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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fall Radio Ratings Are In

Good news for country music WUBE-FM (B105), adult contemporary WRRM-FM (WARM98.5) and alternative rocker "The Sound" (WSWD-FM) means bad news for Clear Channel, the area's largest radio operator here with eight stations. The competitors are putting on the heat, according to fall quarter Arbitron ratings released today.

Clear Channel’s WLW-AM (700) remains the No. 1 station for all listeners – as it has been for eight years -- and Clear Channel's WKFS-FM (KISS107.1) and WEBN-FM (102.7) are No. 1-2 for the 18-34 demographic.

But Bonneville's B105 toppled WLW-AM from the top spot for listeners ages 25-54, a demographic sought by most advertisers. WLW-AM had been No. 1 on that list for over three years.

Travis Moon, B015 program director, attributed the boost to new music from Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and other artists. "We play a lot of great music," he says.

Another factor is the lack of competition. B105 gained 49,500 listeners from a year ago, when Bonneville bought the country "STAR" from Cumulus. Bonneville changed the format to the classic country "WOLF" on WYGY-FM (97.3).

B105 also ranked third with younger listeners (18-34), tied with sister station "The Sound" (WSWD-FM 94.9). "The Sound" had an incredible surge completing its first year, jumping from No. 10 a year ago by nearly doubling its audience.

Bonneville's WKRQ-FM (Q102) was next on the 18-34 list, giving the company three stations in the top five for the younger demographic.

Cumulus also scored well in fall. WARM98.5 and "greatest (rock) hits" WGRR-FM (103.5) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the overall rankings behind WLW-AM and B105.

Cumulus' WFTK-FM (96.5) also hit a record high in fall, jumping from No. 23 in summer to No. 16. But the news came a month after owners dumped Andy Furman the "SupertalkFM" talk format after one year and switched to "96 Rock."

T.J. Holland, Cumulus operations manager here, says most of the station's fall growth came from adding the Tom Gamble-Richard Skinner "Two Angry Guys" morning show Oct. 1.

The "Angry Guys," who remain the morning team for the rock format, increased morning ratings from No. 20 to No. 4 with men ages 18-34. That’s the same target audience for Clear Channel’s WEBN-FM and classic rock WOFX-FM (FOX92.5).

"Tom and Richard had a very strong debut on 'FTK. Having a morning show already fourth in the demo is great. We're absolutely thrilled where '96 Rock is going," Holland says.

On the other hand, Clear Channel’s Radio 94.1 – the former MIX94.1, now operating as WNNF-FM – showed no growth with a 2.9 audience share, the same as summer, while falling from No. 9 to No. 11. A year ago, as MIX94.1, it was No. 7 with a 4.3 share.

And one last note on the fall ratings: WLW's Gary Burbank didn't go out on top. The station waw No. 3 in afternoon drive, behind B105 and WARM98. Burbank was first in summer, and a year ago.

Here are the 12+ rankings and shares, and top 10 lists for the other demos:


1. WLW-AM, 8.8; 2. WUBE-FM, 7.6; 3. WRRM-FM, 7.0; 4. WGRR-FM, 6.2; 5. WEBN-FM, 5.8; 6. WKFS-FM, 4.7; 7. WMOJ-FM, 4.6; 8. WOFX-FM, 4.4; 9. WSWD-FM, 4.1;

10. WKRQ-FM, 3.9; 11. WIZF-FM, 3.8; 12. WKRC-AM, 3.7; 13. WYGY-FM, 2.0; 14. WNNF-FM, 1.7; 15. WAKW-FM, 1.5; 16. WFTK-FM, 1.4; 17. (tie) WDBZ-FM, WLQT-FM, 1.1; 19. (tie) WCKY-AM, WPFB-FM, WHKO-FM, 1.0

22. WDJO-AM, 0.9; 23. WCIN-AM, 0.8; 24. WTUE-FM, 0.7; 25. (tie) WFCJ-FM, WOXY-FM, WSAI-AM, 0.6; 28. (tie) WSCH-AM, WMMX-FM, 0.5; 30. WGTZ-FM, 0.4.


1. WUBE-FM, 8.8; 2. WLW-AM, 7.6; 3. WEBN-FM, 6.9; 4. WRRM-FM, 6.7; 5. WOXF-FM, 6.0; 6. WGRR-FM, 5.8; 7. WMOJ-FM, 5.6; 8. WKRQ-FM, 5.0; 9. WSWD-FM, 4.7; 10. WKFS-FM, 3.3.


