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Christmas boosts B98.5, affects other stations

b985Do you hear what I hear? It’s Christmas music on B98.5, which helped boost the soft rock station’s ratings for what is dubbed the “December” Arbitron ratings but actually covers the four-week period from Nov. 11 to Dec. 8.

How big an impact is Christmas to the station? It changed format for only two of the four weeks covered, yet the station’s average weekly unique listeners jumped nearly 20 percent from 1.4 million to 1.65 million. (After the Christmas switch, unique listeners jumped closer to 2 million.) Time spent listening jumped even more. The result: a whopping 63 percent increase in ratings, placing B98.5 at No. 2 behind only V-103, which had a strong ratings period to remain the city’s leader.

The jump for B98.5 this year was even greater than a year ago.

And if you isolate the four weeks in which B98.5 plays Christmas music (Nov. 24 to Dec. 25), the station would be No. 1 for that time period. Arbitron’s four-week rolling cycles don’t match that.

B98.5’s new listeners had to come from somewhere. Though country and R&B/hip-hop stations didn’t appear affected, stations which saw drops in ratings compared to the previous four weeks include Star 94, Q100, 97.1/The River, Atlanta’s Greatest Hits, Wild 105.7, Wild 105.7, Rock 100.5 and AM750 and now 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Fish 104.7, the Christian pop station, also went all Christmas. As in many past years, the station’s ratings did not drop but did not rise to any degree either.

Here’s an overview of the ratings by format:

R&B/hip hop

“The People’s Station” V-103 dominated as usual with its strongest month since January with a 9.3 share. Frank and Wanda had its best 18-34 numbers since October 2009 with a whopping 16.7 share of listeners in that demographic.

R&B station Kiss 104.1 and its Tom Joyner morning show had its best ratings since October 2009 with a 6.5 overall rating, ranking fourth. Hot 107.9 also had a great month, ranking second 18-34  Majic 107.5/97.5′ s numbers were typical with the station ranking 9th overall and fifth 25-54.

Wild 105.7 in its first full month under its new name and sound took a major tumble, falling to 13th from 4th a month earlier among 18 to 34 year olds.

Top 40/pop

B98.5 appears to have diverted some listening from the two top 40 stations Q100 and Star 94. Q100 fell to eighth 25-54 and fourth 18-34 and even the Bert Show slipped back to third 25-54 and 18-34. Star fell to 16th and 11th 18-34 but Cindy & Ray held in seventh place 18-34.  Atlanta’s Greatest Hits, which moved to a more 70s-oriented oldies format Thanksgiving and dropped the True Oldies moniker, had its worst ratings since people meters began in early 2009. Its overall ratings fell from 2.9 to 2.2. As recently as August, the station had a 4.2 rating. That’s a seriously precipitous drop. Randy & Spiff dropped to 22nd with a 1.1 rating among 25 to 54 year olds  from a 3.0 rating just four months earlier.


Kicks 101.5 remains the top overall country station with a 5.2 share (sixth place) but 94.9/The Bull has never been so close before with a 5.0 share, its best number ever. And the Bull continues to win among the younger demographics. It beat Kicks 25-54 for the fourth month in a row and 18-34 for the fourth time in five months.


92.9/Dave FM was the only rock station to make it into the top 10 among 25-54 year olds. Project 9-6-1, as usual, landed in the top 10 among 18-34 year olds, ranking sixth, with the new Shafee and Klinger combo jumping to a tie for 10th among 25 to 54 year olds.

The other three stations had tougher months. 97.1/The River had its worst overall ratings since March. It’s 14th 25-54, 15th overall. Rock 1005 also had its worst numbers in more than a year. Its 25-54 ratings have slipped from a 3.4 share to a 1.4 share since July . The Regular Guys weren’t immune, falling from sixth to 18th place among 25 to 54 year olds in five months.  The show fared even worse among 18 to 34 year olds in that same time period, going from a robust fourth place to an alarming 19th. 99X at 97.9 finished a tie for 20th among 18 to 34 year olds.


WSB, with B98.5’s Christmas switch, lost some audience. It fell to third from second overall and from second to fourth 25-54 but its numbers are better than they were that same period a year ago. 640/WGST-AM didn’t see its numbers change, though its 25-54 numbers for 3 to 7 p.m. when Dave Ramsey is on were the lowest of the year. (Ramsey is out at the end of the year.)

Sports talk

680/The Fan rebounded a bit from its worst numbers of the year the previous four weeks, ranked 18th among 25-54 year olds and 20th overall.  790/The Zone wasn’t far behind though it lagged 25-54 in all major time slots. It did do better than the Fan on weekends. (I don’t have 25-54 male numbers, which is what the stations use to sell. )


As noted earlier, 104.7/the Fish had typical numbers, even with a change to Christmas. Kevin & Taylor were consistent top 10 performers in both 18-34 and 25-54 demos. Praise 102.5 had a slightly softer-than-normal performance but still finished fifth overall and a tie for fifth 25-54.


El Patron 105.3 had its lowest ratings in the two-year period since people meters started, falling to a 2.1 rating overall, ranked 18th.

