Research Director, Inc. Presents Exclusive May PPM Analysis For New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas
June 8, 2015
It has been said that the only constants in life are death and taxes. Whomever coined that phrase clearly never worked in radio. The third constant is the metronomic beat of the of PPM surveys. With nearly precise Swiss-like timing, another book magically appears before our eyes – four weeks after the last one.
The Ratings Experts from RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC., along with the number crunchers at XTRENDS, bring you another in-depth look at another ratings month. This time our subject is MAY, which was mostly contained within its namesake. This one covered APRIL 23rd through MAY 20th. A period of baseball, MEMORIAL DAY celebrations, and – in many markets – large clouds of pollen. Let’s see what happened.
NEW YORK: As Bright As Ever
This market tends to repeat itself every month – perhaps that’s why they named it twice – but this time there was some movement in the ranks. This did not affect the top two stations. iHEARTMEDIA AC WLTW (LITE) was as incandescent as ever as it captured its seventh consecutive #1 6+ book (7.9-7.6). CBS RADIO Classic Hits WCBS-F had its seventh straight #2 survey (6.3-6.5) with its highest share since DECEMBER. EMMIS Urban AC WBLS ended a rather sharp three-book slide by posting its highest number since JANUARY (4.9-6.0) to leap three spots to #3. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WHTZ (Z100) remained at #4 and was up for the second month in a row (5.2-5.6) with its best book since December. SBS Tropical WSKQ (LA MEGA) slipped a little from last month (5.7-5.5) as it fell two places to #5. Last month’s foray into the top five for iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock WAXQ (Q104.3) ended almost as soon as it began. The station dropped two spots to #6 (5.2-4.9) though it matched its third-best total in the last 14 books.
The familiar pattern of 25-54 returned this survey. WLTW was down but still a solid #1 for the seventh book in a row. WSKQ was also down but held on to a share of the #2 position. It was forced to share because WHTZ moved up with – once again – its best book since DECEMBER. WBLS ended a very brief vacation from the top five. It advanced two squares to #4 as it ended a three-book slide. WCBS-F remained a fixture at #5 with its best showing since JANUARY while WAXQ fell back to its more customary #6 slot with a small decrease.
For the first time since DECEMBER, WHTZ was #1 18-34. The station experienced a huge increase as it posted its largest number in exactly a year. The hotly contested Urban space continued to be hotly contested. Last month, both iHEARTMEDIA Urban WWPR (POWER) and EMMIS Top 40/R WQHT (HOT) were tied at #2. Both stations had solid gains this survey but the tie was broken. POWER remained in place with its best book since JANUARY while HOT had to take a step back to #3 despite posting its biggest number in over a year. WSKQ’s turn as the market leader ended up being a one-book thing as the station fell three places to #4. WLTW was up for the third book in a row – illuminating its brightest Frosty-free share since JUNE – as it advanced to #5. WAXQ kindly stepped back to #6 as it lost a chunk of share.
A couple of cluster buddies exchanged places atop the 18-49 leaderboard. WHTZ ascended the throne with its highest output in over a year while WLTW took a backwards step with its least productive outing since NOVEMBER. WSKQ held firm at #3 with a slight decrease while WWPR was resolute at #4 with a small increase. WQHT was up for the fourth book in a row to hold on at #5.
LOS ANGELES: The Ties That (Un)Bind
Alliances were forged and broken last month. For the second book in a row, two stations were able to say they were #1 6+. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KBIG (MY FM) repeated its claim from last book (5.4-5.1). However, it was dancing with a new partner as CBS RADIO Classic Hits KRTH (K-EARTH) moved up from #3 (5.2-5.1) to force the tie. Last month’s co-leader iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KIIS (KISS) fell back to #3 with its lowest share since JANUARY (5.4-5.0). iHEARTMEDIA AC KOST was still clinging to the #4 slot despite posting its lowest score since OCTOBER (4.9-4.5). The three stations that were tied at #5 last survey went their separate ways this month. CBS RADIO Urban AC KTWV (THE WAVE) remained in place with its fourth straight gain (3.9-4.4) while BONNEVILLE Classic Rock KSWD (THE SOUND) slipped to #6 with a flat performance (3.9-3.9). CBS RADIO Adult Hits KCBS-F (JACK) fell back two spots to a tie at #7 (3.9-3.6). The BIG BOY sweepstakes showed positive movement for both stations. iHEARTMEDIA Urban KRRL (REAL) remained at #11 (3.1-3.3) while EMMIS Top 40/R KPWR (POWER) moved up to a tie at #13 (2.5-2.8) – ending a three-book slide.
