WBAL Radio, Baltimore, Rush Limbaugh
Rush-Dumping Proves Disastrous For Baltimore Talker
If a listener research project's results recommended jumping off a cliff, would you do it?
In a way, that's the mistake made by Baltimore's WBAL- AM, which foolishly purged Rush Limbaugh from its schedule just over a year ago. Outright handing the talk titan to 'BAL's competitor, the longtime market leader immediately began a ratings slide that shows no signs of easing up.
Instead of first place, where it previously resided, the station has fallen to sixth in new ratings released on Friday. From a 6.9 market share for listeners 12 and older a year ago, it has dropped to a 4.5. WCBM- AM, which happily accepted Rush's show, has climbed from 2.7 to 3.3 during the same period.
Did we call this one, or what?
When WBAL lost its rights to air Baltimore Orioles games, Rush's show could have cushioned the blow, but management instead made this ill-fated decision:
As experienced broadcasters, with over 50-years of collective experience, our instincts have been moving us to change. But, rather than just make such an important decision on “a gut feeling,” we recently commissioned a major research project. Considerable time and effort went into researching what radio listeners in our area want.
Ouch! Where were the research subjects found, inside Nancy Pelosi's congressional office?
Along with the ratings decline, two of the station's major local personalities have called it quits and are leaving the area for San Diego and Colorado.
In WBAL's current disarray, there's an important lesson: never, ever make programming decisions based on research alone. While it can be an important tool, it's also a great way to end up right over the cliff.
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