More Chicago PPM results

All Access interviewed Radio Crunch’s Anthony Acampora about the pre-currency results from Arbitron’s new Portable People Meter, which is intended to replace the diaries the company has been using for decades. Keep in mind this is based on only one month of findings. Among the findings:

– Bonneville seems to be the big winner, with WDRV-FM (The Drive) surging in the ratings and in key demos, while WTMX (The Mix) continued to maintain its dominance. WILV-FM (Love FM) also showed gains.

– A bad showing for most Crawford and Clear Channel urban-formatted outlets: WGCI, WVAZ (V103), WPWX-FM (Power 92), and Smooth Jazz WNUA all showed steep declines. In fact, no station with a mostly African-American audience posted any gains. Rhythmic WBBM-FM (B96) also took a hit, but not as bad as the urbans (B96 has a significant African-American audience.) This basically mirrored what happened when the PPMs were rolled out in Houston and Philadelphia and black-targeted stations slid down.

– Jack FM (WJMK-FM) bombed big time with Steve Dahl, however – the station’s shares increased throughout the day.

– Spanish language stations’ shares remained fairly strong.

– Suburban stations also fared better with the new meteorology. Hope for Nine-FM?

– From Radio & Records: A chart showing the listening habits of Chicago minority groups, and it shows African-Americans ranked much lower. (except English-speaking Hispanics), which is a huge blow for the area’s black radio stations. African-American listeners also didn’t spend as much time listening to the radio than other minority groups.

– The same chart also breaks down the cumes for each format, comparing the diary numbers from Spring 2007 to the PPM numbers for June 2008. It shows an increase for every format except for classical.

My analysis is these PPMs may in fact save Chicago radio – unless you’re an urban-formatted station. Have black-oriented stations been over-reported for years? While the numbers listen to the urban format is up, the stations may have been hurt due to the low time spent listening.

The next couple of months will be interesting, as many stations whose fates were borderline may stick around after all. The results? Fewer format changes and stability, which is good for everybody and Chicago radio in general. The quality of the medium in the Windy City may be another matter, though.

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