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January 26, 2024

You know what the best thing about this final installment of our ratings review is? We won’t have to deal with SANTA, RUDOLPH and all those other sundry holiday characters for another year. All those songs will be placed in the virtual Rubbermaids in your music vault gathering cyber dust. Unless, of course, you’re that one house in the neighborhood that keeps their lights up all year long. (Clearly you do not have an HOA.)

The Ratings Experts from RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC with essential assistance from data thaumaturges from XTRENDS (We will pause while you click over to Google) take you once more into the breach of the HOLIDAY survey. It began on DECEMBER 7TH and concluded on JANUARY 3RD. For those keeping score at home, that meant 19 of the 28 rated days were in seasonal mode.


This market was lousy with holiday-infused radio stations. Four made the switch; three made the grade. COX MEDIA Soft AC WDUV (105.5 THE DOVE) was the first to flip and remained #1 6+ (8.2-13.3). Last year it posted a 11.4 share. iHEARTMEDIA AC WMTX (MIX 100.7) went a few days later and moved from #6 to #2 (5.1-6.5). It landed a 7.4 share last year. COX MEDIA Classic Hits WXGL (107.3 THE EAGLE) repeated at #3 (5.5-5.4). The last station to join the merry gentlemen was RADIO TRAINING Christian Contemporary WCIE (THE JOY FM). It rose from #7 to #4 (5.0-5.2). Last year’s share was a 5.9. BEASLEY Classic Hits WRBQ (Q105) held steady at #5 (5.3-5.0). Two stations exited the top five. BEASLEY Country WQYK fell four places to #6 with its lowest mark since AUGUST (5.7-4.9). iHEARTMEDIA Country WFUS (US 103.5) dropped six slots to #9 with its smallest share in over a year (5.5-3.9). All three kings of the season saw strong cume growth. WDUV was still #1 with a 25.0% increase (547,100-683,900). WMTX moved up to #2 with a 29.0% gain (386,800-499,000). WCIE added 10.9% to its previous total (239,600-265,700). The market was off by 0.4%.

Santa certainly shook up the 25-54 ranks. WDUV followed RUDOLPH’s lead as it jumped from #9 to #1, edging out last year’s share in the process. WMTX was up two places to #2 but fell short of last year’s number. WQYK ended its two-book victory parade as it slipped to #3. A flat BEASLEY Rhythmic CHR WLLD (WiLD 94.1) stepped up to #4. It was paired with WCIE, which advanced from #10. A year ago, the station only made it to #14. COX MEDIA Talk WHPT (102.5 THE BONE) fell from #2 to #6 with its lowest score in exactly a year. It was tied with iHEARTMEDIA Album Oriented Rock WXTB. WFUS dropped from #3 to #13.

WDUV moved up to #1 18-34 with a double-digit performance.  WMTX was up but stepped down to #2. Both stations fell just short of last year’s scores. WLLD rebounded from a down book to move up to #3, while WQYK inched up to #4 with a small share gain. WCIE was up two slots to #5. Last year it was #12. Four stations were huddled together at #6. COX MEDIA Urban AC WTBV (101.5 THE VIBE) slid from #3, while COX MEDIA AC WWRM (MAGIC 94.9) dropped from #4. WFUS leveled up from #7 with a decrease, and WXTB moved up from #9 with a small increase.

WDUV hit double figures 18-49 as it stepped up to #1. It also crushed last year’s final score. WMTX was up to #2 and also well ahead of last year’s pace. WQYK stood alone at #3 but with its best book in over a year. WLLD dipped to #4 with a slight decrease. WCIE advanced from #10 to #5. It was sitting at #16 last season. WFUS’ two-book winning streak ground to a halt as it fell into a tie at #7 with WWRM.


Three stations changed to the holly-infused format but only one had any impact. BONNEVILLE AC KOSI was back at #1 6+ (10.1-16.5). This was noticeably better than last year’s 14.4 performance. BEASLEY Country KYGO returned at #2 (5.9-5.6), while KSE VENTURES Hot AC KIMN (MIX 100) repeated at #3 while ending a three-book surge (5.7-5.3). iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock KRFX (103.5 THE FOX) slyly held steady at #4 (5.2-4.8). iHEARTMEDIA Alternative KTCL (CHANNEL 93.3) was up two slots to #5 (4.2-4.4). KSE VENTURES Classic Hits KXKL (KOOL 105) dipped to #6 with its smallest share in a year (5.0-4.1). KOSI remained the cume commander with a 26.9% increase (595,900-756,000). The market rose 0.1%.

