Chicago PPMs: WXRT’s ratings soar after Lin Brehmer’s death

While others collapse with WGCI posting all-time low

Chicago’s radio PPM ratings returned to normal after the holidays with a familiar name on top: iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WLIT finishing on top for the third straight ratings period – even without Christmas music, which propelled them to the top for the last two months. WLIT also maintained their top rating in the adults 25-54 and adults 18-49 demos. 

iHeartMedia’s AC stations also topped ratings books in New York (WLTW) and Los Angeles (KOST), giving the format a complete sweep of the top three markets.

But the biggest story belongs to Audacy-owned WXRT-FM, who finishes second with their highest rating in the station’s history, no doubt due to the death of beloved personality Lin Brehmer as listeners tuned in to remember him. The Triple A station jumped from a 3.0 rating last ratings period (which was a Holiday book) to a 6.1 – an increase of 97 percent. In the key 25-54 demo, WXRT surged from twelfth to third.

Another big winner is iHeart’s Kiss 103.5 (WKSC-FM), who was up 48 percent to tie Hubbard’s also-surging WTMX for fifth place overall and also surged to fifth place in the 25-54 demo, and finished first in adults 18-34 with its best book in nearly a year. Other winners as the market settles back to normal includes WGN-AM, The Drive(WDRV), US 99(WUSN-FM), K-Love (WCKL-FM), and Amor 106.7 (WPPN-FM) as all made significant games from the Holiday book. 

The big losers seemed to be the city’s Black radio stations with iHeart’s V103/WVAZ and WGCI, Audacy’s 104.3 Jams (WBMX), and Crawford’s Power 92 (WPWX) and Soul 106.3 all posting ratings declines. While there could be theories on why the numbers fell, one could be the shrinking numbers of the Chicago area’s Black population. However, one ratings period a trend does not make, so this is something to keep your eye on for the rest of 2023.

Last week, Kyle Santillian quietly departed WGCI’s morning show. 

Also trending downward were Rock 95.5 (WCHI) and B96 (WBBM-FM), who is now getting completely dominated by Kiss 103.5 as you have to ask yourself how long Audacy executives can continue with this format. Ironically,  it was B96 who was in the same dominating position 33 years ago over former Top 40 competitor WYTZ-FM (Z95), who threw in the towel in October 1991. In adults 18-34, B96 tied the aforementioned WGCI for tenth place which is fine in overall numbers and other demos, but not in this one for both youth-oriented stations (B96 and WGCI also tied with Q101 and WTMX.) 


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