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RADIO RATINGS ROUNDUP, February 2024, Part I

March 18, 2024

So let’s address the elephant in the room. No, we’re not going to correct those folks who continue to call it Daylight Savings time. This is much more important than that. As we embark on our monthly foray into the latest NIELSEN numbers, it is vitally important that the current survey is pronounced correctly.

This is the FEBRUARY book. Note the placement of the “r” in that word. At the risk of dredging up horrible memories from phonetics class, the correct pronunciation is FEB-ROO-ARY. It is not FEB-YOU-ARY or FEH-BOO-WARY. These things are important (especially if you’re on the air somewhere).

The Ratings Experts from RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. – in a tight-knit grouping with the wunderkind from XTRENDS – are here for the month previously mentioned. It ran from FEBRUARY 1ST through FEBRUARY 28TH, thereby covering all but that pesky leap day. It featured yet another federally mandated weekend, a hallmark holiday and (hopefully) the complete return to the norm of radio listening patterns. Let’s do this…

NEW YORK: Win, Place & Show

The top three selections in the recent 6+ ratings draft all went to a single cluster. Leading the way, as usual, was iHEARTMEDIA AC WLTW (106.7 LITE FM), which had its best Frosty-free share since NOVEMBER (7.7-8.4). iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock WAXQ (Q104.3) was at #2 for the thirteenth book in a row and with its highest number since JULY (6.6-6.9). iHEARTMEDIA Pop CHR WHTZ (Z100) inched up to #3 with its highest score since MAY (5.5-5.6). NEW YORK PUBLIC RADIO N/T WNYC landed its largest share in over a year (4.5-4.7) to vault from #7 to #4. It narrowly defeated a pair of stations at #5. MEDIACO Urban AC WBLS remained in place (4.8-4.6), while AUDACY Classic Hits WCBS slid from #3 as it returned most of last month’s huge increase (6.2-4.6). WLTW still had the most listeners (3,423,200-3,578,100) – a 4.5% increase. The market was up by 1.4%.

There were minor share adjustments among the 25-54 leaders, but they did alter the rankings. WLTW and WHTZ were tied at #1 last month. A flat WLTW retained the crown, while WHTZ dipped to #2 with the smallest of share losses. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC WKTU had its best book in over a year to step up to #3. SBS Spanish Tropical WSKQ (MEGA 97.9) moved up to #4 with a slight increase, while a flat WAXQ advanced one square to #5. WCBS fell from #3 to #8 with its smallest share in over a year.

WLTW was #1 18-34 for the tenth book in a row and hit double figures for the seventh time during that span. It held about a four-share lead over the rest of the field. The next three stations were separated by the smallest of margins. WKTU stepped up to #2 with its highest mark since SEPTEMBER, while WHTZ dipped to #3 but with its best outing in over a year. WAXQ was the demo co-leader last month, but it slid to #4. Moving up to #5 was WSKQ, which posted its best score since AUGUST. WCBS fell from #5 into a tie at #9 with WBLS.

Last month WLTW had its long 18-49 winning streak come to an end. This time the station rebounded with a solid increase as it rose from #3 to #1. WHTZ repeated at #2 with a slight increase, while WKTU advanced three spaces to #3 with a solid share gain. A flat WAXQ stepped up to #4, while WSKQ moved down to #5 as it ended a strong three-book surge. WCBS had been the demo leader, but it dropped to #7 this survey.

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LOS ANGELES: Sharing Is Caring

There was a bit of kumbaya atop the 6+ leaderboard. iHEARTMEDIA AC KOST was #1 for the fourth book in a row (7.0-6.0), but it was not alone. AUDACY Classic Hits KRTH (K-EARTH 101) moved up to claim a share of the lead (6.2-6.0). iHEARTMEDIA N/T KFI-A repeated at #3 (5.5-5.4), while iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KBIG (104.3 MYFM) stepped up to #4 as it shook off the holiday blues (4.6-5.0). AUDACY Rhythmic AC KTWV (94.7 THE WAVE) dipped to #5 as it returned most of last month’s large increase (5.0-4.3). It was cheek-by-jowl with iHEARTMEDIA Pop CHR KIIS (102.7 KISS FM), which moved up a spot (4.3-4.3). KOST continued to control the cume, despite a 3.2% decrease (2,245,000-2,173,200). The market was off a scant 0.1%.

Though it was off slightly, KOST was the #1 25-54 station for the fourth straight survey. KBIG was up two places to #2 with a solid increase. It narrowly edged KRTH, which dipped to #3 with a down book. A flat KIIS stepped down to #4, while an equally flat TELEVISAUNIVISION Spanish Contemporary KLVE (K-LOVE 107.5) inched up to #5. AUDACY Adult Hits KCBS (93.1 JACK FM) dipped to #6 with a small share loss.

