Most of the full-time Classical music stations in medium and small size markets added new weekly cumulative listeners between Fall 2015 and Fall 2016. According to Nielsen Audio estimates 62% increased their number of weekly listeners; 38% had declines.
We are currently tracking 23 stations including two that originate PPM markets. We have Nielsen Audio data for 21 of the stations. For ease of reading we have organized the stations into three groups, ranked by the number of Fall 2016 estimated weekly listeners.
KBSU, Boise, had the largest numeric gain (12,200) and Colorado Public Radio Classical stations outside of Denver had the largest percentage gain (41%).
WXXI-FM, Rochester, had the largest numeric loss (13,400), and WDPR, Dayton, had the largest percentage loss.
GROUP ONE STAR STATION: KUAT, TUCSON
Arizona Public Media originates two full-time channels: NPR News on KUAZ and Classical on KUAT.
Both stations are growing their audiences. In addition to listeners in the Tucson metro, KUAT [link] blankets most of southern Arizona and has many listeners outside the metro.
Bade recently earned a PhD in choral conducting and sings in the Tucson Symphony Chorus and Tucson Chamber Artists.
Also, WMHT in Albany, KUCO in Oklahoma City and Northwest Public Radio in Spokane added substantial numbers of estimated weekly listeners. We discussed KUSC's impact in earlier posts. Like KCRW and KPCC, KUSC keeps making inroads into the exurban LA markets of Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Oxnard-Ventura and San Luis Obispo. In the Fall 2016 PPM ratings for Los Angeles, KUSC had 740,300 estimated weekly listeners.
GROUP TWO STAR STATION: KBSU, BOISE
Like the Boise State Broncos of college football fame, the two BSU program channels, Classical KBSU and 24/7 News KBSX, know what it is like to win.
KBSU [link] is involved in every major aspect of the Boise classical music scene.
Boise radio legend Carl Scheider is a popular on-air host. He hosts Idaho Music, a weekly program that features upcoming events and performances, plus interviews of Idaho artists.
Scheider also hosts Private Idaho, a weekly eclectic music mix show based on his extensive knowledge of several types of music. He has spent over 30 years behind the mic including stints at commercial Country KQFC, Classic Rock KLCI and Triple A KF95.
Other stations of note that greatly increased their number of estimated weekly listeners are WUOL in Louisville, KWTU in Tulsa and KLRE in Little Rock.
GROUP THREE STAR STATION: WBNI, FORT WAYNE
Full-time Classical stations in smaller markets are lifelines for the faithful. This is certainly true at WBNI [link], which serves northeast Indiana from Fort Wayne. Each of the 13,400 estimated weekly listeners to WBNI are treated like family.
WBNI keeps classical fans up to date with Symphonically Yours, hosted by Rob Nylund. He is a retired research scientist who moved to Indiana from the Bay Area. Nylund worked at KSJS in San Diego.
Also, Colorado Public Radio’s Classical channel is doing very well outside of the Denver metro. It is nice to see Maine Public Radio’s Classical channel up and running.