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WCBS, WABC Up; Lite, KTU, Z-100 Down
in Fall Arbitron Ratings

Monday, January 8, 2001

     The Fall, 2000 Arbitron radio ratings covering the months of October, November, and December were released on Monday, January 8th.

     Once again, Lite-FM (WLTW, 106.7) retains the overall lead, but by the narrowest of margins.  It slips this quarter from a 6.1 audience share in the Summer, 2000 book to a 5.6 share, its weakest showing since Spring, 1999.  Lite-FM has lost its #1 position for afternoons, and has also lost ground in the 25-54 demo. Right behind it is Hot 97 (WQHT, 97.1 FM) with a 5.5 share.  Hot 97 is down 0.2 from the Summer book but is still performing at the high end of its 2-year range.

     Of concern to hit music programmers are the substantial declines at Z-100 (WHTZ, 100.3 FM) and WKTU (103.5 FM).  Z-100, with a 4.2 share, had its poorest quarter since Fall, 1997.  Its decline from a 4.9 share in the Summer is more than a seasonal dropoff.  WKTU, after a strong Spring and Summer, drops precipitously into 10th place with a 3.5 share, down from 4.3 in the Summer.  KTU has not seen a 3.5 share since its current format was introduced in 1996; it declined especially sharply in the 25-54 demo.

     Of special note this quarter is the performance of WCBS (880 AM), which has cut the lead of WINS (1010 AM) by half.  WCBS, which has not had an "up" quarter since Summer, 1999, was up from 2.3 in the Summer to a 3.0 share.  While coverage of the Bush/Gore post-election factored into the ratings boost, the "big story" did nothing for WINS, which remained flat overall at a 3.7 share but dropped mornings from a 6.7 share in the Summer to a 5.9 share..

     "Up and down" continues to describe the competition for listeners between Kiss-FM (WRKS, 98.7) and WBLS (107.5 FM).  Kiss, with its best showing in a year, regains its lead over WBLS, moving from a 3.3 share in the Summer to a 3.8 share. `BLS lost its Summer point gain by declining 0.3 to a 3.4 share.

     In talk radio, WABC (770 AM) came in with a 3.7 share this quarter, sharply up from a 3.1 share in the Summer, for a fourth consecutive quarterly gain.  Its popular Curtis/Kuby morning show, post-election interest, which led to strong listener gains for midday and afternoon talk shows, and Yankee baseball all contributed to the station`s strong quarter.  WOR (710 AM) was down 0.4 to a 2.6 share, the station`s weakest showing since Winter, 1999.  This period marked WOR`s first quarter without "Rambling with Gambling" since 1925.  Ratings for mornings, which now feature host Ed Walsh, dipped from 3.9 in the Summer in 3.1 this quarter.  Hot talker WNEW-FM (102.7) earned just a 2.0 share overall, but the afternoon Opie & Anthony show rose once more, to a 5.2 share, while middayer Leslie Gold was also up, 0.6 to a 2.6 share.

     Other ratings notes: Jammin` 105 (WTJM, 105.1 FM) appears to be struggling, with a 0.4 drop to a 2.3 share this quarter.  The two-year-old r&b oldies station has been unable to retain either r&b fans or oldies fans.  Q104 (WAXQ, 104.3 FM) has the distinction of being the only Clear Channel station gaining audience share this quarter - it`s up 0.2 to a 2.5 share, continuing a slow but steady listener gain.  Over at Spanish Broadcasting`s Mega 97.9 (WSKQ), a three-quarter-long decline was halted with a gain of 0.3, giving the station a 4.0 share for the Fall.  Mega appears to be picking up younger listeners.

     For a more comprehensive look at the Fall 2000 Arbitron ratings, visit the NYRG Ratings Page.

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