If you think Democrats are going overboard spinning Scott Brown’s victory, you ain’t seen nothin’: radio programmers are masters at making excuses for bad ratings. And the fresh monthly release of Boston audience figures will most certainly test their skills.
That’s because for most local news-talkers, the final 2009 ratings period was generally a stinker. Yes, here come the excuses: our hosts were away for their extended vay-cays, etc. How’d that work out for Martha Coakley?
Another classic: we’ve recently changed our line-up and station logo and need at least a year to see how well it works!
Here are news-talk highlights for Arbitron’s Holiday 2009 ratings period (December 10 2009 to January 06 2010):
— WBZ-AM produced flat ratings, good for fourth place with 5.7 share of the overall (6 and older) audience. But it certainly no longer dominates the region. In terms of actual listeners (cume), WBZ takes seventh with 822,400.
Dan Rea, Martha Coakley and Curt Schilling have probably done more for WBZ in recent weeks than any marketing campaign could, so we’ll see if any election benefit shows up in the next trend.
— Sports WEEI continues to suffer after new competitor WBZ-FM carved away a chunk of its audience. But it did tick up a bit this month, to 3.8 from 3.6 share and ninth place overall (its remaining listeners are hard core and stick around longer).
Body count: 444,000, down from 462,000 last month and 642,600 in September, thirteenth place in cume.
— WRKO continues its long slide, falling to 3.6 from 4.0 last month and 5.5 in August. That means tenth place overall. Audience count: 347,800, down from 378,400 previously and 639,000 in August.
Next month, the white-hot Senate race should show up as a boost for January’s numbers. But the upcoming launch of a new Clear Channel talker will hit WRKO hard in the long run.
— It was another up month for upstart sports talker WBZ-FM, rising to 3.5 from 3.1. Tied for twelfth, cume audience: 687,500, more than 200,000 greater than WEEI! CBS is now busy looking to copy its success in other cities.
— WTKK-FM: the struggling FM talker didn’t get any good news this month, either, but with much of its lineup away, how hard did it really try? Falling to 2.6 share from 3.1 (tied for fifteenth place), there was also a cume loss of 50,000 from last month (to 371,900).
‘TKK did push the election hard and hosted a key debate, we’ll see if it enjoys a boost in the next ratings release.