Thursday, November 3, 2016


For years WDET has trailed WUOM Michigan Radio in the Detroit metro by all measures. That changed in the October 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings when WDET tallied more weekly cumulative listeners than Michigan Radio.

I need to point out, however, that Michigan Radio has many, many more weekly listeners outside of Detroit in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Flint and Saginaw.  Also, according to the October estimates, WUOM has a much larger Average-Quarter-Hour (AQH) share 2.9 compared to WDET’s 1.0 share. This means that even though WDET has the most weekly listeners in Detroit, people tend to listen longer to Michigan Radio.

Still, weekly cume is an important metric and WDET’s performances shows that things are working for them.

A comparison of the schedules for the days/hours when most people hear radio (shown on the right) shows there is a strategy at work at WDET: Super-serving Detroit area listeners with locally originated programming that is distinctly different from Michigan Radio. 

In some ways WDET’s strategy reminds me of how WGBH in Boston is competing successfully with WBUR.

WDET’s big play is Culture Shift, a cultural, news and music hybrid that airs weekdays from Noon to 3pm [link]. There are similarities to WGBH’s Boston Public Radio, which has performed very well.

On Culture Shift co-hosts Travis Wright and Amanda LeClaire cover Detroit life in a way Michigan Radio can’t. The blend is typically 60% spoken word and 40% music but this ratio varies by day and hour. 
WDET’s one-hour talk and interview program Detroit Today [link] has a different focus than WUOM’s Stateside [link]. Stateside describes itself as broad coverage across southern and central Michigan with topics and events that matter to people all acrossthe state. Detroit Today is all about and for folks in Detroit.


The best of the smaller Detroit noncoms is probably 89.3 FM WHFR [link] originating from Dearborn. WHFR is licensed to Henry Ford Community College but it has a larger mission: Alternative Variety with programming not heard elsewhere in the market. On WHFR you’ll hear Alternative and Modern Rock, Big Band, Country, Americana, Blues, Hip Hop, Jazz, Space Rock, Urban, and World music programming. WHFR carries Classical 24 and a few other programs from Public Radio International (PRI)

Other noncoms include 88.1 WHPR (Urban Contemporary) and 90.1 FM WDPT (CCM Smile FM). 99.1 FM CJAM (Modern Rock) booms into Detroit from Windsor, Ontario.

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