Arbitron PPMs results for February – Mainstream AC not cool with Chicago listeners

(Updated at 23:59)

Note: These are based on 6+ numbers only.

Also, check out yours truly’s rant on our town’s AC stations below – they need to have their “AC” fixed.

Click here to see February’s numbers, as well as those for the last two months.

Click here to see a demo breakdown of the numbers, including adults 25-54.




WLIT-FM (Lite FM), WCFS-FM (Fresh 105.9)


WSCR-AM (The Score), WLEY-FM

Despite a slight drop from January’s numbers, WBBM-AM held on to the top slot of Arbitron’s latest survey for the month of February, using Portable People Meters to measure audiences. The biggest gainers month-to-month were Spanish-language WOJO-FM (+16%), oldies WLS-FM (+14%), along with WVIV (+18%) and WBEZ (+ 14%).
Also on the plus side was alt-rock WKQX-FM, WDRV (The Drive), and WJMK (Jack FM).

On the downside, WSCR (The Score) was the survey’s biggest dropper, down 35 % from last month. Rival WMVP (ESPN 1000) also declined, with a 16% decrease. WLIT failed to reverse its ratings slide from the holidays (down 9% from January and off 68% from the Holiday book), while rival WCFS was up a tick (+6%), but ratings continue to be low. And WLEY continued to lag far behind its Spanish-language rivals WVIV and WOJO, with a 36% drop from its holiday numbers.

Rant: Earlier this week, WCFS announced the departure of afternoon personality Roxanne Steele and is being replaced by Jen Toohey, who is voice-tracking from Cleveland from sister station WQAL-FM. This move comes after rival WLIT last year dropped Melissa Forman from the morning drive (for the second time) and replaced her with Sean Valentine (voice-tracked from Los Angeles), while afternoon drive is being voice-tracked by a personality from Phoenix.

So much for being “live and local”, While yours truly understands the financial pressures stations are under, voicetracking, or piping in voices from another market on tape has been going on even during good economic times! 

Judging by the lackluster ratings for both stations in this latest survey, Chicago’s mainstream Adult Contemporary listeners are clearly turned off – and ticked off. But of course, the geniuses at these two outlets are staying the course, playing the same Madonna song from the 1980’s at least 100 times per week while their core female audience continue to flee for the exits.

Both WLIT and WCFS need to take a cue from Bonneville’s successful WTMX-FM,(“The Mix”). The Hot AC station has been successful with Eric & Kathy in morning drive for nearly 15 years, dominating morning drive among females 25-54 for the last decade. They need to look for the next Eric & Kathy, not the next piped-in voice from Dayton, Ohio. And all the Christmas tunes in the world won’t save you, WLIT. The media buyers know why you put it on in the first place – and you can’t fool them.

The male 18-34 demo aren’t the only ones who get their music exclusively from an iPod, iPhone, or MP3 player – and the mainstream AC audience will being soon heading down the same road. WLIT and WCFS will continue to suffer if they don’t start investing in some local content. Right now, there is nothing appealing about these two stations – unless you like hearing Crazy For You fifteen times a day.