with its best book in over a year. KBRG remained at #5 with a modest loss and was joined there by KIOI, which slipped from #3 with an immodest loss of share.
DALLAS-FT.WORTH: It Is Bigger In Texas
The unstoppable machine that is iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KHKS (KISS) did it again. Besides sweeping the four demos we examine – as per usual – the station just landed its best 6+ book in over a year (7.8-7.9). SALEM Christian Contemporary KLTY remained in the runner-up position but did fall farther behind the leader (5.6-5.1) and closer to the rest of the pack. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KDMX (NOW) took total control of the #3 slot with its best showing in over a year (4.8-4.9). The station has been hot for the last couple of books as it was in the lower half of the top ten in 2014. CUMULUS Country KPLX (THE WOLF) remained consistent (4.8-4.8) but did drop back to #4. CBS RADIO Classic Hits KLUV (K-LOVE) lost more than half its share between Santa and JANUARY. However, the station regained some footing this time while holding firm at #5 (4.2-4.5). This was the fourth full book for trendsetting RADIO ONE Classic Hip-Hop KSOC (BOOM). It had fallen each survey since its debut. It broke the string this time (2.6-2.8) to move up a couple of notches to #13.
This book turned out to be quite the winner for KHKS as the station had its best 25-54 share in over a year. During the height of Santa’s powers, KISS had fallen all the way to #3 but that is ancient history at this point. KLTY was flat and happy at #2. These two stations led the rest of the market by a noticeable margin. KDMX remained at #3 despite a slight loss while SERVICE Urban AC KRNB had a rather large increase of share that propelled the station from #9 to #4. A couple of predators were circling their prey at #5. iHEARTMEDIA Active Rock KEGL (THE EAGLE) had its lowest total since OCTOBER to remain in place. It was joined by KPLX, which slipped from #4 with its lowest share in over a year. KSOC ended its post-debut slide and advanced three squares to #12.
For the third book in a row, KHKS increased its 18-34 share and reached a new 14-book high in this survey. SERVICE Urban KKDA (K104) solidified its hold on the #2 position with its highest share since MARCH. KDMX continued its winning ways as it moved up four spots to #3. Back in the summer, the station didn’t crack the top ten (except in August – when it was #10). CBS RADIO Regional Mexican KMVK (LA GRANDE) has also been en fuego. It moved up a spot to #4 but as recently as the DECEMBER survey, it was at #15. KEGL dropped back two spots to #5 with its lowest output since OCTOBER. RADIO ONE Top 40/R KBFB (THE BEAT) slipped back to #6 with its smallest share in over a year. KPLX hit a ratings pothole as it dropped from a tie at #3 to #8 with its lowest number in over a year. Though KSOC did not budge from a tie at #14, it did have some extra numbers to brag about.
The problem with setting 14-book highs in ratings shares is – what’s your encore? Needless to say, this is a good problem to have. KHKS did it 18-49 to complete the demo sweep. KDMX moved up to #2 as its hotness expanded to this demo while KLTY cooled a bit in slipping back to #3. KKDA used a small increase to fuel a two-step advance to #4 while KEGL dropped back to #5. KPLX slid to #6 and was off for the second straight survey. KRNB had its best showing since JULY to move from #15 to a tie at #7 while KSOC moved forward a couple of spaces to a tie at #11.
That concludes our interpretation of reality. If you disagree, feel free to reach out to The Ratings Experts at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. via the platforms listed below. And, be sure to tune in again next time when, with the help of the mighty forces of XTRENDS, we examine the fates of HOUSTON, WASHINGTON, DC, PHILADELPHIA, ATLANTA, and BOSTON.