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More radio ratings: what women (and people over 55) like

Yesterday’s piece on the July Arbitron ratings brough this comment from Kay Livingston:

“I’m curious why you didn’t report more about what the women in the demo of 25-54 have been listening to, and how that’s changed over the past year. Other than the country stations, this segment was barely mentioned. Why should the men get all of the attention? 

Having been raised by feminists, this very fair criticism hits home.

Explanation first: As a news guy, I’m more interested in talk than music, and with the exception of MyTalk107, talk competition is very guy-oriented. So I usually get male demographic to discuss especially competitive segments like sports, and use “persons” for broader listenerships like public radio. I do get the female numbers when talking commercial music, because that’s where the action is, though this time I also threw in guy numbers I had from the talk analysis.

So again, fair point. Let’s see what the numbers tell us:

Kay wondered how MyTalk had fared since firing Colleen Kruse in late February. That month, the station had a 4.8 percent share of women 25-54; it hasn’t been as high since and is down to 4.1. But that’s up from 3.7 percent a year earlier. 

The top 5 stations for the female demo are: KS95, KDWB, K102, Cities, and KOOL. All are up over a year ago except K102, which has new country competition from Buz’n 102.9.

KQ is sixth, by the way, followed by religious broadcaster KTIS, JACK-FM, MyTalk and Buz’n.

A lot of these stations have gained from KHTC’s shift to poor, bedraggled KTWN, which has lost more than half its female demo.

Also noteworthy: the female demo appears to be the group that has fled public radio in a big way. I noted the Current’s rating was down 50 percent overall in a year — it’s about 55 percent here — and MPR News is down 40 percent. Is “Call Me Maybe” drawing women away from Ira Glass?

Kay also asked who was tracking what people over 55 are listening to. Me, now!

Top 5 stations among the experienced set: WCCO, KOOL (no surprises there), K102, MPR News and 1500ESPN.

MPR News’ number is down similarly to its overall decline, indicating whatever is happening is occuring across the board. 1500’s number is interesting because while its topline has sunk, its share among Reusse- and Soucheray-aged people is holding steady.

The rest of the top 10: KQ, KTIS, conservative NewsTalk, Love 105 and MyTalk.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Evelyn Johnson on 08/10/2012 - 10:38 am.


    Interesting read. I would be interested in KMOJ’s numbers. I realize they are not a commerically owned station but i’d be interested in the deomgraphics none the less. (what can I say – I’m a data geek) Lots of people love the urban vibe

    • Submitted by David Brauer on 08/10/2012 - 01:19 pm.


      Really good question – overall flat in the past year but way up among 25-54 women. I wonder if some of the old B96 crowd spends more time with Kmoja lately. 

  2. Submitted by Rick Ellis on 08/10/2012 - 12:09 pm.


    I find myself confused by the MyTalk 107 format. The shows seem to be premised on the idea that women want fluffy celebrity talk and a lot of “oh my gosh” personal stories. I find it generally impossible to listen to for very long.

    Yes, I’m not female but a format oriented towards women shouldn’t completely scare men. There are ways to thread that programming needle, but MyTalk still hasn’t figured out after a number of years.

  3. Submitted by Brian Lambert on 08/13/2012 - 11:34 am.

    David:  First, I want to say

    David:  First, I want to say how pleased I am that YOU are doing this stuff.

    That said … what do we know about actual audience size station by station compared to say 10 years ago, or pre iPod?

    I remember having a conversation with some consultant years back who explained that “early adapters” were going to erode audience first and most from young-targeted pop stations and tech-savvy “news” stations, or more precsely networks like NPR, with lots of podcast-worthy programming that devoted fans would time-shift at the expense of live listening.

    By contrast, the last genres to be effected would by “classic” whatever, and … you gotta love it … country, where fans might be a bit less receptive to burning Lee Greenwood to some over-priced brainiac gizmo.

    The women-leaving The Current numbers are interesting. I like the programming there a lot … when I’m not listening to Herb Alpert on LPs … but they could take a cue from little KUMD on more direct appeal to females.

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