Report: Going all-Yule pays off on the ratings list

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By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioWhen the fall ratings book was released earlier this month, there was some interesting numbers to note.

Among all radio listeners, news-talk WJR-AM (760) finished on top followed by adult urban WMXD-FM (92.3), soft rock WNIC-FM (100.3), urban WJLB-FM (97.9) and news WWJ-AM (950).

WNIC again benefited from their all-Christmas marathon, but its numbers declined year-to-year, likely because of the competition from rival WMGC-FM (105.1), which also did the all-Yule thing. It’s pretty clear though that WNIC benefits from being the heritage Christmas station; in the key age 25-54 demographic, they finished second, well ahead of WMGC’s 14th place.

In the urban formats, the Clear Channel-owned combo of WMXD and WJLB easily outscored Radio One’s urban WHTD-FM (105.9) and urban oldies WDMK-FM (102.7) by claiming more than twice as many age 25-54 listeners. WMXD was the most popular station overall among 25-54 year olds.

Pop WDVD-FM (96.3) moved into the Top 5 among those 25-54s, a jump from 10th place in the summer, finishing tied with its sister station, variety hits WDRQ-FM (93.1). That’s good news for two solid stations that don’t get nearly enough ink in this column.

Sports WXYT-FM/AM (97.1/1270) scored a 2.6 rating combined among all listeners, putting the station well ahead of competitor WDFN-AM (1130), which finished with a 1.0. Among men, ages 25-54, WXYT finished a strong second overall. The move to FM seems to have paid off with many new listeners at least sampling the offering — the question now is will those listeners stick around?

New operations manager Tom Bigby will be tasked with keeping those ears — and he has at least one fan in town. Former rock W4 program director Donald Schuster writes, “Tom, in my opinion, was one of the best disc jockeys ever in Detroit. He was here in the WXYZ 1270 Radio 1970’s era which (also) included Dick Purtan, Johnny Randall and Joe Sasso. I remember him well as one of my favorites. He was upbeat, smooth, energyforward, relatable, comfortable ... really very, very good. I can never hear the name of Tom Bigby without remembering him well as one of the best.”

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Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison of classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) will be taking to the airways for 15 consecutive hours starting at 6 a.m. on Thursday, with the help of local survivors to raise money for Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. To date, JJ & Lynne’s WCSX radiothon has helped support the agency to the tune of nearly $2.9 million.

One leukemia survivor from Royal Oak, 22-year-old Jessica Carty, was originally interviewed while still undergoing treatment and is one of the survivors who agreed to tell their story.

“It’s really important to me to give back. What we went through as a family was horrible, but CLF was there for all of us. I feel like part of the family there. I don’t think we would have made it through as well as we did without CLF’s support.”

The radiothon will include opportunities to bid on unique experiences, items and auction packages such as sitting in the studio with JJ & Lynne or hearing your MyTunes playlist on WCSX. A list of radiothon-related events and auction items as well as instructions on how to bid can be found at www.wcsx.com.


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WEXL AM (1340) will add former WXYZ-TV Channel 7 anchor Frank Turner beginning Feb. 4 for a show that will air from 9:30 a.m.-noon weekdays. While Turner was still employed at Channel 7, he was denied permission from station management to host a radio show on WEXL, but wound up leaving television in October 2006.

With both parties now both available, “The Frank Turner Show” expects to focus on everyday life situations through interaction with callers and their issues.

“I’m not a counselor; I’m a coach,” Turner states. “A counselor will tell you what they think, but a coach will show you how to run the plays that are in the book — my play book is the Bible.”

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I actually was disappointed in the lack of commercials from presidential candidates on the radio. According to Media Monitors, the top radio advertiser in Detroit from Jan. 7-13 was the Michigan Lottery with 860 advertisements. That was well ahead of Mitt Romney’s 39 radio spots, John McCain’s 51, and Mike Huckabee’s 64. You couldn’t escape seeing Romney and McCain on TV — so why the disservice to radio listeners?

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Don’t forget to head down to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show this week to see how many radio stations you can find actually broadcasting live. Even though I still hope that Radio Row makes a comeback, tight budgets and even tighter space restrictions at Cobo Arena make my hopes nothing more than a dream. As a kid and young adult, I still remember being as excited to see all those radio station tables and booths lined up as I was to see the cars.

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Set your dial: Organist R. Jelani Eddington will be featured by “Somewhere in Time” host Tom Wilson at 6 p.m. on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560) … Jazz of the mid-late 40s and early 50s is featured by Ed Love at 8 p.m. on WDET-FM (101.9) … Judy Adams will present a live-ontape performance from the Detroit-based contemporary Jazz group The Tom Stoepker Quintet at 11 p.m. on WVMVFM (98.7).

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Mike Austerman is the founder of Michiguide.com and has covered radio for The Oakland Press since 2001.


Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, January 20, 2008

 

1 Comments

The only questions I have with the all-Yule format are:

1) how much do the numbers degrade when the station goes back to its regular programing after the holidays and

b) of what value is a ratings book taken in a period that doesn't reflect the performance of a station the other 10 months of the year....

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on January 20, 2008 11:16 AM.

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