Top 25 overall
1. V-103
2. B98.5
3. WSB
4. Kiss
5. Praise
6. Kicks
7. Bull
8. Hot
9. Majic
10. Q100
11. WABE
12. Fish
13. Dave
14. Project
15. River
16. Star
17. Atlanta’s Greatest Hits
18. El Patron
19. Wild
20. The Fan
21. WGST
22. Rock 100.5
23. The Zone
24. J93.3
25. 99X at 97.9

Top 20, 25-54
1. V-103
2. B98.5
3. Kiss
4. WSB
5. (tie) Praise, Majic
7. Bull
8. Q100
9. Fish
10. Dave
11. (tie) Kicks, Hot
13. Project
14. River
15. Star
16. El Patron
17. WABE
18. Fan
19. Zone
20. Atlanta’s Greatest Hits

Top 10 morning shows, 25-54 (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.)
1. Frank & Wanda, V-103
2. Scott Slade, WSB
3. Bert Show, Q100
4. Vikki Locke, B98.5
5. (tie) Tom Joyner, Kiss; Kevin & Taylor, Fish
7. Rickey Smiley, Hot
8. Steve Harvey, Majic
9. Jason Pullman & Kristen Gates, 94.9/The Bull
10. Shafee and Klinger, Project 9-6-1

Top 10 25-54 mid-days (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
1. Fill-ins/Ryan Cameron, V-103
2. Jordan Graye, B98.5
3. Madison, The Bull
4. (tie) Cynthia Young, Kiss; Neal Boortz/Clark Howard, WSB
6. Rhodell Lewis, Praise
7. (tie) Carol Blackmon, Majic; Aly, Project
9. Sari Rose, Kicks
10. (tie) Parks Stamper, Fish; Deborah Reece, the River

18-34 top 20
1. V-103
2. Hot
3. B98.5
4. Q100
5. The Bull
6. Project
7. Kicks
8. Majic
9. WSB
10. Kiss
11. Star, Dave (tie)
13. Wild
14. El Patron
15. Praise
16. Fish
17. River
18. WABE
19. Rock 100.5
20. (tie) Fan, 99X

18-34 top 10 morning shows
1. Frank & Wanda, V-103
2. Rickey Smiley, Hot
3. Bert Show, Q100
4. Vikki Locke, B98.5 (up from 15th last month)
5. Scott Slade, WSB
6. Jason Pullman & Kristen Gates, Bull
7. Cindy & Ray, Star
8. Kevin & Taylor, Fish
9. Steve Harvey, Majic
10. (tie) Patrones de la Manana, El Patron; Cadillac Jack & Dallas McCade,Kicks

Top 10, 18-34 mid-day (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
1. Fill-ins/Ryan Cameron, V-103
2. Jordan Graye, B98.5
3. Maria More, Hot
4. Aly, Project 9-6-1
5. Sari Rose, Kicks
6. Madison, 94.9/The Bull
7. Brittany, Q100
8. (tie) Carol Blackmon, Majic; Neal Boortz/Clark Howard, WSB; Mara Davis/Rich Sullivan, Dave FM

SOURCE: Arbitron

24 comments Add your comment


December 30th, 2010
10:36 am

Not a word about Vicky Locke. Picture is unrelated.


December 30th, 2010
10:46 am

It seems to amaze how you ATaLiens do not listen to WCLK 91.9, esp during the drive time(s). “Morris in the Morning” and Jamal “soul of jazz” gives that “chilaxtion” music with no commericals.


December 30th, 2010
11:04 am

Wild 105.7 needs to add a lot more new music and expand their playlist. Then they need to get a stronger signal and there ratings will go up!


December 30th, 2010
11:34 am

What did Atlanta’s Greatest Hits expect. It was the oldies fans that kept them floating.


December 30th, 2010
12:49 pm

True Oldies made a TRUE mistake. It has NOTHING to do with their onair talent…go back to your previious play list before it’s too late!


December 30th, 2010
4:18 pm

Just wondering why you make a point to always put the now in 750/95.5’s station name in BOLD or Italtics. It looks kind of odd that way.

Free Mike Vick

December 30th, 2010
5:11 pm

It was just a few dogs. It’s not like it was people.

Vicki Locke must eat!

December 30th, 2010
5:14 pm

What time does Golden Corral close?

Rick James

December 30th, 2010
8:15 pm

I refuse to listen to “Christmas music” on a radio station that plays every song under the sun with Christmas in it, and then does not have the balls on voiceovers to wish us a “Merry Christmas”- they cop out with the “Happy Holidays” crap. Don’t want to “offend” anyone yet pretty much every song has the word Christmas in it.

Jim Listens

December 30th, 2010
10:34 pm

I refuse to listen to 97.1 again until they stop insulting me by telling me it’s still “NEW”. It drives me crazy. If I ever start listening again, it won’t last long unless they increase their play list. I love what they play…but they play the same 40 songs over and over and over. It’s an amazing genre’ … why not maximize the potetial?