We’re sensing a trend here as KOST was #1 18-34 for the, yup, fourth book in a row. The station was off slightly but maintained about a half share lead over KIIS, which repeated at #2 as it ended a six-book surge. KBIG was back at #3, while KCBS moved up to #4. Both stations had small share losses. KRTH dipped to #5 and was tied with AUDACY Alternative KROQ. Both stations had down books.

KOST completed the demo sweep as it rose from #3 to #1 18-49 with its best Frosty-free share in over a year. It owned a slim margin over KBIG, which advanced to #2 with a strong share increase. KRTH slid from first to third as it halted a strong two-book surge. KIIS also fell two places, landing at #4 with its fourth consecutive down book. Two stations moved up and into a tie at #5. KLVE had been at #6 while iHEARTMEDIA Alternative KYSR (ALT 98.7) was previously in residence at #7. Both stations had slight decreases. KCBS had its first down book since SEPTEMBER as it slipped from #5 to #8.

CHICAGO: Taking The Fifth

iHEARTMEDIA AC WLIT (93.9 LITE FM) made it five 6+ wins in a row – and 13 of the last 14 (6.9-6.7). However, the object in its mirror was closer than it appeared as HUBBARD Classic Rock WDRV (97.1FM THE DRIVE) motored up to #2 with its highest mark since NOVEMBER (5.8-6.6). AUDACY News WBBM-A stepped down to #3 as it returned a decent portion of last month’s large increase (6.2-5.4). The station did gain an additional 0.3 share from its stream. The next two stations were flat and stationary. iHEARTMEDIA Urban AC WVAZ (V103) repeated at #4 (5.1-5.1), while AUDACY AAA WXRT was back at #5 (5.0-5.0). Despite a 5.4% drop, WLIT still had the most cume (1,370,500-1,296,200). The market grew by 1.4%.

TELEVISAUNIVISION Mexican Regional WOJO (QUÉ BUENA 105.1) made it back-to-back 25-54 wins, thanks to a slight share increase. WLIT was back at #2 with a solid share gain but remained about a share off the lead. WXRT repeated at #3 with a slight decrease, while WDRV cruised up to #4 with its highest score in exactly a year. A flat AUDACY Country WUSN (US99) dipped to #5.

For the eighth time in the last nine surveys, WOJO was #1 18-34. WUSN was up two slots to #2 with a slight increase but trailed the leader by better than two shares. iHEARTMEDIA Pop CHR WKSC (103.5 KISS FM) rose to #3 with its best showing in over a year. WLIT slipped two spots to #4 with its smallest share since JULY. It was parked next to WDRV, which advanced from #10 with its best book since JUNE. iHEARTMEDIA Urban Contemporary WGCI dropped from the tie at #2 into a tie at #6 with WVAZ.

Despite a slight decrease, WOJO was back at #1 18-49. This was the tenth time the station has accomplished that feat over the last 14 books. WLIT repeated at #2 with a small increase, while WDRV vaulted from a tie #7 to #3 with its highest mark in over a year. iHEARTMEDIA Mainstream Rock WCHI (ROCK 95.5) dipped to #4 with a slight decrease. WUSN remained at #5 and was paired with AUDACY Rhythmic Oldies WBMX (104.3 JAMS), which moved up from the tie at #7. WGCI slid from #4 into a five-way tie at #9.

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SAN FRANCISCO: Fearsome Foursome

The top four 6+ stations were well clear of the rest of the market. The continuing leader was BONNEVILLE AC KOIT, which had its best Frosty-free share since MAY (8.6-8.7). KQED INC N/T KQED had its fifth straight second place finish (7.9-7.6), while AUDACY News KCBS-A was back at #3, also for the fifth book in a row (6.6-6.7). BONNEVILLE Pop CHR KMVQ (99.7 NOW) rounded out the market dominant quartet by remaining at #4 for the sixth straight survey (6.2-6.1). iHEARTMEDIA Soft AC KISQ (98.1 THE BREEZE) had its best showing since SEPTEMBER (3.6-4.6) as it jumped from #8 to #5. iHEARTMEDIA AC KIOI (STAR 101.3) dipped to #6 (4.2-3.7). KOIT still had the most listeners (1,227,900-1,226,700) – a mere 0.1% decrease. The market shrank by 1.9%.

In this demo, three stations separated themselves from the rest of the field. KOIT was #1 as usual but with its lowest mark since SEPTEMBER. Still, it led #2 KMVQ by almost two shares. KISQ landed its largest share since JUNE to rise from #8 to a solid #3. It was a share and a half ahead of iHEARTMEDIA Rhythmic CHR KMEL, which repeated at #4 with a slight decrease. Two stations moved up and laid claim to the #5 position. AUDACY Alternative KITS (LIVE 105) had been at #6 and had a slight decrease. SBS Mexican Regional KRZZ (93.3 LA RAZA) advanced from #7 with a small increase. KQED fell four places to #7 as it gave back most of last month’s large increase. KIOI dropped from #5 to #8 and was paired with CUMULUS Classic Rock KSAN (107.7 THE BONE).

For the tenth time in the last 14 surveys, KOIT was both #1 and in double digits 18-34. KMVQ moved up to #2 with its best book in over a year and still trailed the leader by more than five shares. KMEL stepped down to #3 with a noticeable loss of share. KRZZ repeated at #4 with a slight increase, while KITS remained at #5 as it halted a three-book slide.

So KOIT had its lowest 18-49 share since SEPTEMBER. So what? The station was still #1 and led KMVQ – which again landed its best book in over a year – by more than a share. KISQ vaulted from #9 to #3 with its highest mark since JUNE. KRZZ inched up to #4, also with its best performance in over a year. KMEL dipped to #5 with a slight decrease. KIOI fell from #3 to #7 as it returned most of last month’s huge share increase.

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DALLAS-FT. WORTH:  Feeling Compressed

The top of the 6+ leaderboard was tightly compacted with the top four stations in a virtual tie. Virtual but not mathematical. CUMULUS Sports KTCK (1310 & 96.7 THE TICKET) repeated at #1 (5.6-4.9) but it was not alone. TELEVISAUNIVISION Regional Mexican KLNO (QUÉ BUENA 94.1) had its best book since OCTOBER (4.3-4.9) as it advanced from #5 to forge a share of the lead. The two stations at #3 were a heartbeat away from the lead. SERVICE Urban AC KRNB (SMOOTH R&B 105.7) moved down a spot (4.7-4.8), while iHEARTMEDIA AC KDGE (STAR 102.1) stepped up from #4 with its best Frosty-free share in over a year (4.5-4.8). SALEM AC KLTY leapt from #8 to #5 as it bounced back from a down book (3.8-4.3). AUDACY Classic Hits KSPF (98.7 THE SPOT) fell four places to #6 (4.7-4.2). KDGE was the cume leader for the fourth book in a row (1,020,600-1,060,700 – a 3.9% increase. The market rose by 3.0%.

There was quite the commotion in the 25-54 ranks this survey. KLNO ascended to the throne with a solid increase, while KTCK dipped to #2 with a solid decrease. A flat AUDACY Alternative KVIL (ALT 103.7) stepped up to #3, while iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KDMX (MIX 102.9) soared from #12 to #4 with its best outing in over a year. KDGE rose from #9 to #5 with a slight increase. It held the slimmest of leads over three stations clumped together at #6. CUMULUS Country KSCS slipped from #3 as it returned all of last month’s strong increase. It was partnered with NORTH TEXAS PUBLIC RADIO N/T KERA and iHEARTMEDIA Pop CHR KHKS (106.1 KISS FM). KRNB dropped from #5 to #9 as it ended a strong three-book surge. It was tied with AUDACY Adult Hits KJKK (100.3 JACK FM).

For the first time since JUNE, KHKS was #1 18-34. The station moved up from #4 with its highest score in exactly a year. However, it was forced to share the stage with KLNO, which stepped up from #2. KVIL had been the demo leader, but it slipped to #3 despite a slight increase. It was about a half-share off the pace. KDGE moved down to #4 with a slight decrease while three stations were hanging out at #5. KSCS remained in place as it returned about half of last month’s big increase. A flat KDMX stepped up from #6, while CUMULUS Country KPLX (99.5 THE WOLF) advanced from #8 with its best book in over a year.

KLNO repeated as the 18-49 leader with its largest share since OCTOBER. KDGE was back at #2 with its best Frosty-free share in over a year. KVIL stepped up to #3 with a small increase, while KDMX was up to #4, also with its best showing in over a year. KHKS advanced from #9 to #5 with a solid increase, while two stations exited the top five. AUDACY Mexican Regional KMVK (LA GRANDE 107.5) fell from #2 to #6 as it surrendered a good portion of last month’s huge increase. KSCS slid three places to #7.

If you used to read this screed when it was on ALL ACCESS and you have radio friends who do not know it is now here, please share this with them.

We don’t spam or sell lists. We just focus on our passion – radio.

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant

Stay tuned for round two featuring HOUSTON, ATLANTA, WASHINGTON D.C., PHILADELPHIA and BOSTON

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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.