The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 September 2005

Second Batch Of Phase II Summer Ratings


Plenty Of Talk Radio Misery To Spread Around

What will it take to pump up talk radio's sagging fortunes?

In the second batch of Arbitron ratings updates released last night, the format's year-long downward trend continued, almost without exception.

In Philadelphia
, conservative Limbaugh station WPHT held 11th place with a flat performance, while Air America's WHAT-AM remained in 27th, again with a 0.5 audience share. That's just one rank above rock-bottom.

It was ugly in Boston
and because baseball-carrying WEEI (now the number one area station) actually fell a bit, it's hard to blame the Red Sox.

There, conservative talker WRKO-AM subtracted a half share, from 3.9 to 3.4, to tie for ninth. Rival WTKK-FM continued a year-long slide, dropping from a 3.4 to 3.0 to settle in at 14th place.

WBZ, with a news focus and dry evening talk shows, may have left the number one spot behind for good. It's now locked into second. We'll see for sure when baseball season is over, but its talk programming needs an urgent upgrade.

Air America's two Hub stations continued to bounce around at the bottom of the ratings, generating a combined 0.8 share. There's no sign they'll be leaving the cellar anytime soon.

In San Diego, KOGO (home to Roger Hedgecock and Limbaugh) fell further, from a 5.2 at last fall's peak to a 3.7 today. That's good for fifth overall.

Conservative rival KFMB-AM (Michael Savage affiliate) rose a bit, from 3.0 to 3.3, to take ninth. Air America's KLSD-AM actually increased, from 1.7 to 2.1, but is still off its earlier 2.3 peak performance. It appears stuck in this general range.

Detroit's conservative ABC-owned WJR-AM turned in another solid performance, holding first place yet again.

Air America's WDTW-AM vanished (0.0?), dropping off the list entirely, replaced by Canadian talker CKLW-AM, which generated a 0.4.

More updates coming soon!

Ratings data: Radio & Records

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  • I hope your wrong Brian. I hope the talk radio ratings slump is some kind of post-election/baseball season fluke. We all know why AAR's ratings suck. But I think the Conservative talkers' ratings will bounce back. At least I hope. Advertisers seem to be waiting in line to pay top dollar for advertising space on talk stations. And the number of up and coming Conservative talkers is staggering. Keep up the good work. I really look forward to the latest on AAR.

    By Blogger Nick, at 21 September, 2005 16:35  

  • Man, WTTT (1150 AM) doesn't even show up in Boston's list?

    By Blogger Mike, at 21 September, 2005 20:18  

  • Maybe I'm not the only one getting bored with talk radio, due to a feeling that they need some new talking points. You listen one hour a week and you've heard everything they have to say.

    By Blogger jdpesz, at 22 September, 2005 00:10  

  • jd - You're on to something. Many talk shows are practically reading the newspaper aloud.

    Brian, no pun intended, but do you tink this is Serius?

    By Blogger Peter Porcupine, at 22 September, 2005 00:51  

  • I'd like to second what mike said. If WTTT (1150)'s ultra-right wing views are not even showing up in the Boston ratings, how dare you insult the ratings of Air America.

    1200 and 1430 are two trashcan signals that did nothing for Clear Channel before they picked up AAR. They are not like WHJJ, which picked up a large amount of AAR programming only to dump it a few months later.

    Kinda the same thing in Chicago. Before AAR, 850 did not show up in the ratings at all. And for goodness sakes, the station is not even on in the nighttime. I can't really figure out how you can compare a signal from 50 miles outside of Chicago that is on only during the daytime (WCPT) with a blowtorch signal (WLS) which covers most of the midwest by day and nearly half of the country by night.

    Care to comment?

    By Blogger Justin, at 22 September, 2005 21:10  

  • Within Rt 128, WXKS 1430 doesn't do too badly signal-wise. In fact the
    antenna is within 5 miles of Boston proper and Cambridge. WKOX 1200 does well in MetroWest, etc. WTTT's signal (out of Lexington, IIRC) is about the same, maybe a bit weaker. WKOX is
    10,000 watts day, 1,000 watts night
    while WXKS is 5,000 w. day, 1,000
    watts night.

    It's not the signal, it's the programming. And don't blame the promotion either: fawning articles
    in both Boston papers, ads on billboards and elsewhere, a big piece on WBZ-TV about them, etc.
    People know about AAR in Boston.
    They just choose not to listen.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 23 September, 2005 02:31  

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