KOSI repeated as the #1 25-54 station and hit double digits. It beat last year’s number by a half share. KTCL remained at #2 as it regained some of last month’s big share loss. KRFX stepped up to #3, while KYGO advanced to #4. Both stations had their best books since SEPTEMBER. KIMN slid to #5 as it returned about half of last month’s huge increase. Last month EMF Christian Contemporary KLDV (K-LOVE) and ENTRAVISION Spanish Adult Hits KJMN (LA SUAVECITA 92.1) were tied at #6. They continued that arrangement for this book.

The 18-34 crowd was certainly in the holiday spirit as KOSI remained #1 with a huge share increase. It easily outdistanced last year’s number and was bigger than the two stations tied at #2. A flat KIMN moved up a spot, while iHEARTMEDIA Adult Alternative KBCO advanced from #4 with its best showing since JUNE. KTCL slipped to #4 with its lowest total in over a year. It was accompanied by AUDACY Rhythmic CHR KQKS (KS 107.5), which remained in place with a slight decrease.

Though KOSI was unable to match last year’s 18-49 share, the station kept its lead and landed in double-digit territory. KTCL regained some of last month’s share loss to repeat at #2, while KIMN held firm at #3, despite giving back some of last month’s massive share increase. A flat KYGO stayed in place at #4. Two stations moved up and into a tie at #5. KJMN had been at #7 and had a small increase, while KRFX arrived from #8 as it halted a four-book slide. KXKL and KBCO carried their partnership from #5 to #7.

SAN DIEGO: Christmas Kicks A—

AUDACY AC KYXY dominated the 6+ sphere with its second #1 book in a row (7.8-12.5). It did not quite measure up to last year’s 13.6 share. The next three stations held their rank but posted their lowest scores in exactly a year. AUDACY Classic Hits KXSN (SUNNY 98.1) was #2 (7.6-6.3), while LOCAL MEDIA Rhythmic AC XHRM (MAGIC 92.5) was #3 (6.1-5.4). Coming in at #4 again was SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY N/T KPBS (5.9-4.7). The next two stations switched places. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KMYI (STAR 94.1) had its best outing since JULY (3.4-4.6) as it vaulted from #11 to #5. AUDACY Country KSON had its smallest share in a year (5.6-3.4) as it fell from #5 to #11. KYXY took the cume lead with a 35.2% increase (469,400-634,600). The market fell by 0.7%.

KYXY remained the 25-54 leader as it smashed through the double-digit barrier. It also just beat last year’s share. KMYI ignored all the holiday hoopla as it catapulted from #9 to #2 with its highest mark in over a year. XHRM repeated at #3, while iHEARTMEDIA Album Oriented Rock KIOZ stepped up to #4, despite a slight decrease. LOCAL MEDIA CHR XHTZ (Z90.3) rebounded from last month’s big loss to jump from #10 to #5. KXSN fell from #2 to #7 and was paired with TELEVISAUNIVISION Mexican Regional KLNV (QUÉ BUENA 106.5). KSON dropped from #4 to #10 where it met up with AUDACY Sports KWFN (97.3 THE FAN).

KYXY moved from #3 to #1 18-34 but could not duplicate last year’s double-digit performance. Meanwhile, KMYI more than doubled its previous share as it zoomed from #11 to #2. XHRM saw its five-book winning streak come to an end as it drifted down to #3. It was paired with KIOZ, which moved up from #6 with a slight decrease. XHTZ regained all of last month’s lost share to move up three places to #5. iHEARTMEDIA CHR KHTS (CHANNEL 933) landed its lowest share in over a year as it slid from #3 to #6. KSON fell six slots to #8.

KYXY completed the demo sweep as it reached double figures with the 18-49 crowd. It did fall a share short of last year’s number. XHRM was back at #2 but with its lowest score since JUNE, while KMYI jumped from #9 to #3 with its best outing since JULY. XHTZ rebounded nicely from last month’s down book to vault from #11 and also land at #3. KHTS dipped to #5 and was tied with KIOZ. KLNV fell from #3 to #7.