Once again the guards were a-changin’ 25-54. KBIG had its highest share in over a year, displacing KIIS, which landed at #2 with its lowest number since the fire was so delightful. KRTH was flat but managed to inch up to #3. There was a trio occupying the #4 position. KOST dropped back from #3 with its lowest total since OCTOBER. KCBS-F moved in from #5 despite a slight decrease while KSWD advanced from #6 just by being flat.
Despite posting its lowest number since JANUARY, KIIS captured the 18-34 trophy for the fifth book in a row. KRRL was flat but up to #2 while CBS RADIO Top 40/M KAMP (AMP) ascended to #3 despite being down for the third straight survey. Two stations moving in opposite directions met up at #4. KBIG fell from #2 with its smallest share since DECEMBER while KPWR moved up from #5 as it ended a seven-book slide.
As in the previous demo, KIIS won the 18-49 tournament for the fifth book in a row with its lowest share since the beginning of the year. KBIG remained the runner-up with a flat book. Two stations improved their rank and ended up at #3. KRTH was off slightly as it advanced from #4 while KAMP jumped up from #5 by maintaining last month’s number. KRRL jumped up two spots to claim the #5 slot, while KOST was down for the fifth book in a row and dropped three slots to #6.
CHICAGO: Another Vee-ctory
For the second book in a row, iHEARTMEDIA Urban AC WVAZ (V103) captured the top 6+ spot (6.9-6.8). It is interesting to note that the station spent a good portion of 2014 at #1 with shares in the high-5’s and low-6’s. However, ever since the station kicked it into high gear when the jolly elf was in town, it has yet to dip lower than a 6.2. CBS RADIO News WBBM-A kept cruising along at #2 (5.4-5.3) though it was down for the third book in a row. HUBBARD Hot AC WTMX (MIX) had its lowest share since we were playing reindeer games (5.2-4.8) but remained at #3. Last book’s tie at #4 between two arch enemies was broken. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WKSC (KISS) remained in place (4.0-3.9) while CBS RADIO Top 40/M WBBM-F (B96) slid back to #5 (4.0-3.7). CUMULUS Classic Hits WLS-F had been on a nice run – until last month when it took a hit. Well, the station rebounded nicely this time (2.7-3.3) to move up to a tie at #8. In the country battle, both stations were up this survey. CBS RADIO Country WUSN (US 99.5) had its best book since JANUARY (2.7-3.0) to remain tied at #14 while iHEARTMEDIA Country WEBG (BIG) scored its highest in-format share to move up to a tie at #18 (2.0-2.4).
Last month, there was a horse race brewing 25-54. This time, the top two stations remained in place but with wildly different results. WVAZ was still #1 with its highest share since DECEMBER while WTMX remained at #2 with its lowest number since the maids were a-milking. WKSC was flat and stable at #3 while WBBM-F remained at #4 with a small share loss. CBS RADIO Classic Hits WJMK (K-HITS) used an ever-so-slight increase to advance two places to #5. CUMULUS Alternative WKQX dropped back to #6 as it could not match last book’s best share in over a year. In the country skirmish, WUSN was up and advanced to a tie at #13 while WEBG had a five-place improvement to a tie at #16.
There was a battle royal between two hardened competitors and both were tied at #1 18-34. WBBM-F was there last month but suffered its lowest book since DECEMBER while WKSC moved up from #2 despite landing its lowest share since AUGUST. There was also a tie at #3. WVAZ remained in place despite a loss of share while iHEARTMEDIA Urban WGCI moved in from #5 thanks to a slight increase. WKQX dropped back to #5 with its lowest total since JANUARY. In the country kerfuffle, WEBG had a rather large growth spurt to move forward three paces to #8 while WUSN had its best book since JANUARY yet dropped back to a tie at #11.
WVAZ made it a demo sweep this survey as it moved to #1 18-49 with its best book since DECEMBER. This ended WTMX’s three-month run at the top as it dropped back to #2 with its second down book in a row. WKSC was off slightly at #3 while WBBM-F remained at #4 but fell further behind with its lowest total since DECEMBER. WGCI ended a four-book slide to move up to #5, which bumped WKQX back to #6. In the country dust-up, both stations noticeably improved their shares. WUSN jumped seven spots to a tie at #10 while WEBG strode forward six paces to #12.
SAN FRANCISCO: This Just In
In case you’re keeping track at home, this was the fifth #1 6+ book in a row for CBS RADIO News KCBS-A (6.3-6.3). Following not too closely at its heels was CUMULUS Sports KNBR-A, which used the GIANTS’ resurgence to claim sole possession of second place (4.8-5.1). ENTERCOM AC KOIT fell back to #3 with a feeling of flatness (4.8-4.8) but that did match its best book of 2015. The two stations that were tied at #6 last month were tied no more but both advanced in the ranks. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KIOI (STAR) moved up to #4 with its best book in over a year (4.2-4.6). CBS RADIO Top 40/M KMVQ (NOW) inched up to #5 with a slight increase (4.2-4.3). CBS RADIO Hot AC KLLC (ALICE) ended its three-book stay in the top five and landed at #6 (4.5-4.2).