1. WKFS-FM, 9.2; 2. WEBN-FM, 8.8; 3. (tie) WUBE-FM, WSWD-FM, 8.3; 5. WKRQ-FM, 7.6; 6. WIZF-FM, 7.0; 7. WMOJ-FM, 5.9; 8. WRRM-FM, 5.0; 9. WOFX-FM, 4.1; 10. WYGY-FM, 3.2.


at 1/15/2008 2:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell the morons at 96.5 rock to lay off the rock songs during the Angry Guys show. Bring back Furman and get Trent C. to do the 7-10 slot.

I feel sorry for Cutler. He had to do a psuedo play-by-play of the Giants-Dallas game because he had no callers on Sunday. How does he
KEEP getting so many hours? It's not brain surgery.

at 1/15/2008 4:01 PM Anonymous lasallemom said...

Hey John,
I was they have the ating bases upon specific hours?? I am on the road all day and have been a talk radio fan for 20+ years. I love to listen to local talk radio however over the last several years WLW has done a lousy job of providing that info. I now listen mostly to XM, WKRC and WUBE. I would love to know what sort of "hit" McConnell's show has taken by people like myself. Do you have access to that type of info??

at 1/15/2008 4:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darryl Parks is the worst thing to ever happen to Cincinnati radio.

at 1/15/2008 5:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

94.9 the sound is a very good radio station. There is not much B.S., however the dj's they do have are very good and enjoyable to listen too. The Angry Guys are awesome, even if they have to play rock music. They ain't rockers, but they are doing a damn good job of holding it up. Notice there is no 1530 homer anywhere. They are aweful

at 1/15/2008 5:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

same ole same ole

at 1/15/2008 6:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am still more about listening to CD's than any radio station.

The demographic swing for B-105 is a blow to 700, no question. And, it comes at a time when they've lost some top talent.

at 1/15/2008 7:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John, which shows are #1? You mentioned Burbank fell to number three. Who's on top in other time periods?

at 1/15/2008 7:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comes to show that when given a little bit of time, the general public recognizes a company that puts programming and their community ahead of the bottom line. Bonneville doesn't force programming decisions and budget cuts from corporate, and look how it's helped them rise quickly.
With all of the changes at Clear Channel, we have to assume that they have only so many lives left before they lose Cincinnati's trust all together.

at 1/15/2008 7:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does Clear Channel expect to maintain any ratings with the UTTER GARBAGE that's on the air at WLW and the other 7 stations.

Ten years of bad management, irresponsible programming, and the firings of dozens of talented, hard working performers has finally caught up with them.

RIP Clear Channel.

From a former employee who's doing well these days in a new profession.

at 1/16/2008 3:15 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have the ratings for WEBN changed now that Eddie Fingers has left the Dawn Patrol?

at 1/16/2008 7:15 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is Andy Furman's old time period doing?

at 1/16/2008 9:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how Parks keeps his gig. It's obvious that CC is not making it easy to succeed, but if he had ounce of talent, he could get "creative" (something we ALL have to do when need be) and present the listeners something they would like. His good talent is either gone or "phoning it in". I remember when Willie was thought provoking. Now he spends a whole show talking about how hot he thinks the TV anchorwoman are. SAD!!

at 1/16/2008 10:12 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I see that the now, late-but not given a chance to be great, Supertalk FM was higher in the 12+ ratings than 1530? Wow that must sting a little CC. Nice effort on the sports station. Who is the 5th grader on air today for Moe? Can anyone get a show on that station? Oh wait, Moe has been on for nearly a year, so I guess it is true. Clear Channel sucks!

at 1/16/2008 10:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really miss Furman's show in the afternoon as an alternative to Lance. With 700 being unlistenable, 980 replaying a morning show and ESPN's show being dull there aren't many good non music options.

at 1/16/2008 10:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

In college, we were taught that ClearChannel, by its nature, sucked the soul from radio programming. So, I was always hesitant to blame it on Darryl Parks.

Until I discovered:

That is an address that shows that ClearChannel is constantly, actively developing innovative, cutting-edge formats.

Darryl Parks chooses not to be creative. One of the main people responsible for all of those formats WORKS OUT OF THE BUILDING IN KENWOOD. If they wanted to put something new or different on the air in Cincinnati they could.

But thanks to Chuck Frederick, there is NO focus on programming - only sales. He drives his sales people into the ground, forcing them to sell whatever is on air. And never blaming the product, only blaming the sales people.

at 1/16/2008 10:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sound puts up numbers like that, and the next day they fire their PD?

at 1/16/2008 11:35 AM Anonymous TheTwoAngryMen said...

