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Radio Ratings Roundup, December 2023, Part I

December 27, 2023

Now that the dulcet tones of BURL IVES have faded into the ether, it is time for The Ratings Experts from RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. – along with the XTRENDS elves in the data-crunching workshop – to rehash the seminal ghosts of CHRISTMAS past. We bring you the DECEMBER survey. A time when the airwaves were riddled with jingling bells, drumming children and, apparently, the telling of scary ghost stories from prior holidays. This book began on NOVEMBER 9TH and skidded to a halt on DECEMBER 6TH. It featured a long holiday weekend plus folks gobbling up as much turkey as possible. Here’s how it ended up:

NEW YORK: Bright Lites, Big City

Feeling confident of their place in the holiday pantheon, iHEARTMEDIA AC WLTW (106.7 LITE FM) did not execute the format flip until the ninth day of the survey. The station did get more than a bunch of ladies dancing. It was #1 6+ (8.5-11.3) with a share far greater than last DECEMBER’s 7.6. iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock WAXQ (Q104.3) was back at #2 with its best book since JULY (6.4-6.7). iHEARTMEDIA CHR WHTZ (Z100) repeated at #3 (5.4-4.9) but was joined in that space by AUDACY Classic Hits WCBS, which stepped up from #4 (5.2-4.9). iHEARTMEDIA Rhythmic AC WKTU had its best outing since SEPTEMBER (3.7-4.7) to leap five places to #5. MEDIACO Urban AC WBLS posted its lowest score in over a year (5.0-4.5) to slip to #6. WLTW got an 11.2% cume boost to remain #1 in that category (3,695,800-4,109,00). The market was down by 1.1%.

To no one’s surprise, WLTW was both #1 and in double digits with the 25-54 crowd. WHTZ had its smallest share since JANUARY but remained at #2. WKTU ended a two-book slide as it moved up to #3, while AUDACY Hot AC WNEW (NEW 102.7) stayed behind at #4 with a slight increase. SBS Tropical WSKQ (MEGA 97.9) had its best showing since AUGUST to advance two places to #5. WAXQ slid from #3 to #6.

Not that it needed the help, but WLTW landed its fifth double-digit 18-34 book in a row. It came close to tripling the #2 station’s share. That was WHTZ, which remained in place with a slight decrease. WAXQ was up three slots to #3 as it halted a four-book slide. iHEARTMEDIA Urban Contemporary WWPR (POWER 105.1FM) dipped to #4 as it returned all of last month’s solid increase. WKTU stepped down to #5 with its lowest mark since MARCH. MEDIACO Rhythmic CHR WQHT (HOT 97) fell from #5 to #10 as it also returned all of last survey’s solid increase. It was tied with EDUCATIONAL MEDIA FOUNDATION Christian Contemporary WPLJ (K-LOVE).

WLTW made it back-to-back double-digit 18-49 books as it more than doubled the share of #2 WHTZ, which posted its lowest number in exactly a year. WKTU inched up to #3 as it ended a somewhat steep two-book slide. WNEW dipped to #4 as it stopped a two-book surge. WSKQ moved up to #5 to end a three-book slide, while WAXQ dropped two places to #7.


Not wanting to rush things, iHEARTMEDIA AC KOST did not change its format until day two of the survey. It worked as the station moved from #3 to #1 6+ (5.3-10.1). It did not match last year’s 12.1 share. AUDACY Classic Hits KRTH (K-EARTH 101FM) stepped down to #2 as its nine-book winning streak came to an end (5.8-5.1). It was forced to share the moment with iHEARTMEDIA N/T KFI-A, which advanced from #4 (5.1-5.1).  iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KBIG (104.3 MYFM) had its smallest share since APRIL (5.5-4.7) as it dropped to #4. It was tied with iHEARTMEDIA CHR KIIS (102.7 KISS FM), which stepped up from #5 (4.9-4.7). KOST took the cume lead with a 26.8% increase (2,168,500-2,750,100). The market was essentially flat.

KOST rode the MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER to a double-digit number as it rose from #3 to #1 25-54. KIIS and KBIG were tied at #1 last month. KIIS dipped to #2 with a slight decrease. KBIG ended its three-book stay in the top spot and dropped to #4 with its smallest share since the last time the TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA showed up in MEDIABASE. A flat KRTH moved up to #3, while TELEVISAUNIVISION Spanish Contemporary KLVE (K-LOVE 107.5) repeated at #5 with a small decrease.

KOST more than doubled its previous 18-34 share – and narrowly missed hitting double figures – as it leapt from #5 to #1. KIIS stepped up to #2 with its fourth up book in a row. KBIG dipped to #3 as it ended a two-book surge. KLVE was up four slots to #4 with its best book in over a year. AUDACY Rhythmic AC KTWV (94.7 THE WAVE) returned most of last survey’s huge increase as it ebbed from #1 to #5. KRTH dropped from #4 to #8 with its lowest score in over a year.

