Radio & TV Talk

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Big news fuel WSB (Trump) and 92.9/The Game (Falcons) to record ratings

This was posted Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Two huge story lines propelled two Atlanta radio stations into the ratings stratosphere in January.

News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB hit a whopping 10.7 rating last month, fueled by Donald Trump. The entire day-time line-up pulled in double-digit ratings in January: Scott Slade (11.1), Herman Cain (13), Eric Von Haessler (14 in his debut month), Rush Limbaugh (a stunning 15.4), Sean Hannity (13.2) and Erick Erickson (12).

The 10.7 is the station's best monthly rating since current measurement systems were installed in 2009.

"What is really extraordinary is that many of our talk shows are No. 1 with women 25-54  including Sean Hannity and Eric Von Haessler," wrote Pete Spriggs, program director for WSB. "We typically dominate with men, and do pretty well with women...but early in 2017, the women are really giving us a bigger listen."

Robert Unmacht, who tracks radio ratings for RTK Media, said based on the sampling of Nielsen Audio markets nationwide he has received so far, mainstream talk and news stations are benefiting nationwide. Of conservative talkers, Limbaugh has received the biggest boost. Hannity in general has not.

Meanwhile, 92.9/The Game, home of the Atlanta Falcons, nabbed its biggest ratings in its four-year history with a 4.4 rating with strong numbers in all major dayparts. The first four weeks covered the divisional win over the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC championship win over the Green Bay Packers and some of the lead up to the Super Bowl in early February.

"Good momentum for us to build on," said Rick Caffey, vice president and market manager for CBS Atlanta, which owns the Game, in a pithy email.

The political environment didn't boost fortunes for 90.1/WABE-FM, which had a pretty typical month: a 3.3 rating. Rival 88.5/WRAS-FM had its best month ever with a 1 rating.

NewsRadio 106.7's overall ratings were flat at 1.6. But its two mid-day hosts - Shannon Burke and the Kimmer - ranked No. 5 last month among 25 to 54 year olds between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (The station just added a new drive-time host Brian Joyce, replacing news.)

Sports talk 680/The Fan ratings did not shift from its norm with a 1.9.

In other ratings news, the pop race showed B98.5 on top overall (4.8), followed by Q100 (4.2), Star 94.1 (3.7) and Power 96.1 (3.5). The Bert Show remains on top in mornings among the four top 40 stations.

Power is taking the biggest hit lately. In the recent past, it had been the consistent leader among 18 to 34 but landed in fourth last month behind the other three pop stations. Q100 was tops in that demo as well as with 25 to 54 year olds.

Among urban stations, the top-rated are V-103 (6), Kiss (5.5), Hot (4.7) and Majic (4.5). This was Majic's best month since the end of 2015 as the station gains back some listeners at 97.5, which for a few months was Boom. And Steve Hegwood's two stations Streetz 94.5 (1.5) and newcomer Old School 87.7 (1.4) pulled in comparable numbers.

In the country race, Kicks 101.5 (3.8) for the sixth month in a row beat 94.9/The Bull (2.8). The Bull had been the leader for much of the 2013 to 2016 period until Kicks overtook them last fall. The Bull, in fact, had its worst overall month since August, 2011.

The rock stations drew normal ratings compared to the recent past with 97.1/The River on top (4.6), followed by Radio 105.7 (2.7), Rock 100.5 (2.0) and 99X (0.4).

Christian pop station 104.7/The Fish, after a nice boost over the holidays, returned back to a still solid 4.6, in a tie for sixth.  Rival Joy 93.3 on the south side had one of its strongest months ever with a 1.9.

WSB, Kiss, B98.5 and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are all part of Cox Media Group.






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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.