Local radio ratings: Who the 25-to-54s listen to

When I disgorged the October radio ratings a couple of weeks ago, I promised a closer look at the demographics programmers focus on when trying to make money. So let’s look at the two highest-listening parts of the day (6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.) and the advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old age group.

Although KQRS has been knocked off its top spot as the all-day, all-ages (6+) ratings champ, Tom Barnard and his crew still kill in their time slot. Arbitron rules won’t let me talk about specific ratings, but KQ still racks up twice as many 25-to-54s as second-place Country K102; among men, KQ more than doubles runner-up 93X. Still, 18 months ago, KQ trebled 93X’s number.

Among men 25-54, here’s the a.m. top 10:

2. 93X
3. KFAN (Mike Morris and his crew)
4. JACK-FM (really)
5. K102
6. MPR News (Cathy Wurzer and Morning Edition)
7. WCCO (yes, people under 55 listen to Dave Lee)
8. KOOL108 (really)
9. KTLK (pretty potent for a right-wing station competing with Barnard)

This is the talk-radio demo, and KFAN is within shouting distance of 93X. The newest all-sports entrant, 1500 ESPN, is a relatively miserable 12th, but that’s because they run ESPN’s syndicated Mike & Mike in the Morning.

Women 25-54, mornings:

1. KDWB (hugely female-skewing)
2. K102 (the smallest skew among the top music stations)
3. KS95 (similar to KDWB)
4. KQ (a good-sized cohort here)
5. WCCO (high share among women than men)
6. WLTE (the robo-DJ alternative to JACK, apparently)
7. KTIS-FM (the Christian station captures a much higher share of women)
8. KHTC (the former B96)
9. Cities97
10. MPR News (male-skewing, but only a small difference)

Hubbard Broadcasting’s female talker, MyTalk 107, is 11th, by the way.

In evening drive, no one really dominates among adults 25-54. However, K102 is the champ, followed by KQ, KDWB, KS95, and JACK. They’re all within three share points of each other.

On the talk side, 3-6 p.m. picks up most of KFAN’s Dan Barreiro (3-6:30 p.m.), 1500’s Joe Soucheray (4-6 plus a 3-4 p.m. hour with Pat Reusse), MPR’s “All Things Considered” (3-6:30 p.m.), WCCO’s Michele Tafoya, and two hours of KTLK’s Sean Hannity plus the first hour of Jason Lewis.

Overall, Barriero is the champ, finishing 6th among 25-54 adults. Soucheray ranks 9th, MPR 11th, KTLK 12th and Tafoya 16th.

(Note: I chose October for this comparison because both KFAN’s Vikings and 1500’s Twins are playing, though that may hurt non-sports stations, relatively.)

If you just look at 25-54-year-old guys, it’s KQ 1st, Barreiro 2nd, then JACK and 93X, with Soucheray 5th. KTLK is 7th, MPR 10th and Tafoya 12th.

Interestingly, WCCO’s pro-women morning tilt doesn’t show up for Tafoya in the afternoons. She’s 15th among women, while MyTalk107’s Lori & Julia finish 5th behind KDWB, K102, KS95 and Cities97. Among all 25-54s, those two talk shows are tied — which has to be satisfying for MyTalk and sobering for ‘CCO.

A few other random observations
Although MPR News mornings are stronger than afternoons, the afternoon 25-54 number improves on the 6+ number, while the reverse is true in the mornings.

Among 25-54s, the Current ranks only 16th in the a.m. and 18th in the p.m. Both drive-time numbers are better than the station’s 6+ rating, as you’d expect. In the morning, the Current’s 18-34-year-old share is actually lower than the 25-to-54 share.

Lower-rated talkers The Patriot (conservative) and AM950 (liberal) have almost no 25-to-54-year-old female listeners. The skew is no surprise, but the demographic one-sidededness is nearly absolute.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Patrick Steele on 11/17/2010 - 01:41 pm.

    Of course young people listen to Dave Lee. How else would I keep up with County Hearth’s latest breads?

  2. Submitted by CJ McCormick on 11/17/2010 - 02:07 pm.

    I’m putting in the good word for AM 950, and especially Stephanie Miller at 8 am and local guy Matt McNeil at 6 pm. I am a regular listener of AM 950, the Current, and MPR.

  3. Submitted by scott gibson on 11/17/2010 - 08:16 pm.

    Tofoya is a buzzkill in the afternoon. MPR rules the morning for me: reliable, accurate and even-handed (not bashing one side or the other is not a sign of bias). And is it any surprise that stations that basically talk nothing but extreme politics will get virtually no female listeners. It’s a guy-thing.

  4. Submitted by Rick Ellis on 11/18/2010 - 01:36 pm.

    I’m a big fan of AM950 in theory, but it’s one of those stations that would benefit from more local voices. Yes, it’s more expensive, but given the competition, it’s the best way to engage the audience.

    I agree that Stephanie Miller is good, but I would move her back an hour to 9. Replacing the ponderous Bill Press at 5 am can’t be done quickly enough for my tastes.

    I don’t think it’s the case that liberals can’t be great talk show hosts. I just think that conservative stations have done a better job of picking nuturing talent.

  5. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 11/18/2010 - 01:47 pm.

    The Current could boost their ratings by not playing whiny, pointless alt-rock day in, day out. Give up the fascination with local bands, 99% of whom suck. Play a song that someone on Planet Earth has heard before.

    This is only a daytime problem though. Late at night and on weekends, their playlist is much more varied, interesting and enjoyable, presumably because that’s when no one is listening.

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