The power of the Claus enabled KOST to rise from #5 to #1 18-49. KIIS and KBIG were the co-leaders last month. KIIS was off slightly as it dipped to #2, while KBIG landed at #3 with its lowest mark since FEBRUARY. Also landing at #3 was SBS Mexican Regional KLAX (LA RAZA 97.9), which advanced from #8 with its largest share in over a year. KLVE remained at #5, while KRTH slipped three places to #6.

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CHICAGO: Lite-ing The Way

iHEARTMEDIA Soft AC WLIT (93.9 LITE FM) got a head start on the holiday hype as it flipped the Frosty switch before the end of the NOVEMBER survey. It worked out well as the station repeated at #1 6+ (7.3-12.3). It did not quite match last year’s 12.4 share. HUBBARD Classic Rock WDRV (94.7FM THE DRIVE) remained at #2 but with its lowest score since MARCH (6.6-5.8). iHEARTMEDIA Urban AC WVAZ (V103) stepped up to #3 with its best book in over a year (5.0-5.5). AUDACY News WBBM slipped to #4 (5.4-5.2), while TELEVISAUNIVISION Regional Mexican WOJO (QUÉ BUENA 105.1) moved up to #5 (4.6-4.5). The station that often bears the brunt of the Santa songs is HUBBARD Hot AC WTMX (101.9 THE MIX). It slipped to #7 as it ended a three-book surge (4.7-4.0). Check out this number: WLIT received a 43.1% boost in its cume (1,334,500-1,910,300). Yeah, it was still #1. The market fell by 0.7%.

WLIT was back at #1 25-54 with a double-digit bounty. It also beat last year’s number. WOJO repeated at #2 with a slight decrease, while AUDACY Adult Alternative Rock WXRT rose four places to #3 with a solid increase. WTMX slipped to #4, while WVAZ stepped up to #5 with a slight gain. Two stations dropped out of the top five and arrived at #6. AUDACY Country WUSN (US99) slipped from #4 with its lowest total since MAY, while AUDACY Urban AC WBMX (104.3 JAMS) dipped from #5 with its smallest share since APRIL.

It was a CHRISTMAS miracle. WLIT was not #1 18-34. That honor remained with WOJO, which finished in first place for the sixth straight survey, the last three of which have been in double digits. WLIT also hit double figures but had to settle for the #2 slot. WUSN was up two places to #3 with its largest share in over a year. iHEARTMEDIA CHR WKSC (103.5 KISS FM) dipped to #4, while WVAZ inched up to #5. CUMULUS Alternative WKQX (Q101) had its best performance in over a year as it jumped from #11 to #6. WDRV fell from #3 into a three-way tie at #7 with WXRT and WBMX.

WLIT became the radio station of choice for the 18-49 crowd as it stepped up to #1 with, of course, a double-digit share. This ended the two-book winning streak for WOJO, which dipped to #2 with a small decrease. WBMX repeated at #3 but with its lowest score since APRIL. A flat WXRT advanced four squares to #4. WUSN slipped to #5 and was met headlong by WKQX, which rose from #10. Three stations had been tied at #5. WDRV and CUMULUS Classic Hits WLS remained an item but at #8. WKSC slid five places to #10.

SAN FRANCISCO: Dressed to The Nines

BONNEVILE AC KOIT waited until the ninth day of the survey to unleash the holiday hordes. As a result, the station was #1 6+ for the ninth book in a row (7.4-10.1). It fell just a bit short of last year’s 10.5 share. KQED INC. Public Radio KQED remained at #2 (6.7-6.6), while AUDACY News KCBS-A was back at #3 (6.5-6.4). BONNEVILLE CHRKMVQ (99.7 NOW) repeated at #4 as it ended a strong four-book surge (6.2-5.7). UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA Classical KDFC authored its best performance since FEBRUARY (2.9-3.9) as it rose from #11 to #5. AUDACY Alternative KITS (LIVE 105) dipped to #6 (4.5-3.8). KOIT’s cume was up by 16.4% as it continued to have the most listeners (1.045,500-1,216,900). The market was up 0.6%.

KOIT has been #1 25-54 for over a year and the station continued that streak as it landed in double-digit territory. KMVQ was at #2 for the fifth book in a row with a small decrease. iHEARTMEDIA Rhythmic CHR KMEL and KITS had been tied at #4. KMEL stepped up to #3 with a solid increase, while KITS remained in place with a slight decrease. KQED repeated at #5 as it gave back most of last month’s large share increase.