NASSAU-SUFFOLK (LONG ISLAND): The Christmas Conflict

Listeners in this market were able to choose from two flavors of holiday tunage. Clearly, there were two as the two SANTA stations were tied atop the 6+ leaderboard. CONNOISSEUR Hot AC WALK (WALK FM)stepped up from #2 (6.2-9.2). Last year it posted a 10.7 share. iHEARTMEDIA AC WLTW (106.7 LITE FM) moved up from #3 (5.7-9.2). A year ago it landed a 6.7 share. This ended the ten-book winning streak for COX MEDIA Classic Rock WBAB, which slipped to #3 (6.6-5.2). CONNOISSEUR AC WKJY (K-JOY 98.3) had its fourth up book in a row (4.5-4.6) to advance three squares to #4. iHEARTMEDIA CHR WHTZ (Z100) repeated at #5 (4.8-4.4), while AUDACY Classic Hits WCBS dropped two slots to #6 with its smallest share since APRIL (4.9-3.6). WLTW remained the cume leader with a 39.8% increase (429,600-600,600). WALK was #2 with a 34.9% increase (395,000-532,900). The market grew by 0.7%.

WALK and WLTW were tied at #1 25-54, as well. WALK did not match last year’s double-digit performance while WLTW was better than two shares heftier than last year. WHTZ ended its two-book stay at #1 and landed at #3 with a slight decrease. WBAB stepped down to #4 with its lowest score since FEBRUARY, while WCBS slid three spots to #5. COX MEDIA CHR WBLI moved down to #6 with its lowest mark since JULY.

WALK was the format of choice for the 18-34 crowd as it moved up to #1. Its double-digit performance was strong but not as large as last year’s. WBLI stepped down to #2, which ended its four-book winning streak. A flat WLTW was up to #3 and short of last year’s number. It was paired with WKJY, which dipped from #2 with a small decrease. Also descending from #2 was WHTZ, which stopped at #5 with its lowest total in over a year.

SANTA propelled WALK from #3 to #1 18-49, while WLTW remained at #2. The stations were separated by a bit more than a share. For the last five surveys, WHTZ was the demo leader. The station slipped to #3 with a slight decrease. WBLI dipped to #4, while WBAB stepped up to #5. WCBS fell three places to #6 and was sharing the moment with WKJY, AUDACY News WINS (1010 WINS) and SBS Tropical WSKQ (MEGA 97.9).

CHARLOTTE-GASTONIA-ROCK HILL: The Holiday Conundrum Pa Pum Pum

Here you had a choice. If you didn’t want to hear that horrible Grinch song, you could hope the other station was playing something more palatable. Both stations made the switch near the end of the NOVEMBER survey. BEASLEY AC WKQC (K104.7) was #1 6+ for the second book in a row (7.8-11.2) and just beat last year’s 11.0 share. iHEARTMEDIA Adult Hits WLKO (102.9 THE LAKE) moved up to #2 and matched last year’ score (6.5-8.3). BEASLEY Urban AC WBAV (V101.9) stepped down to #3 (7.1-7.2), while URBAN ONE Urban AC WOSF (105.3 RnB) inched up to #4 (5.9-5.8). BEASLEY Urban Contemporary WPEG (POWER 98) regained all of last month’s share loss to jump from #10 to #5 (4.7-5.6). The SANTA stations were on top of the cume chart. WKQC repeated as the leader with a 35.5% increase (391,200-529,900). WLKO moved up to #2 with a 39.2% gain (359,800-500,700). The market was down by 0.9%.

Santa ruled the 25-54 roost. WKQC repeated at #1, hit double figures and beat last year’s number. WLKO was up two places to #2 and outdistanced last year’s tally. WPEG dipped to #3 with a small decrease, while WOSF stepped up to #4 as it halted a two-book slide. BEASLEY Country WSOC landed its lowest number since APRIL as it slid from #2 to #5.

WKQC absolutely dominated the 18-34 space. The station was in double-digits again and came close to doubling last year’s share. WLKO stepped up to #2 but was half as strong as the leader. WBAV stood alone at #3 with a solid increase. Last month WSOC was in double figures. This time it was not as it drifted from #2 to #4. iHEARTMEDIA Country WKKT (96.9 THE KAT) held steady at #5 as it got back some of last month’s large share loss.

Both holiday hits beat last year’s total. WKQC was #1 and in double digits, while WLKO advanced three places to #2. The stations were almost four shares apart. WBAV slipped to #3 with a slight decrease and was tied with WOSF, which stepped up from #4 with a slight increase. WSOC dropped from a tie at #2 to #5 with its smallest share since MARCH.

We can finally pack away all the HOLIDAY references. Thank you for playing along. And to think we’re less than four weeks away from the JANUARY data.

Make sure you – and everyone you know –  don’t miss our next adventure by subscribing to our blog here. And if you have any comments, suggestions or complaints, just send us an e-mail.

– Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant

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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.