Radio briefs: Rock rules May ratings; Herbie Hancock headlines 91.9/WCLK concert; Bruno Mars tops local airplay

This was posted on Monday, June 19, 2017 by Rodney Ho/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The May Atlanta radio ratings indicate the Who, the Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi are still as powerful a force as they were decades ago on the airwaves. The two rock stations catering to that style of music both had their best months ever.

97.1/The River, which plays rock from the late 1960s through the early 1990s, had its most robust ratings month in the eight years since the current Nielsen Audio ratings system was instituted with a 6.7 rating, landing at No. 2 overall. The station's previous best was 6.5 in June of 2013. A year ago, the station drew a 4.3, good for ninth place.

Steve Craig, morning host at the River, said "Millennials are discovering true, live recorded rock music from Led Zeppelin & The Stones to GnR & Tom Petty.  That’s what’s driving our huge 18-34 numbers… the 35-54’s? They already know!"

Rival Rock 100.5, on a weaker signal, also had its best month since its inception in 2008, hitting a 3.2 overall. Its previous high was a 2.9 in July of 2010. Typically in recent years, the station has averaged around a 2 rating. It even made the top 10 among 25 to 54 year olds for the first time ever.

The two stations play many of the same acts: Van Halen, Def Leppard, U2, Billy Idol, AC/DC. But Rock 100.5 rocks harder and includes 1990s and early 2000s grunge like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Puddle of Mudd and Foo Fighters that the River doesn't touch. The River has always had a softer side, with a bit more new wave and hair metal from the 1980s. On Friday, for instance, the station spun Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon," Skid Row's "I Remember You" and The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated."

In the super-crowded arena for black listeners, V-103 was the most popular among all listeners, with a 6.5 rating and Big Tigger at No. 1 in the afternoons. It was also No. 1 overall among 18 to 34 year olds, tied with Hot 107.9, and with 25 to 54 year olds.

Following V-103 with all listeners, Kiss came in fourth with a 6.3, followed by Hot (4.7, fifth), a resurgent Majic  (4.5, tie for sixth place), Praise (4.0, tie for 11th), Old School 87.7 (1.6), OG 97.9 (1.4), Streetz 94.5 (1.3), Boom 102.9 (0.9) and The Beat 92.3/96.7 (0.3).

Among country stations, 94.9/The Bull edged out Kick 101.5 with a rating of 4 to 3.9. The Bull continues to dominate among younger listeners while Kicks wins among older ones. WTSH holds at 1.4.

Among pop stations, Q100 and Power tied for the top spot with a 4.3 rating, just ahead of B98.5 at 4.2. Star lagged behind with a 3.3. Among morning shows, The Bert Show on Q100 led as usual (5.8), followed by PK and Denise on Power 96.1 (3.8), Tad on B98.5 (3.2) and Jeff and Jenn on Star (2.7). With 25 to 54 year olds, Q100 had the highest ratings (5.5), edging out B98.5 (5), Power (4.0) and Star (3.4). In that demo, Bert led the entire market with an 8.2, well ahead of Tad at B98.5 (3.4), PK at Power (3.1) and Jeff and Jenn (2.9). In the 18-34 demo, Power wins (6.8), just ahead of B98.5 (6.4) and Q100 (6.3) with Star at 4.3. Bert also won the 18-34 morning race with a commanding 9.3, ahead of PK at Power (6.8), Tad at B98.5 (5.9) and Jeff and Jenn at Star (3.8)

The sports battle remained about the same. 92.9/The Game slipped a bit from a 2.6 to a 2.5 while 680 and 93.7/The Fan edged up from 1.4 to 1.5.

Kiss, 97.1/The River, B98.5, WTSH, WSB and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are all part of Cox Media Group. 


MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MARCH 18: Musician Herbie Hancock performs on stage at The 12th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival - Day 1 at Hard Rock Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mychal Watts/Getty Images for Jazz in The Gardens Music Festival)

Jazz legend and Grammy winner Herbie Hancock will be headlining a benefit concert for local jazz station WCLK/91.9 October 17 at Atlanta Symphony Hall.

The concert, according to the press release, "is a centerpiece for WCLK’s fundraising efforts to continue providing uninterrupted, quality programming and service to Greater Atlanta."

Special Jazz 91.9 WCLK membership ticket packages will be available during the WCLK Fiscal Year End membership Campaign through Sunday, June 18 at or by calling Pledge Central at: (404) 880 – 8807.  Individual tickets will be available at all Ticketmaster outlets beginning the week of June 19.

The station's ratings peaked at a 1.8 last October but has since slipped to a 0.6 this past May.


LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Musician Bruno Mars during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

I have been following airplay in Atlanta for several years and I've never seen a song as popular as Bruno Mars' "That's What I Like" in terms of Atlanta radio airplay. Across eight radio stations in town, the song has been spun a whopping 524 times this past week, nearly twice as much as the No. 2 song Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," according to data collected by Mediabase 24/7.

"I think he's evolved as an artist that crosses many platforms," said Dave "Hurricane" Smith, program director at Hot 107.9 and operations manager for the entire Radio One Atlanta cluster. "The last 12 months he's received a ton of exposure visually on television shows. The women absolutely love this guy. At this point he can do no wrong this particular song has a sound and feel that fits multiple formats."

Louie Diaz, program director at Q100, echoed Smith: "Recently Kristin from The Bert Show interviewed Bruno Mars and they spoke about how strong his music continues to be in 2017 in all demographics. 'That’s What I Like' is a mass appeal song, on a mass appeal radio station Q100."

Here's the breakdown:

Power 96.1: 125 spins

Q100: 105 spins

Hot 107.9: 94 spins

Star 94.1: 88 spins

Streetz 94.5: 40 spins

Majic: 25 spins

Kiss: 3 spins

Here are the top 10 songs for the week  on Atlanta radio:

1- "That's What I Like" Bruno Mars

2- "Shape of You" Ed Sheeran

3- "Stay" Zedd and Alesia Cara

4- "Say You Won't Let Go" James Arthur

5- "Humble" Kendrick Lamar

6- "Mask Off' Future

7- "It Ain't Me' Kygo and Selena Gomez

8- "I'm the One" DJ Khaled

9- "Thick" OT Genasis

10- "Cold" Maroon 5

CREDIT: Mediabase 24/7


About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.Rodney Ho's Radio & TV Talk blog (new) | Recent archiveSports...