Some folks might say radio is living on borrowed time because of the proliferation of digital devices and distribution platforms. But there is no trace of this decline in the Spring 2016 Nielsen Audio estimates for noncom stations. In fact, almost two-thirds of the stations we tracked increased their number of weekly cumulative listeners between Spring 2015 and Spring 2016.
According the most recent data from the Radio Research Consortium (RRC), the majority of stations in all four of the secular noncom formats increased their number of weekly listeners. We reviewed the ratings performance for Spring 2016 and Spring 2015 from 101 noncommercial stations. Sixty-six of them (65%) increased their weekly listeners in the past year. The chart on the right provides an overview of the secular noncom formats.
(Scroll down to see the ratings performance of Christian Contemporary Music – CCM – noncom stations.)
Leading the way were full-time Classical music stations – 72% saw increased weekly listeners. Full-time NPR News stations were close behind – 68% had more weekly listeners in 2016 than 2015.
We tracked the performance of 30 noncom stations with Dual Formats. All of these stations air music programming in addition to NPR News. We had data from both 2015 and 2016 for 28 of these stations. Sixteen increased their weekly listeners and 12 saw declines.
WVTF, WCVE & KOSU LEAD DUAL FORMAT STATIONS
We have reported often about WVTF, Roanoke, a regional powerhouse. In addition to the 140,000 weekly listeners we tabulated WVTF also has significant listening in other Virginia markets. WVTF also operates Radio IQ, a regional full-time news network.
KOSU, Stillwater, is a factor in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In recent years KOSU has moved their transmitter closer to OKC and they claim it as their “home” market. KOSU trails other news stations in both markets.
KUNM casts a long shadow in Albuquerque, particularly in the afternoon when competitor KANW switches from NPR News to Latin Pop music in Spanish. If KANW was airing All Things Considered the ratings for KUNM would probably be lower.
Wisconsin Public Radio’s News &
Classical flagship, WERN in Madison, was an exception to the good news for Classical music stations. Their number of weekly listeners fell 8% from Spring 2015 to Spring 2016. I wonder if they have ever projected what WERN’s audience might be if they went all news.
WNIN, Evansville, KPBX in Spokane and KVPR, Fresno all had major gains in weekly listeners. But WQCS, Fort Pierce tanked, losing over 10,000 weekly listeners between Spring 2015 and Spring 2016.
WEEKLY LISTENERS DECLINE AT 75% OF CCM STATIONS
While the four formats on noncom secular stations saw more weekly listeners in Spring 2016 compared to Spring 2016, Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) stations saw the opposite. We have data for 12 CCM stations from both years; 3 stations (25%) increased their weekly listeners but 9 (75%) saw declines.
Cornerstone University’s WCSG in Grand Rapids was the CCM bright spot. WCSG is a pioneer of the CCM format and has been one of the most-listened-to stations in Western Michigan for years.
Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight Persons 12+
These data are provided for use by Nielsen subscribers ONLY,
in accordance with RRC's limited license with Nielsen Inc. Data Copyright Nielsen Inc. Format distinctions are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC.