August is a strange month for Arbitron radio ratings, a transitional time for families going from summer vacation into the school year.
If anything, people weren’t listening as much to news/talk stations. 640/WGST-AM had its worst ratings in people meter history (which began in early 2009). 90.1/WABE-FM had its lowest numbers since June 2009. And AM 750 and now 95.5FM News/Talk WSB, which added the FM signal just two days before the end of this ratings cycle, tied its lowest monthly ratings over the past two years.
No other obvious patterns emerged. 94.9/The Bull had its highest overall ratings in its history, yet mysteriously lost its program director Scott Lindy soon after. (Neither Lindy nor Clear Channel management would say why.). And R&B station Majic 107.5/97.5 also had its strongest ratings since last December.
The Arbitron ratings follow four-week cycles so as the year goes along, the actual “month” gets earlier and earlier. The “August” Arbitron period actually covers July 22 through August 18.
Here’s a quick format-by-format review:
V-103 remains the top dog as usual but it has seen steady slippage over the past six months. Its 7.2 ratings share in August was its worst since people meters were officially introduced in early 2009. Last year, the station averaged a 9.4 and garnered a 9.0 as recently as March this year. Frank & Wanda lost to Q100’s the Bert Show for the second time in four months among 18- to 34 year olds.
As noted earlier, Majic had a strong month, beating older-skewing R&B station Kiss 104.1 for the first time in people meter history among 25- to 54 year olds, ranking seventh. Majic’s morning host Steve Harvey has also outranked Kiss’s Tom Joyner two months in a row.
Hot 107.9 held firm from July, ranking third among 18- to 34 year olds. 95.5/The Beat, in its final month of existence, had a typical month, ranking fifth in that same demographic.
Q100’s Bert Show landed its best 18-to-34 year old morning numbers since January 2009. It has been in second place with 25- to 54 year olds all year. The station overall ranked sixth among 25- to 54 year olds. Star 94 matched its best 25- to 54 year old numbers of the year while its 18- to 34 year old figures jumped into the top 10 for the first time in a year, ranking seventh. Star’s Cindy & Ray also hit the top 10 for the first time this year in that demo.
Groove 105.7 was flat overall and had its worst 18-34 number since January, ranking 17th. We’ll see if the Beat’s absence the past month will have any impact on the next ratings book.
B98.5, after a steady slide this year, rebounded a bit in August, finishing fifth among 25 to 54 year olds. And Vikki Locke, minus Steve McCoy, finally reversed her fortunes. She rebounded to a tie for 12th from 15th place.
True Oldies 106.7, which has been very consistent this year, tied its best performance of the year in shares and ranked 10th for the third month in a row.
Fish 104.7, after a relatively poor July, bounced back to more typical numbers last month, ranking eighth among 25- to 54 year olds and fourth for morning hosts Kevin & Taylor. (Its 18- to 34 year old numbers, though, do seem a bit depressed relative to earlier in the year.)
Praise 102.5’s string of strong performances continues unabated. It ranked second for the third time in four months overall and with 25- to 54 year olds. And it’s top 10 among younger 18- to 34 year olds, too.
Project 9-6-1 had an average month overall, finishing sixth among 18- to 34 year olds. Morning show Shaffee and Jefe, though, had its worst numbers since January.
92.9/Dave FM, after an unusually strong July, fell back a bit but remained top 10 among 25- to 54 year olds and the mid-day time slot with Mara Davis ranked fifth in that demo. 97.1/The River had its best 25- to 54 year old share numbers this year, tying for 11th, and remains strong among 18- to 34 year olds, ranking 10th.
Rock 100.5, fueled by the Braves, finished fourth at night among 25- to 54 year olds compared to 21st in the late afternoon when they mostly play music. The Regular Guys finished ninth, their fourth month in a row in the top 10. Among 18- to 34 year olds, the show is seventh and has been top 10 all year. 99X at 97.9 , with its weaker signal, is way back, tied for 22nd among 18- to 34 year olds.
94.9/The Bull’s big numbers included huge 18- to 34 numbers. It finished a station-best fourth place in that demo. Its share is nearly triple what it was in February.
But Kicks 101.5 is still the country king overall and among 25- to 54 year olds, though the Bull has beaten it in the younger demo two months in a row. Kicks is tied for third overall and sixth among 25- to 54 year olds but a softer 12th among 18- to 34 year olds.
The results were noted up above. It wasn’t pretty. News was definitely not on people’s minds in August.
The two sports stations focus on men ages 25 to 54. I only have 25- to 54 numbers for both genders. In that arena, 680/The Fan, overall, is a clear leader over 790/The Zone, which recently went through an ownership change and some lineup shifting. I don’t have the breakdowns for specific shows this month though the Zone tends to do better in the afternoons than the mornings.
Top 25 radio stations overall
2. Praise 102.5
3. Kiss 104.1, Kicks 101.5 (tie)
7. Majic 107.5/97.5
8. 97.1/The River, 94.9/The Bull (tie)
10. True Oldies 106.7
11. Hot 107.9, Q100 (tie)
13. Fish 104.7
15. 92.9/Dave FM
16. 95.5/The Beat (ended its run 8/16)
17. Project 9-6-1, Star 94 (tie)
19. 105.3/El Patron
20. Rock 100.5
21. 680/The Fan
22. Groove 105.7
24. 99X at 97.9
25. 790/The Zone
Top 15 25-54
11. River/Bull (tie)
13. WSB/Star/El Patron (tie)
Top 25-54 top 10 mornings
1. Frank & Wanda, V-103
2. The Bert Show, Q100
3. Steve Harvey, Majic
4. Kevin & Taylor, Fish
5. Rickey Smiley, Hot
6. Scott Slade, WSB; Tom Joyner, Kiss (tie)
8. Yolanda Adams, Praise
9. Regular Guys, Rock 100.5
10. Cadillac and Dallas, Kicks
Top 10, 25-54 mid-days
1. Fill-ins, V-103
2. Jordan Graye, B98.5
3. Darlene McCoy, Praise
4. Sari Rose, Kicks
5. Mara Davis, Dave FM
6. Carol Blackmon, Majic
7. (tie) Cynthia Young, Kiss; Scott Shannon, True Oldies
9. Parks Stamper, Fish
10. Neal Boortz, Clark Howard, WSB
Top 15 18-34
5. The Beat
9. El Patron
10. The River
Top 10 mornings 18-34
1. Bert Show, Q100
2. Frank & Wanda, V-103
3. Rickey Smiley, Hot; Jason Pullman & Kristen Gates, Bull
5. Patrones de la Manana, El Patron
6. Yolanda Adams, Praise
7. Regular Guys, Rock
8. CJ & Murph Dawg, the Beat
9. Steve Harvey, Majic
10. Cindy & Ray, Star 94
Top 10 18-34 mid-days (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
1. Fill-ins, V-103
2. Brittany, Q100
3. K-Dub, the Beat
4. Heather Branch, Star
5. Maria More, Hot
6. Aly, Project
7. Deborah Reece, The River
8. Madison, the Bull
9. Sari Rose, Kicks
10. El Sinverguenza, El Patron