Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Last Thursday [link] we reported about WCVE’s acquisition of two commercial radio signals and plans to focus formats on all three Richmond stations. The Fall Nielsen Audio ratings provide another reason this is such a good idea: WVTF, from Roanoke, continues to add weekly listeners in the Richmond metro.

In mid-2017, WVTF focused its format on its two services. WVTF and its repeaters are now airing News/Talk programing 24/7. The second channel, WWVT plus repeaters now airs 24/7 Classical music. 

The result is a 34% increase in the number of estimated weekly listeners in the Fall 2017 Diary-market ratings compared with Fall 2016 data.

Richmond skyline
WCVE, which had a dual format of NPR News and Classical during the Fall 2017 sweeps, also did well. WCVE’s upcoming changes are defensive moves to keep Richmond listeners tuned to Richmond stations. The new Richmond stations are expected to sign on in early Spring 2018.

Richmond is a 21st century boom town with a metro population of more than 1.3 million people. Bio-science, medical tech and financial services companies have flocked to Richmond because of its highly educated workforce and affordable cost of living. In other words, Richmond is a place where public radio does very, very well.
The Fall Nielsen Audio Diary-market ratings are a mixed bag for News/Talk stations compared to Fall 2016. Stations in New Orleans, Albany and Asheville are all up significantly.

In NOLA WWNO’s mix of NPR, local news and plenty of spice, continues to draw more estimated weekly listeners. 

If you haven’t sampled WWNO lately, please check them out now [link]. They offer some fascinating only-in-NOLA local programs like the delicious Louisiana Eats! and street-level business news on Out to Lunch.

Unfortunately, WWNO’s new 24/7 Classical 104.9 has yet to show up in the ratings. It would appear as WWNO-HD2 but most listeners can hear it on a translator with a decent metro signal on 104.9 FM.

Perhaps no one deserves an extended “Trump Bump” that Alan Chartock and the crew at WAMC, Albany [link]. Chartock has turned the Prez into a terrific fundraiser for WAMC. Listeners are responding.

The estimated number of weekly listeners to WAMC in the Fall 2017 Nielsen Audio ratings was up more than 12% from Fall 2016. 

Weekly listeners to Vermont Public Radio’s News/Talk stations in the Albany metro were up by a larger percentage: 17%.  WAMC has many more listeners outside of the Albany metro in other markets.

Meanwhile WMHT’s Classical/Triple A combo, WMHT and WEXT, continue to pull a significant number of weekly listeners.

In March we featured the sign on of WYQS, a 24/7 NPR News/Talk station serving the Asheville metro [link]. WYQS barely showed up with a different format in Fall 2016. Though the number of estimated weekly listeners to WYQS is small compared to sister-station WQCS, you’ve got to love the trend line, up 92%. Dual-formatted NPR News and Classical WCQS also increased its number of weekly listeners in the past year.

Perhaps the biggest story is Asheville is the amazing growth of estimated weekly listeners to Triple A WNCW from nearby Spindale. WNCW always performs well in its home market but the Fall 2017 weekly listeners, 96,500, was up 18% compared with Fall 2016.

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