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June ratings: KQ slips again, and Dave Lee’s bragging rights

The June Arbitron ratings are in, and for the third month, we have a new champ. But the real story may be the slipping of a titleholder who’s reigned for a quarter century.

In April, KQRS had the biggest share of listeners age 6 and older; in May, for the first time ever, Dave Ryan’s KDWB took the crown. In June, it’s country station K102.

Country topped the charts in September 2009, so this isn’t unprecedented. But KQ hasn’t been in third during the 15-month Portable People Meter era.

Keep in mind, no commercial radio station sells the “6+” number; advertisers are still looking 25-54. But there’s a certain bragging right that comes with more folks listening to you than the other host.

This is where WCCO morning guy Dave Lee comes in. I wasn’t aware of this until recently, but since the final 2009 ratings book, Lee and the WCCO Morning News has been beating the legendary Tom Barnard and the KQRS Morning Show among all listeners.

If not quite seismic, it still underscores KQ’s PPM falloff. Tommy B used to win nearly all the key demos, and any radio executive would give their left gonad to have the Morning Show’s current strength in 25-54. There, KQ still tops KDWB nearly two to one. However, it used to be four to one.

Meanwhile, Barnard only ranks fourth among 18-34s, where he used to win. Ryan has picked off women 25-54, women 18-34, persons 18-34 and persons 18-49.

As Ryan claims more of the younger end, Lee and WCCO grabbed the total-audience crown by winning nearly a third of the 55-plus set. (Lee owes Ryan a thank-you card, and overall, WCCO shouldn’t get too giddy: the June number was the lowest of the PPM era.)

There is a certain seasonality to radio, and ratings now come monthly rather than quarterly, so it’s wise to remember the long view. Here’s the 13-month share trend for the perennial top four:

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the dial, 1500ESPN’s overall rating fell a bit with the Twins’ fortunes, and is just a tenth of a point higher than last June. But in general, all the major talkers are slumping, as you can see from this graph:

KOOL108 had its best month since December (a 5.5 share, tied for fifth), LOVE105 remains on the upswing (3.8, 13th, best of the PPM era), while the Current showed a little summertime bounce after four monthly declines (1.7, good for 18th).

Here are the Top 25 shares, 6+:

1. K102, 9.3
2. KDWB, 8.4
3. KQ, 8.2
4. KS95, 6.2
5. 93X/KOOL108, 5.5
7. WCCO, 4.9
8. MPR News/Cities97/WLTE, 4.6
11. JACK, 4.2
12. KTIS, 4.1
13. KHTC/LOVE105, 3.8
15. 1500ESPN, 3.4
16. KTLK, 2.2
17. KFAN, 2.1
18. Current, 1.7
19. Classical/MyTalk107, 1.6
21. WWJO, 1.3
22. The Patriot, 0.9
23. AM950/KMOJ/LaInvasora, 0.7

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Norman Larson on 07/20/2010 - 11:52 am.

    Maybe Dave Lee connects with a lot of listeners because he connects with their language — i.e., lots of errors, grammar and otherwise. His ramblings about the University of St. Thomas amuse me. I guess he’s supposed to sound like he’s conversing rather than delivering a commercial message. This morning he ended his spiel by referring to the University of St. Paul.

  2. Submitted by Randy Allar on 07/20/2010 - 01:18 pm.

    And that, folks, is why Dave Lee still has a job at ‘CCO.

  3. Submitted by r batnes on 05/08/2012 - 09:22 pm.

    As someone who once worked in radio, Dave Lee’s appeal is easy to explain. First of all, he has a great set of pipes. He also has the ability to translate an extremely heavy commercial load into something a lot more palatable to his listeners, by scripting his spots into a more conversational style. That’s not as easy as it sounds, but he can do it almost effortlessly. This is coming from someone who is NOT a fan of WCCO (the station is a shadow of its former self), but rather an admirer of the medium. He also gets props for being able to deal with Sid three times each morning. I do have to say however, that listening to Lee and Mona broadcast Gopher games was painful, simply because of the rampant homer-ism.

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