Air America Radio, WLIB, Randi Rhodes, Al Franken
On Temporary NYC Station, Leaked Ratings Show Huge Drop
After someone with access to early Winter 2006 Arbitron radio ratings results leaked them to Matt Drudge, Air America Radio can't possibly be happy. **Update below: Drudge understated losses**
While basic, overall audience figures will be released at 5pm today, Matt was slipped a copy of specific breakdowns this morning, bringing bad news for Franken & Co. For setting advertising rates, these quarterly numbers are especially important.
Normally, much of this information isn't disclosed to the public.
Almost immediately after the Drudge flash was posted, the Radio Equalizer's in-box was stuffed with readers wondering if we had the rest of the story.
For WLIB-AM, Air America's temporary New York City home, Drudge reports this:
the just released radio Winter Book [Jan-Mar 2006] from ARBITRON shows AIR AMERICA in New York City losing more than a third of its audience -- in the past year!
Among all listeners 12+, it was a race to the bottom for AIR AMERICA and WLIB as mid-days went from a 1.6 share during winter 2005 to a 1.0 share winter 2006.
During PM drive, host Randi Rhodes plunged to 27,900 listeners every quarter hour, finishing 25th place in her time slot, down from 60,900 listeners every quarter hour in the fall.
A network source says the radio ratings released today do not reflect the overall growth of the broadcast.
"The demos are better, and listerners trust AIR AMERICA to give them the real truth on issues and the Bush presidency," says the insider.
Just who is the crazy "insider" who won't put a name to these outlandish claims?
Later, another leaker posted this on the New York City radio board, where broadcast professionals chat about the business:
The numbers I am hearing for Air America are worse than that.
The figure I have for 12+ is that they dropped to a 0.8, from a 1.4 in the last book.
They lost almost half their audience in every daypart.
The 25-54 numbers are just as bad, with huge drops around the clock.
As far as Rhodes, here are the 25-54 numbers for afternoon drive:
WABC - Hannity -- 2.6
WLIB - Rhodes -- 1.0
WOR -Hennican/White -- 0.7
What Drudge didn't mention: Air America's temporary lease extension for WLIB-AM runs only through August, while options for a new Big Apple home range from bleak to hopeless.
Still being considered: Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen's failed Sporting News Radio outlet, with a signal far weaker than WLIB's.
Please return for a great deal more on this still-developing story.
Update: Confirmed -- WLIB falls to an overall 0.8 from 1.4. This is ugly.
Slight gains for Air America in Los Angeles, but still just a 1.0 share. Flat in Chicago with a miniscule 0.7. These are tiny, tiny numbers for a network that's now had plenty of time to catch on.
Small piece of good news for Air America: the 1.0 Los Angeles finish slightly cuts the amount it has to pay Clear Channel to have its programming carried on KTLK.
New York radio poster takes on the pro-AAR spin here. Plus more at BoreAmerica.
Some bloggers such as Viking Pundit and others are wondering why Drudge actually understated Air America's New York City losses.
John in Carolina adds his take here.
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Lefty Lemon, AAR Spin: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer