I had a conversation with a radio station general manager once…my boss. He wasn’t comfortable with the changes I was making to better our station. The station had a big, high powered signal and a modest four share. I said to him, “Given the power and size of the signal, I’ll need to think about how to take it lower than a four share.”
Lucky for me the changes worked. As my wife is one to say, “You sure were a “ballsy” individual back then.” I guess I have mellowed with age.
Over the past few months I have pointed out the issues with the “news/talk” radio format. Issues few want to acknowledge or accept. An aging and irrelevant format, self-important hosts with the same tired narrative each day, babbling about politics, Benghazi and the Kenyan national elected to the Presidency – twice.
Most people in the industry seem to be happy ignoring data, staying with the status quo or as an executive with Premiere Networks once said to me during a conversation about the declining ratings of Limbaugh, Hannity and others, “Hey I just want to pay off my mortgage.”
So how low can “news/talk” radio take its Nielsen ratings? It’s almost as if executives are meeting and strategizing a plan to see who can take shares lower.
Let’s take a peek behind the curtain of “talk radio” in New York City, the biggest city in America. Vibrant, cutting edge, the place where trends start in this country. Money, power, wealth, entertainment, diversity. The Big Apple.
New York City is market number one with 16,033,100 people. 2,724,700 or 17% of the population is African-American. 3,802,300 or 24% of the people are Hispanic.
Media and advertising generally focuses on the persons 25-54 demographic. The MONEY demo. Success or failure in media is determined by this age group.
So how we lookin’ in Gotham’s morning drive? Not good.
First we need to separate out the genre’s of talk, pulling NPR stations, sports talk stations and All News stations out of the mix. NPR’s WNYC-FM does very well and is the leading “news/talk” station in morning drive, but it’s not a commercial station.
This leaves us with only commercial “news/talk” stations, the ones that sell commercials mostly to buy overpriced gold coins and to reach men who have a problem keeping a “stiffy.”
Do you know what the leading commercial “news/talk” station in morning drive is? Read on.
For definition we are talking about New York City Metro, September 2014 PPM Nielsen ratings, persons 25-54 in the Monday through Friday 6am-10am day part (morning drive), English speaking stations only.
WABC-AM and WOR-AM, each heritage stations in the market, are battling for less than a one share in the morning drive day part. Each has under a one half share persons 25-54. Let me say that again.
“UNDER A ONE HALF SHARE.”
WABC-AM with Don Imus. WOR-AM…well…who knows what they’re doing after trying to use a show originating from Washington, D.C. earlier this year. Two mega facilities. 50,000 watt blow torches with under one half shares in morning drive, each tied for #38 in the rankers.
Yes. You too would have to think about how to get it lower than that. Even the coma inducing Bloomberg Radio on WBBR-AM has a higher share and is ranked #32.
The leading commercial “news/talk” radio station in New York City in morning drive?
New Jersey 101.5. Trenton, New Jersey. A station that proudly shouts at every opportunity they are NOT from New York City. New Jersey 101.5 has over a one share persons 25-54 in morning drive, ranking them at #22.
81% of the “news/talk” format listening in morning drive in New York City comes from two stations. WNYC-FM and WKXW-FM, one an NPR station…the other from Trenton. Freaking Trenton!
According to Jerry Del Colliano’s Inside Music Media there’s a rumor WOR-AM maybe switching over to the Premiere Networks’ Fox Sports Radio. If true that would mean moving Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others back to WABC-AM, if they’d take them, and
Clear Channel iHeart Media abandoning the “news/talk” format in America’s biggest city.
These are tough days to be a conservative talk radio host. It’s almost as if Limbaugh, Hannity and the rest are modern day Lt. Philip Nolan’s, adrift at sea with no country to call home.
Come to think of it they are, albeit not guilty of treason. But, because the world changed and many in the “talk radio” industry refuse to acknowledge and accept it.
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