As you probably know, noncommercial station folks, music companies and public radio bigwigs are gathering this week in Philadelphia for the 16th Annual NONCOMMvention [link]. Noncom Triple A has grown in listeners, number of stations and influence over the years. The buzz on the format has gone from Maybe this will work to It works great if done correctly. Triple A has become a viable format choice because it attracts a younger demo than other noncom formats, the deep relationship its listeners have with the music and demonstrated sustainability.
I won’t be at the NONCOMM this year but I hope to make contributions to the conference by providing metrics, station profiles and historical context. My focus is the business of noncommercial Triple A radio. Today we begin with the most recent ratings data.
PPM MARKETS: BIG GAINS IN WEEKLY LISTENERS AT KUTX, WYEP, KRCL, KTBG, WUMB & WSGE
The chart below includes 14 fulltime music stations in PPM markets with sufficient data to compare estimated weekly cumulative listeners in April 2016 with April 2015. Ten of the 14 stations gained weekly listeners and only 4 had fewer weekly listeners. This is good news given the highly competitive market for music listeners.
At stations with more than 100,000 weekly listeners, KUTX, Austin (up 17% and WYEP, Pittsburgh (up 16%) had the biggest one-year gains. The stations with the largest number of weekly listeners are WFUV, New York (323,200), KCMP aka 89.3 The Current, St. Paul (279,700),WXPN, Philadelphia (266,900) and KKXT, Dallas (265,700).
Here is the full PPM market chart: (changes of more than 10% are highlighted in yellow)
DIARY MARKETS: WNRN IS A REGIONAL STAR PERFORMER
The most recent Nielsen Audio ratings data for markets using the Diary method are from Fall 2015. Below is a chart we published in January. We found data for 15 fulltime music stations. It appears that more stations in Diary markets are subscribing to Nielsen Audio data. This is a good sign because there are several terrific noncom Triple A stations (WAPS for example) for which we do not have data.
WNRN is a star performer. It reaches listeners in four Nielsen measured markets. WNRN has become a regional presence. Folks at stations interested in becoming fulltime Triple A stations should study and emulate WNRN.
Here is the full Diary market chart: (changes of more than 10% are highlighted in yellow)
THE AMAZING SUCCESS OF KCRW
KCRW is one of the fastest growing noncom stations in the nation. Their estimated number of weekly cumulative listeners grew 27% from April 2015 (516,600) to April 2016 (709,200). This is an amazing story.
Because KCRW has a dual format (NPR News and Triple A), it is difficult to say which of the two program streams contribute the most to the increase without seeing hour-by-hour data.
RETRO COVERAGE: BRUCE WARREN & KEN MILLS CURRENT ARTICLE FROM APRIL 2005