Last survey KIOI had its best 25-54 book in over a year and claimed the top spot. This month the station did it again and widened its lead over the two players at #2. One of them was KLLC – which remained in place – and the other was KOIT, which moved up from #3 with its best book since JANUARY. It is interesting to note how the fortunes of the hometown nine affect KNBR-A’s ratings. A year ago the team was playing well and a favorite to go all the way so the station was #1. This year, the team got off to a slow start and the station is “only” at #4. Still plenty of season left. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KYLD (WILD) had a nice bump as it moved up two spots to #5. Last month’s occupants of the #4 position dropped further off the pace this time. KMVQ fell to #6 while iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/R KMEL ended up at a tie at #7 with its lowest share since NOVEMBER.
The tone and tenor of the top five 18-34 was completely unchanged from last month. KMEL was in its customary #1 position though it lost a chunk of share while KYLD held on at #2 with its highest share in over a year. As a result the gap between the two narrowed to almost a share. A year ago that margin was approaching four shares. KMVQ was flat – which matched its best book of the last 14 – and was again the #3 station. ENTERCOM Top 40/R KRBQ (Q102) had its second consecutive explosive book to hold on at #4. Its debut book was SEPTEMBER and the station was tied at #21. Finally, KIOI had a solid increase while maintaining its presence at #5.
Remember just a moment ago how we were talking about how close KMEL and KYLD were. Well, if they were any closer 18-49 they’d be on TMZ. KMEL remained in place but took a share hit while KYLD advanced from #5 for the #1 tie with its best book since JUNE. Two other stations were comingling at #3. KIOI was the incumbent with a slight increase while KMVQ slipped back from #2 with an equally slight decrease. KLLC was off a bit to drop to #5.
DALLAS-FT.WORTH: A Kiss Is Just A Kiss
In this case, however, it represents whole-scale market domination. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KHKS (KISS) has been flirting with an eight share all year and is well ahead of last year’s pace. The station was #1 6+ for the fifth book in a row (7.6-7.8) and held a commanding lead over #2 cluster sister iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KDMX (NOW), which was down slightly this book (5.4-5.1). CBS RADIO Classic Hits KLUV (K-LOVE) took sole control of the #3 slot with a small increase (4.7-4.9). Two stations were partners in arms at #4. CUMULUS Country KPLX (THE WOLF) stepped up one pace with a flat performance (4.7-4.7) while iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock KZPS (LONE STAR) moved up a notch with its highest share in over a year (4.6-4.7). That’s the second month in a row the station accomplished that feat. Farther down the list was CBS RADIO Hot AC KVIL. The station moved up three spots to #8 with its best book in over a year (3.1-3.6).
The top two stations 25-54 were down this survey but this did not alter their rankings. KHKS was #1 while KDMX was #2. However, NOW was hearing footsteps from KZPS, which moved up to a very close #3 with its third straight up book. SALEM Christian Contemporary KLTY was flat and fell back to #4 while KPLX remained #5 with a small decrease. KVIL had its best share in over a year in this demo, as well, and climbed three spots to a tie at #9.
Last month KHKS crashed the double-digit barrier 18-34. The station came back to relative earth this time but was still more than three shares in front of its closest competitor. This time that role was played by SERVICE Urban KKDA (K104), which ended a two-book slide to advance from #3. KDMX slid back to #3 with a small loss while iHEARTMEDIA Active Rock KEGL (EAGLE) moved up two spots to #4 with its highest flying number since DECEMBER. KPLX dropped back to #5 thanks to a small loss while RADIO ONE Top 40/R KBFB (THE BEAT) ended a two-book surge and stepped back to #6.
Year over year the result was the same – KHKS was #1 18-49. The difference was that this year’s model was close to two shares bulkier than last. KDMX had an encore performance at #2 though it was off a bit. KKDA took one step forward to #3 with its highest total since NOVEMBER. This dropped KPLX back to #4 as THE WOLF lost some share. KZPS advanced two squares to #5 with its best book in over a year while KBFB took two steps back to #6 thanks to an ever-so-slight decrease. KVIL had its best showing in over a year – again – to move forward three paces to a tie at #7.
Thus endeth our first day of ratings analysis. The Ratings Experts from RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. return anon with more pithy and piquant observations on HOUSTON, WASHINGTON, D.C., PHILADELPHIA, ATLANTA, and BOSTON. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us for ratings help, baseball observations, or off-the-cuff remarks.