It’s a Chicago country music station smackdown



New startup from iHeart Radio making life hell for US 99.5

In the last few years, analyzing PPM results has been like watching paint dry – no real, earth-shaking position changes usually happens.

But the most recent PPM report out this week showing a huge shakeup in what has become a most interesting development for country music fans.

New country startup WEBG-FM, aka Big 95.5 has closed the gap on CBS-owned WUSN-FM, aka US 99.5 overall, with the March PPM report showing the iHeart-owned station just three-tenths of a point behind US 99.5 overall, compared to a nearly three-point share lead in January.

But among key demographics, Big 95.5 has already taken the lead over US 99, according to Robert Feder. In March, Big 99.5 passed its rival by one-tenth in the 25-54 demo and tied each other in the 18-34s.

Credit an aggressive advertising campaign and a 10,000 songs-in-a row stunt at launch in Big 95.5 helping to become competitive into US99’s lead. In response, US99 recently launched its own television ad campaign.

US99 also plans to have a presence at the heavily-promoted 50th annual American Country Music Awards, scheduled to take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. this Sunday night. No doubt you’ll see some US99 ads this Sunday on during the CBS telecast.

WEBG wasn’t the only iHeart station to make an aggressive format change which paid off in the ratings – in Los Angeles, new urban/hip-hop outlet Real 92.3 (KRRL) vaulted past longtime heritage rhythmic/CHR station KPWR-FM, 3.2 to 2.8, with KPWR declining from a 3.6. iHeart made headlines a few weeks ago by stealing longtime KPWR morning personality Big Boy away, prompting Emmis to sue to stop the move (iHeart eventually prevailed.)

KRRL is the first urban station in the Los Angeles market since the heyday of The Beat (KKBT) in the 1990’s.

IHeart’s KIIS-FM remains the top-rated radio station in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile back in Chicago, WBBM-AM held onto the top spot, ahead of WVAZ-FM, which was the top music station. WTMX-FM finished a strong third, with CHR stalwarts WKSC-FM and WBBM-FM – yes, another iHeart/CBS Radio battle – rounding out the top five.

WGN-AM, who seems to generate more discussion than actual numbers, finished eleventh, while WLS-AM finished in a tie for 26th place. Weigel’s Me TV FM (WRME-FM) debuted with a 0.6, pulling better numbers than its predecessor (WGWG-FM/The Game) ever did.


1 thought on “It’s a Chicago country music station smackdown

    • Please play a great new single right out of Nashville, TN. It is so awesome. It is by Jordan Barry, the name of the song is “Roll With Me.” Check it out on line, and please let your station play it. Thank you so much. You won’t be sorry. It is going to be a hit! Aleta Peknik, Darien IL

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