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August Arbitrons: KQ shrinks, WCCO surges

The August Arbitron ratings are out, while perennial radio leader KQRS remains king, the rock station’s margin is the smallest in recent months.

First, the stats. Talk stations are in blue, public stations in green. The Summer 2008 ratings — done under the old diary system — are in italics, followed by five months of Personal People Meter data. (For more on that technology, click here.)

Disclaimer: The numbers represent the broadest listenership category (persons age 6 or over), not the advertiser-friendly 25-54-year-old demographic. I don’t have that data yet, and Arbitron reminded me of legal complications should I reprint those detailed numbers like I have in the past. Still, I’ll try to get you a stay-out-of-jail narrative soon.

As for the so-called “6+” shares (percent of radio listeners tuned to any one station), a few things jump out:

KQ’s steady decline — four out of four months since PPM tracking began. Still, the station’s August ’09 number is just a titch above last summer’s 8.9. Country station K102 could soon capture a monthly crown. However, in the demos, the KQ Morning Show is probably still number one by a lot.

A good month for the Good Neighbor. Experienced radio managers caution not to make too much of one-month jumps, since advertisers are used to buying by the diary book (which ran three months), or more often, multiple books. That said, WCCO’s jump to a 6.7 share represents its first gain over diaries.

♦ Other than KQ, the Top 10 music stations are holding their diary-to-PPM gains. (Meters better capture ambient listening in places like restaurants, believed to help the music stations.) WLTE is the only music station down from a year ago.

Talkers, hurt by PPM technology, are inching up. Although WCCO made news with its August surge, conservative stations KTLK and The Patriot, sports station KFAN and women-focused FM107 have gained since May. Aside from ‘CCO, though, only FM107 and lefty station AM950 are up from the diary era, and AM950 is trending down. AM1500 is both down from diairies and down for the past four PPM months.

Public radio seems to be holding flat, though I’m sure MPR wants to be more from The Current

Christian station KTIS is showing recent growth and is within shouting distance of the top 10.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by John Olson on 09/22/2009 - 03:38 pm.

    Our car came equipped with satellite radio and a six-month trial of Sirius. We are considering signing up. So here is the question from the Peanut Gallery: How much of an impact has satellite radio (Sirius/XM) have/had with these ratings?

    Part Deux: Even though we don’t own one, we hear the ads for HD radio. How do those customers “fit in” with all of this?

  2. Submitted by karl anderson on 09/22/2009 - 04:11 pm.


    I have Sirius and LOVE it! It loses the connection when I am driving down the River Parkway, but on the open road it rocks! I have had it for 3 years.

    Between CDs and satellite, I listen to far less radio that my high school days in the 80’s. I would be interested to know if these numbers show an OVERALL increase in listening or if it reflects a shift within the standard test group.

    I find it hard to believe radio is doing any better than any of the other traditional media.

    And David, please stay out of jail….

  3. Submitted by Tim McNeill on 09/22/2009 - 05:24 pm.

    I wonder if ‘CCO gained in the morning, mid-day, or early evening? That break-down is of interest to me. Did moving Shelby around have any impact? If ‘CCO had the Twins, Vikes, etc. would the ratings climb some more?? Or, is this just a blip on the ratings radar? I look forward to your complete break-down. Jail might help pass the time and bump the radio ratings for your station of choice. Just a thought!!

  4. Submitted by J Ledesma on 09/23/2009 - 09:30 am.

    How does Pawlenty’s show on WCCO do? I know that they’ve refused air time to those opposing Pawlenty’s spiel. It would be interesting to know whether Pawlenty is helping ‘CCO more than ‘CCO is helping Pawlenty.

    (and no, I wouldn’t want to see you beaten silly by an army of Arbitron warrior robots, or whatever it is they use to enforce discipline.)

  5. Submitted by Jim Swanson on 09/23/2009 - 05:02 pm.

    David, KMOJ is a public station and should be listed in green. KUOM and KFAI, while not in the list, are also public stations. MN Public Radio has done a masterful job at co-opting “public” as a brand for radio but it’s simply not true.

  6. Submitted by David Brauer on 09/23/2009 - 07:37 pm.

    Jim – thanks; I’ll have to check on KMOJ. My recollection is they were listed under the public diary ratings, which did not list public radio. (PPMs do.)

    I’m only listing the top stations, by the way, which is why KFAI and KUOM didn’t make the chart. Should they crack the Top 20 at some point, they’ll be there.

  7. Submitted by Jim Swanson on 09/23/2009 - 11:29 pm.

    You are correct about which stations are now and were/were not included in Arbitron reports. Arbitron has always collected data for all stations but under the diary system it wasn’t included in all reports.

    One major difference with the PPM data is that all stations are reported, which provides a far more complete and accurate overview of usage.

    A better term for all stations which are not commercial is “noncommercial.” This includes the stations I cited plus KTIS and others.

    Lastly, I recognize that your chart is not a complete list of the Arbitron report; that’s why I noted that they “[were] not in the list.”

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