Not only was KOIT still riding its long 18-34 winning streak, but the station also hit double figures for the tenth time in the last 14 surveys. KITS was back at #2 but with a modest share loss. It was tied with KMEL, which moved up from #3 with a small decrease. KMVQ repeated at #4 but ended a strong two-book surge. iHEARTMEDIA CHR KYLD (WiLD 94.9) returned as the #5 station with a small increase. It was joined in that space by CUMULUS Classic Rock KSAN (107.7 THE BONE), which was launched from #13 with its best outing in over a year. AUDACY Hot AC KLLC (ALICE @ 97.3) slid from #5 into a three-way tie at #8 with iHEARTMEDIA Adult Hits KOSF (103.7FM 80’S+) and iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KIOI (STAR 101.3).

It’s not like KOIT needs the help as the station continued its long-running streak of #1 18-49 books with another double-digit performance. KMVQ repeated at #2 but returned a substantial portion of last month’s rather large increase. KMEL moved up to #3 with its highest score since JULY. KITS dipped to #4 as it ended a solid three-book surge. KQED stepped down to #5 and was paired with KIOI, which arrived from #8.


The home of the holiday hits designation went to iHEARTMEDIA AC KDGE (STAR 102.1).  The station made its move on day one of the survey, and it seemed to have worked as it turned it up from #11 to #1 6+ (3.5-8.6). It easily beat last year’s 7.1 share. CUMULUS Sports KTCK (1310 & 96.7 THE TICKET) stepped down to #2 with its first down book since AUGUST (5.6-5.2). AUDACY Classic Hits KSPF (98.7 THE SPOT) posted its lowest number since MARCH (5.3-4.7) as it dipped to #3. NORTH TEXAS PUBLIC BROADCASTING Public Radio KERA had its best outing in over a year as it moved up two spots to #4 (3.8-4.2). CUMULUS Country KSCS slipped to #5 (4.3-4.1) and was paired with its cluster buddy CUMULUS Country KPLX (99.5 THE WOLF), which advanced from #9 (3.6-4.1). TELEVISAUNIVISION Mexican Regional KLNO (QUÉ BUENA 94.1) fell four slots to #7 with its smallest share since MAY (4.7-4.0). KDGE became the market’s cume leader, thanks to a 36.2% increase (964,700-1,314,000). The market shrank by 2.2%.

KDGE nearly doubled last month’s 25-54 share as it rode the sleigh from #10 to #1. KTCK finished in second place for the sixth straight survey with a slight decrease. This stopped the five-book winning streak for KLNO, which dropped to #3. AUDACY Adult Hits KJKK (100.3 JACK FM) moved up two slots to #4 with its best outing in over a year. Three stations were huddled together at #5. KSCS and iHEARTMEDIA CHR KHKS (106.1 KISS FM) slipped from #3 and #4, respectively. KPLX had its best book in over a year as it advanced from #8. AUDACY Sports KRLD (105.3 THE FAN) slid three places to #8 as it ended a six-book surge. It was partnered with AUDACY Alternative KVIL (ALT 103.7).

KDGE did more than double its previous 18-34 share as it rocketed from #12 to #1. KJKK drafted KDGE as it rose from #8 to #2 with its largest share in over a year. KHKS dipped to #3 as it returned all of last month’s solid increase. KLNO had its five-book winning snapped as it slipped from #1 to #4. KSCS and KVIL had been tied at #3 but fell to #5 and #7, respectively. In between was KPLX, which stepped down from #5.

Completing the demo sweep, KDGE rose from #9 to #1 18-49. KLNO saw its six-book winning streak come to a halt as it stepped down to #2. KJKK was up three places to #3, again with its best performance in over a year. KSCS slipped to #4 with a slight decrease, while KPLX advanced six spaces to #5 with a solid share gain. KSPF and KHKS exited the top five and landed together at #6. KVIL dropped from #3 into a tie at #8 with KTCK.

We must now take a pause in order to dash through some snow – a phrase that had a much different connotation in the ’80s. However, we will be back shortly with more ratings hoo-ha. Make sure you don’t miss our next adventure by subscribing to our blog here. Feel free to share.

As always, The Ratings Experts from RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. stand ready to help you grow your ratings and revenue. Stay tuned for round two featuring HOUSTON, ATLANTA, WASHINGTON D.C., PHILADELPHIA and BOSTON

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant

About XTrends: XTrends reveals the trends and stories buried in your ratings data. To maximize your investment in Nielsen, learn more here.

About Research Director, Inc.: Research Director, Inc. is based in Annapolis, Maryland. We help radio stations’ programming and sales departments maximize the value of their research. For more information, visit www.ResearchDirectorInc.com, call 410-295-6619, or e-mail info@ResearchDirectorInc.com or sallan@ResearchDirectorInc.com.