1530 sucks! I only listen anymore for The Jim Rome Show, but that show is starting to lose it's luster too. "The Cutman" is the worst talk show host ever, Mo is becoming old to listen too. Lance has gotten to be repetitive, he uses the same topics over and over. As for FM how in the hell is B-105 number one all the time? Their mourning show stinks! Bill and Amanda are funny as paint drying. All they play is Keith Urban and Rascal Flats songs all day.

at 1/16/2008 11:56 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe since WLW teamed up with the last place leader, channel 5, the low ratings black cloud has hit WLW too. If I were WLW I would distance myself from Chick news WLWT.

at 1/16/2008 1:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I think its great that you rank the stations based on the ratings that most of us never see.

But, I would really REALLY appreciate if you could also tell us if overall listenership is down in Cincinnati.

How many people were tuned in to terrestrial radio during this ratings period compared to the same time last year? And how about five years before that?

This is very relavant information for us consumers. We keep hearing about the impact of CD's, IPods, satellite. Is there really a trend???

at 1/16/2008 2:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 1:05:

I'm so sick of hearing that satellite radio is takin gover. Here's the Arbitron report on the percentages of Persons Using Radio by Fall ratings period each year, ages 12 and up:

1998 - 95.3
1999 - 94.9
2000 - 94.9
2001 - 95.0
2002 - 94.5
2003 - 94.3
2004 - 94.4
2005 - 93.7
2006 - 93.7
Summer 2007 - 92.9

I'd say with over 90% of the population in the US listening to radio, it's pretty healthy.
2001 -

at 1/16/2008 5:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice WOXY making the list. PRetty amazing considering that its only available to people with an HD radio.

at 1/16/2008 6:04 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anon 5:47 p.m.
The WOXY on the list is WOXY-FM (97.7), which simulcasts rock on frequencies from Butler County (it's the old Oxford station) and Georgetown or somewhere east of Cincinnati. It's not on HD.

at 1/17/2008 1:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea from where those Arbitron statistics came. Could you provide a way to verify that?

What does Persons Using Radio mean? In TV, I would assume the equivalent is Homes Using Television. That number refers to people who have their sets on at any given time.

We're supposed to believe 90% of Americans are always tuned into the radio?

I've also heard Arbitron is interested in starting to add satellite to its ratings data. If its so irrelavant, why measure it?

I think the fact that 16 million people now pay for radio, and rejected free radio, is something. Especially when you consider that half of that is Sirius subscribers - and three years ago, they had 600,000.

at 1/17/2008 9:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:21...Those numbers come from Arbitron. It doesn't mean that 90% are always listening, it means that 90% listen at some time during the week.

Arbitron already did a satellite ratings survey that came out last year. The funny thing is, the channels that got the highest ratings were the channels that play the hits over and over again! And all of these satellite fanatics say that they wanted a choice with more variety.

Howard Stern had a many listeners on satellite as he would if he were on regular radio in New York and Philly ONLY.

Other channels had such low levels that a terrestrial station wouldn't bother.

at 1/17/2008 9:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John...these were FALL ratings...Burbank did not leave until about checking these things before you post them.

at 1/17/2008 10:42 AM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anon 9:38 p.m.:
Arbitron's fall quarter report measured listening Sept. 20 to Dec. 13, ending a week before the start of winter. Burbank left on Dec. 21, so this is his final ratings report. Arbitron's winter quarter survey period began Jan. 10.

at 1/17/2008 10:51 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey kiese was delilah number 1 again from 7-midnight timeslot.

at 1/17/2008 12:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:04 - where can I see this information about Arbitron's satellite survey? Its it on Arbitron's web site? Trade magazine?

at 1/17/2008 2:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Arbitron Persons Using Radio report is here:

CUME is the total number of people who listened in a week, Mon-Sun from 6am-12midnight. You can also select by AQH Share. That share is the number you see in John's blog, such at 4.1 or 1.7. That tells you how much of a share radio has now.


Again, CUME is the total number of listeners in a week.


The CUME Rating measures what percent of the actual population listened to satellite, and it was 6.73%.

The Howard Stern channel only had 1.25 million listeners. That's about as many as he had just in New York. The #2 Sirius Channel was "Sirius Hits", you know the channel that plays the same songs over and over. It had 653,200 listeners.

When you look at these CUME numbers
, consider that WLW CUMED about 361,000 in Fall 2007, Q102 did about 242,000. WKRC did about 134,000 and WDJO had 35,000. You'll notice that some of these NATIONWIDE channels, have fewer listeners than on elocal Cincinnati station.


at 1/18/2008 12:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude - ratings aren't important to satellite radio. SUBSCRIPTIONS are.

