Boston Monthly Ratings Trend Released

It’s for the first month of the all-important Spring 2008 Arbitron Survey and includes listeners 12 and older.

Monthly trends are notoriously volatile, so take that into consideration as we analyze the data:

— WBZ fell from 6.9 (in the Winter 2008 Survey) to a 6.5 share but managed to tie WXKS-FM for first place! And with all of the huge local news we’ve had lately, I think that number might be considerably higher next month. Recent events have been tailor-made for WBZ’s news department.

— WRKO rose from a 3.8 to a 4.4, most likely because of the start of the Sox season.

— Perhaps most significantly, WTKK not only held the huge gains in the last book, but actually increased further, from 4.1 to 4.4. Yes, it tied WRKO. A big spring finish would convince skeptics that WTKK’s strong winter book wasn’t a fluke.

It’s pretty easy to break down without a lot of data: Imus is killing Finneran, Michael Graham is crushing Reese Hopkins and Howie’s “let’s do a crappy show to tick off Entercom management” strategy is helping Vay Cay win afternoons by a mile.

— WEEI was DOWN, from 5.3 to 4.7. Again, the monumentally stupid reasoning behind moving most Sox games to WRKO is undermining New England’s strongest radio branding identity. Brilliant, guys!

Know Thy Audience

While much has been made of Michele McPhee’s on-air delivery issues, she’s not the only one struggling to connect with her audience.

How about our favorite Fung Wah-riding hip hop producer from New Jersey with a bogus résumé? From a SaveWRKO reader:

Y’know, Reese has the potential to be a pretty good morning rock jock at Jam’n FM.

But why does he bring the hip hop crap to RKO? Whatever happened to adult sensibilities?

That’s it in a nutshell: he doesn’t fit the part, nor does he even try to connect with an audience in which he has almost nothing in common. Simply parroting a few “conservative” phrases isn’t going to fly.

What percentage of WRKO listeners like hip hop? Do we even need to take a survey in order to find out?

Or, the inverse: what percentage of WRKO listeners absolutely hate hip hop and would love to have a remote-controlled device that blows up booming subwoofers as they pass by on the street?

Reese Hopkins is living proof that sales departments have no business dictating station programming. That shift marked the beginning of the end for WRKO.

Home Heating Hell

Just had my thirsty home heating oil monster filled, it was exactly $700 for just over half of a tank. As fellow New Englanders know, this fuel is used all year, not just in the winter months.

Wonder how many basement-dwelling Boston-area radio talkers pulling in a cool million can relate to that? (Insert random joke about Hillary’s weight here)

Major Events Define Local Media

So far at least, it appears that no one was killed in today’s horrific T crash in Newton, which seems a minor miracle. Thank goodness for that.

In the local media biz, major news events can make or break one’s reputation. So how have they performed?

Boston TV affiliates actually pre-empted network programming (not common) to bring nonstop live coverage of the ongoing rescue efforts. WBZ-4 appeared to stick with it somewhat longer than WHDH-7 or WCVB-5.

On the radio, WRKO’s lack of an in-house newsroom really comes back to haunt it at times like these.

Over at WTKK, I’m told that Michele McPhee was all over it during her show, but I’m not sure what other live talk shows might have quickly shifted their focus to the emerging story.

Who took the opportunity to develop this as a topic and really shine?


UPDATE:
sadly, the trolley operator has died

ETM Plunges On Downgrade

WRKO/ WEEI owner Entercom’s shares are tumbling today after an analyst downgraded ETM to a “hold”. That’s Wall Street-speak for “get the hell out of there”.

Shares are currently down 93 cents to $9.76.

Especially ominous is the Stanford Group’s price target of just $9.00. Usually these are set well above the current price, not below.