December 30th, 2010
11:17 pm

Congratulations to 94.9/The Bull. What they’ve accomplished is huge, I never thought it would happen. Great job!!! Keep up the good work music.

ish kabibble

December 31st, 2010
4:16 am

Atlanta Radio has sucked from day one, Star is dimmer then ever, Rockless 100 with the lex and terry, don imus, howard stern, rick and bubba; sound-a-likes are on the way out along with wild/groove, 99x, and others. We need more “LOCAL” talent on Atlanta’s airwaves no more has been DJ’s/talk host from Indiana, Modesto, or Philly. Why not hire local Atlantans to run and broadcast here!! Shame on Clear Channel, Cox, Cumulus, Lincon, CBS Radio, etc for bringing us more BAD Radio in 2011!!


December 31st, 2010
6:27 am

I think that the management of “Atlanta’s Greatest Hits” greatly underestimated how much of their earlier success was due to Scott Shannon’s programming and on-air personality. This will go down as one of the bigger radio blunders in the long list of Atlanta radio blunders!


December 31st, 2010
9:43 am

I’ve lived in four major cities and i can safely say that Atlanta radio on the whole.. music, signal, on air talent.. really really sucks. Thank god for Sirius/XM.


December 31st, 2010
9:43 am

I’m glad that “atlantas greatest hits” is foundering. “True Oldies” with Scott
Shannon was different for ATL radio which in general sucks. I hope their ratings go to zero or close to it. I’ve tried checking around and found 97.1 “The River” sucks also. Everytime I tune to it, another Eagles song is on. I swear it’s true. There ARE other bands. I wind up flipping between 100.5 andthing else. I’ve begun to play cds again in the car rather than listen to the dreck that passes for radio.


December 31st, 2010
10:05 am

Atlanta radio has driven me to listen to CDs on the car. Macon and Columbus have better radio stations…


December 31st, 2010
10:43 am

WABE is the best. Lois Reitzes rules!!!!


December 31st, 2010
11:22 am

People don’t listen to Dave Ramsey…wow! I’ll miss him since I want to be debt free but I guess I’m weird.


December 31st, 2010
12:01 pm

So the question is, did WSB750’s ratings go down because it’s the end of the calendar year, or did their rating drop because most of the main on-air talent went on vacation halfway through the month? And are they allowed to do that because they know the ratings will tank anyway? Somewhere there is a cause and effect going on.

I do recall hearing Boortz on the air bragging two weeks ago that he wouldn’t be back live until 2011. The predictable run of awful fill-ins sent me listening to something else. Using C-grade coverage may be good for his job security, maybe, but no fun for somebody who just wants to listen to the topical show they expect.

This week, I have been listening to Erik Lanigan’s internet-only show instead. Good show. Not canned.


December 31st, 2010
12:28 pm

Big thumbs up to all those who believe that Atlanta radio stinks! I’m now listening to Pandora over my phone thru my receiver OR the True Oldies Channel streamed. I’ve found that I really don’t need (nor do I want) the garbage that the local stations produce.


January 1st, 2011
11:27 am

Rodney, I believe that Atlanta’s Greatest Hits (106.7) actually added more hits from the 1980s, not the ’70s, to their format.

At any rate, I’m sorry to read that their ratings have dropped significantly as a result of this change. I do miss many of the older songs that they would play previously, but I understand their need to try to capture a younger, perhaps more affluent audience. I still enjoy the current mix they offer. They play plenty of great tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

To those of you who have abandoned or not yet listened to the station, give their new format a try. Remember that, if Atlanta’s Greatest Hits fails, we will probably hear yet another hip-hop or country station at that frequency. Just what we need, right?

Bobby in Smyrna

January 3rd, 2011
4:20 pm

LevelHead- I love listening to WCLK while driving into work in the morning. It helps to take the edge off.

Can't Take it

January 4th, 2011
2:26 am

Atlanta radio is awful. It’s ,must be all the film making going on in the city that has dried up the radio. The stations that actually have decent shows don’t even register in the “ratings”. 89.3 yes is community radio but a lot of the programs esp ATLRemix Sat mornings 3a-6a is 10 times more original and sincere than the big station stuff. Mid days with Kay on WGUN 1010am is very insightful although I think sometimes she wants to get a big gig at Praise cause she’s leaning more and more the gospel route but she has informative shows. CLK91.9 is a hidden gem.

All of this moving to FM xyz stuff and having to go through hoops and loops to have a decent signal is crazy.

When will internet radio be available in the car I can’t wait. I love sirrus/xm but there is some pretty good stuff out there that the airwaves in atlanta just don’t get. Deep pockets to buy up all the stations with good signals, then air garbage and get then have these ratings.

I’m a sports junkie but these 680 folks with the Fan 2 and 3, heck i can’t hear them so why are you shoving that down my throat! AND THEY DO A HORRIBLE JOB WITH THE HAWKS!!!! Give the HAWKS back to 790.


January 4th, 2011
11:30 pm

i switched to CHRISTmas music during Dec, it was lovely. i go back to star 94, and they are still playing the same 5 songs over and over. I AM SICK OF IT, any suggestions?