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Let the PPM era begin: new radio ratings are here

[Note: correction on time spent listening stats below.]

OK, the June Arbitron radio ratings — based on Portable People Meters, not diaries — are out, and radio stations can begin selling to the metered numbers.

What do they show? With apologies to spreadsheet-makers everywhere, let’s take a look:

Obviously, this needs a little translation.

Stations are ranked by their April-May-June ’09 share averages. (Again, share represents pieces of the radio listening pie, and add up to 100.)

The demo? listeners 12-plus, 6 a.m. to midnight.

Twelve-plus isn’t the prime demo for any station (that’s usually 25-54 or 18-34), nor is 6 a.m.-midnight prime time. However, it’s the broadest measure of listenership — and for now, the one I’ve got.

Stations in blue are talk stations; stations in green are Minnesota Public Radio stations. Stations in red lost share between last spring and this one.

Notice: of the five stations that lost share, four are talkers (WCCO, AM1500, KFAN and The Patriot).

Only one music station took a hit: MPR’s classical station, KSJN.

Only one talker went up: conservative beacon KTLK, though June 2009 was barely above spring 2008.

The bottom line? As noted yesterday, music stations such as JACK-FM, KS95 and K102 soared while yakkers fell. Due to PPMs? Can’t say for sure, but as noted yesterday, this trend has been played out all over the country, so probably.

How many listen?
One question I was asked yesterday: enough about share — how many people are actually listening?

I didn’t have those figures Wednesday, and still don’t for the diary era — though every radio exec I spoke to says the “cume” — weekly listeners — has risen for everyone. That’s because the meters pick up a “digital watermark” in each station’s signal, turning up a lot more casual listening that diary-writers reported.

Here are some of the 12-plus, 6 a.m.-midnight totals (April-May-June ’09 average) … and they are mind-boggling considering we are dealing with a 2.7-million-person metro area:

KQ: 950,000 people per week
KS95: 900,000
KDWB: 800,000
K102: 750,000
JACK: 750,000
KOOL 108: 700,000
93X: 600,000
Cities 97: 600,000
WCCO: 450,000
AM1500: 425,000
KNOW: 400,000
KFAN: 240,000
KTLK: 230,000
The Current: 230,000
KMOJ: 70,000
Radio Rey: 52,500

Time spent listening
The flip side of meters?  They also report that people listen less to any given station — which kind of makes sense if more casual listeners are being found.

Again, I don’t have diary numbers, but here’s how much — or how little — the average 12-plus PPM listener heard each week this spring:

AM950 — 5 hours, 19 minutes
KTIS — 4:41
KKMS — 4:41
FM107 — 4:39
KNOW — 4:26
KTLK — 4:18
The Patriot — 4:12
WCCO — 4:08
KSJN — 3:58
K102 — 3:50
KQ — 3:45
KMOJ — 3:30
Radio Rey — 3:21
The Current — 3:18
KFAN — 3:10
B96 — 3:03
93X — 2:47
KDWB — 2:45
Cities97 — 2:43
Love 105 — 2:43
KTIS — 2:42
KS95 — 2:35
AM1500 — 2:32
JACK — 2:28
KOOL 108 —2:09

Again, this isn’t the prime demo but still fascinating stuff. [I originally had minutes/seconds, but it’s hours/minutes.]

The liberal true believers (AM950) edge out Jesus’ true believers (KTIS and KKMS), with the women talkers (FM107), civic junkies (KNOW) and right-wingers (KTLK and the Patriot) right behind.

The longest-listened-to music station? Classical, which isn’t a big shock.

That’s it for now. More if I find diamonds in the data pile.

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by John Jordan on 07/16/2009 - 04:34 pm.

    “The liberal true believers (AM950) edge out Jesus’ true believers (KTIS and KKMS)”

    Probably because more Jesus listeners have jobs compared to the liberal parental-basement dwellers.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist…)

  2. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 07/17/2009 - 07:35 am.

    Anyone ever try to listen to KFAN? Seems like they have more advertising than editorial product. Unlistentoable.

  3. Submitted by James Blum on 07/17/2009 - 12:45 pm.

    Not knowing much about the radio market, I’d be interested to see more analysis. For example, a lot of people listen to JACK (750K), but they only listen 2.5 hrs per week, or 30 minutes a day (5-day week) or 20 minutes per day if they are a 7-day per week listener. Is it better to have tons of people listen to you not that much, or many fewer people listen to you a lot (like FM107, which has a smaller listenership but they listen a lot longer per day)?

    KQ seems like the benchmark — their 3:45 per week works out exactly to 45 minutes per day for a 5 day week. In other words (MY GUESS ONLY), tons of people listen to KQ on their 22.5 minute drive into work and on their 22.5 minute drive home, and not much else. Again, is that good or bad? What would be better for them? (Hopefully a more nuanced answer than “lots more people listening lots longer” would be forthcoming.)

    It would be very cool to see splits by day of week, hour, etc. A nice graph of everyone’s listening over the day would be helpful, too (am I right in thinking that the curve would look like 2 rounded hills with their means in the center of each drive time, with a long valley in between?). I can’t even think of what Sat/Sun might look like.

    Interesting stuff — thanks for your analyses!

  4. Submitted by Laura Hedlund on 07/17/2009 - 01:01 pm.

    AM950 is the only talk radio station that is UP in the new PPM ratings. At a 1.3 overall share AM950 has stronger listenship than the Patriot and we’re just .1 behind the women’s station FM107.

    We will be celebrating these positive ratings at our fifth birthday party this October!

    AM950 is The Voice of Minnesota

  5. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 07/17/2009 - 03:33 pm.

    I still don’t get how these devices work. Are they attached to the radio? Is there one attached to every radio an individual owns? What if it’s attached to the radio at home but I’m listening in the car? If just one radio is picked, aren’t these ratings pure guesses?

  6. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 07/18/2009 - 04:23 pm.

    Yes — KTNF went UP! Well actually they went from barely noticed to kind of noticed. Around a 1.1 to 1.3. In radio terms that is a rounding error.

    But they ran out and cut a press release anyways.

    The Voice of Minnesota? Hardly.

    What is interesting is the dedication of the KTNF and KTLK crowds from their listeners. Listeners are choosing to tune out the outer edges of left and right and choosing a robotic music station instead.

    Bring back the Geezer!

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