Ratings show Howard Stern had one million listeners. When? The show runs all day!

Some channels don't have huge ratings. Well, there are more than 100 channels. That's not surprising. Eight million people aren't going to be listening to each channel, all day. But Sirius takes money in regardless because its not depending on exposure to advertising. Same with XM.

The model just isn't the same for broadcast radio.

You can say over and over the ratings just aren't there. The ratings just don't matter. And if satellite is no threat - why is the FCC dragging its feet so long on approving the merger? I bet the Delta/Northwest merger won't take this long to approve.

And I'm still not seeing real ratings trends on a local level over the years. John- can you help??

at 1/18/2008 4:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude - Satellite is failing because they don't have ENOUGH subscriptions. Don't you get that? The rattings for the Stern channel are 6am-12 midnight. Did you not understand that little fact? Howard is probably up to about 2 million listeners by now and, with the increase in subscriptions, they will all grow - just not enough.

Why do you think they want to merge? Because the business model is a failure.

It doesn't help that Sirius counts new cars on a dealer's lot with Sirius radios as "subscribers."

Bottom line to the "radio is dead" people: RADIO is NOT dead, especially when over 90% of Americans listen each week.

at 1/20/2008 1:01 PM Anonymous stubby said...

eddie fingers okay can listen to him, but tracy jones is horrible my radio is officially off the big one at work starting monday , gave it a try and listening to "I played the game" is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I tuned out Lance a long time ago and
Furman was worse.
fm radio is back.

at 1/21/2008 12:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Money really can't be that tight between Sirius and XM. Let's assume that the subscriptions are overcounted, and there are really only six million paying subsribers at $13 a month.

That's $936,000,000 a year. Not to mention Stern has paid spots on his channels. So, who knows how much money that brings in.

The real trouble is XM and Sirius have to compete against each other while simultaneously competing against terrestrial radio.

I really take issue with the 90% of Americans are listening to radio every week. That number is too easily fudged - I just don't buy it.

at 1/21/2008 2:50 PM Blogger george said...

Radio stations in Cincinnati have somehow managed to forget that the audience is king.
WLW is a great example of this. They (WLW) present programming that talks down to it's audience for the most part.
It is extrememly boring to listen to a radio host ( or pair of radio hosts ) spend their entire show expressing their personal point of view on anything and everything.
They ( WLW ) must think the IQ of their listeners is so low that they ( the listener ) can't comprehend actual subject matter, because most shows are about absolutely nothing.
The latest round of bogus commercials Clear Channel has been running featuring ex-Bond girl Tanya Roberts hawking her resort "getaway" in a prefab "interview" that both Mike McConnell and Jim Scott have aired ( they both get the exact same pre-taped responses from Ms. Roberts;
" You got that right when the guys heard I doing an interview on your show " ) are a perfect example of how stupid radio big-wigs must think we listeners are.
I personally have cut my radio listening way back simply because what I hear annoys me more than it entertains me.

at 1/21/2008 5:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:09...Sirius and XM money problems are legend on the radio trade magazines. You might want to read them. Each service is losing millions.

As for local radio listening, you asked for it and you'll probably dispute these because they don't fit your hypothesis. These are from Arbitron for Cincinnati in CUME:

Fall 1997: 1.49 million
Summer 2002: 1.56 million
Fall 2007: 1.64 million (Latest Book)

OK, start disputing them. You can see that Arbitron estimates the total CUME to be going UP not DOWN since 1997.

at 1/24/2008 7:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is that revenue in radio has decreased in 2007 and will continue in 08. Satellite radio is gaining in popularity as terrestrial radio is continuing to water down programming and flipping formats more than they have in the past. Cume is nothing if its not bringing in revenue to the radio companies.

at 1/25/2008 9:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:59...You just don't get it. Revenues are down because the economy is bad. Ad budgets are the first thing to get slashed. Satellite radio may be growing in popularity, but it is in NO WAY coming close to the reach of terrestrial radio. It just isn't. I don't know how you can even dispute 20 million versus 250 million. It just isn't relevant at this point. Wi-Fi will be what really changes radio, and the terrestrial stations will be providing that content. They already are. Terrestrial radio stations are the most popular streams on the web. Again, you can dispute that all you want based on only your opinion. But, I've seen study after study to support what I say.

at 1/31/2008 11:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...I've heard more alternative and great music in the past month than I've heard in the past 20 years on Cincinnati Radio. 94.1 and 94.9 are like listing to LA stations now while WEBN still hangs on to the head banger, heavy metal, make me puke format. The Rats, including Eddie Fingers, have abandoned that sinking ship.

Rot in Hell Clear Channel!!

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