I Declare Victory

I haven’t managed to do a lot of radio writing lately.

It’s  a shame; the last time I really covered the business in this blog in any real deep detail, KSTP was still a conservative talk station, more or less; KTLK was still following some idiot consultant’s advice and steering toward the middle of the road. WCCO had changed little in decades; Air American Minnesota was still a contender at the low end of the ratings scale with WWTC (where I broadcast, then and now).

More importantly, perhaps?  Radio ratings back then were measured by Arbitron, more or less the same way they were measured back in the sixties.  Abritron would mail out diaries to carefully selected users, who would spend a few months filling out everything they listened to on the radio, in quarter-hour increments.

Today?  KSTP went sports-talk last year; KTLK went conservative; WCCO is poking around looking for a new identity now that the audience that kept them on top for decades slowly fades from demographic signficance.

And the big news?  Ratings are now largely done with “Personal People Meters”, devices that people carry around that “hear” radio stations, and pick up on an inaudible code in the signal the stations transmit.  It’s a little controversial – it favors the kinds of music stations that people just leave on as background music (“Jack FM” and WLTE “The Lite FM” are particularly strong under PPM), while shorting stations that have more purposeful listeners (like, say, talk radio).

But all that is background noise to the real news in the Holiday 2010 PPM ratings.  AM1280 is the #22 station in the market (in the relatively meaningless “all listeners age 12+” category.  The cool part, of course, is the numbers; notice the “cume”, or cumulative audience, for the period.  WWTC gets statistically the same ratings as  Hubbard’s “Chick Talk 107” with about 40% of the audience, and 2/3 the numbers that the 100,000 watt KTLK-FM gets with about 1/5 the listeners.

What that means is that the Patriot’s listeners are loyal – especially on the weekend, where the key measurement is called “Time Spent Listening”.  The average KTLK listener tunes in for twenty-odd minutes; the typical Patriot listener is well over 45 (and, on the Northern Alliance, the average listener, statistically, listens for about an hour every hour).

And KTNF, the former Air America station?  It’s dropped to a 0.4 share.  Almost too low to measure.  Almost into “dead skunk bounce” territory.

I guess Ed Schultz doesn’t reel ’em in like he used to.

18 thoughts on “I Declare Victory

  1. And its a crying shame that the Management hamsters at the Patriot pulled the entertaining and interesting NARN1 for…an infomercial on vitamins that help your colon and prostate…and an hour of Josh Arnold (who has the entertainment value of a colon or prostate).

    Oh, and the 11-3 slot is book ended by 2 different Bible-banging squirrels. Now THAT’S entertainment!

    At least I can still listen from 1-3p without feeling like I was having a colonoscopy.

  2. If this means anything……WCCO, KSTP-AM, AM1280 and I forgot the other one, were all playing infocommercials at the same time on a recent Saturday. Apparently that is the money maker for Saturday morning-noonish on AM radio.

  3. It’s not KSTPAM anymore. It’s ESPN1500. It’s very amusing hearing Australian football scores during The Home & Garden Show. What a pack of maroons Hubbard put in charge.

    And I will echo MGIN in regards to NARN’s now extinct opening act. This was some of the best local radio in Minnesota, and dropping it was almost as stupid as replacing Laura Ingraham with that doufus Mike Gallagher.

    The only talk radio I can listen to now is Michael Medved, and that in small doses. It’s a damn shame.

  4. I don’t know if anyone else has tuned in to AM950 lately, but they’ve hired the biggest AirHead *evah*. I 100% guarantee that after 15 minutes of listening to her, you’ll be searching for an ice pick to insert into your ear; so don’t tune in while driving.

    Big shout out to Nancy Nelson!


  5. Does KTNF have any non-PSA sponsors? I want to know who they are so I can go into their parking lots and paste NRA stickers on their cars. As for ‘CCO, their demographic isn’t diminishing, they’re dying. They haven’t done anything new in five decades. How they keep hanging on is a story in density I’ve never understood.

  6. “As for ‘CCO, their demographic isn’t diminishing, they’re dying.”

    I think it’s demise was hastened with the loss of notables Boone & Erickson, and Steve Cannon.

  7. Didn’t RT Ryback’s wife do a column a bit back (after Limbaugh left 1500, if memory serves) about how right wing radio was out and the left was in it’s ascendency on KTNF (makes me think kant suck enuff) and MPR? The reality is that as the dominant media culture goes further to the left, the center and right will go somewhere to get some perspective and talk radio is it.

  8. Scott, WCCO (WDFL) died a slow death by market forces, something liberal and Democrats are completely clueless about. In a word, their product sucked. I wouldn’t listen to it with your ears.

  9. Most of the businesses that advertise on a tin-can & string, barking moonbat radio station like KTNF sell crap you wouldn’t be looking for anyway, BS.

  10. interesting fact about the bible fascists that AM1280 puts on, and that most of us think they are too extreme by a LONG margin. The left seems obsessed with them, specifically Bradlee Dean. like he somehow speaks for us? over at sucking stool they have no less than 10 posts on him ALREADY this year, as in 2011. They don’t seem to get that they probably have a lower rating than most shows on KTNF which is saying something.

  11. I think the ratings you shared make sense, particularly local programming. Somehow, KTLK’s programs seem impatient, like you’re not supposed to listen for more than 20 minutes. WWTC is more “hourly” – taking the time to develop a thought, and that includes the NARN.

    Ron Rosenbaum should take his listeners and move to KTNF, a much better fit. He could double their ratings!

  12. Glenn Beck….I’ve been listening to him on the FM station from 9 to 11 AM. His radio show is actually somewhat entertaining. Better than his TV show.

  13. Speed Gibson all you have to do is look at the “primetime” hours of radio (11am-8pm) on KTLK VS The Patriot
    11am-2pm Rush Limbaugh vs. Dennis Prager
    2pm-5pm Sean Hannity vs. Michael Medved
    5pm-8pm Jason Lewis vs. Hugh Hewitt

    KTLK= high strung, loud, and quite often annoying, personalities
    The Patriot= mild-mannered, smart, thoughtful, intelligent, witty

    enough said.

  14. Another distinction I make is: “did I learn anything?” Then: “was it at least entertaining?” That’s why I never listen to Sean Hannity, nothing but shrill rhetoric. I’ll get around to all of them in 2011, one program a week.

  15. I listen to KTLK off and on during the week as I’m driving around to and from my office and appoinments. After Chris Baker and most of Glenn Beck, I usually don’t get to listen to all of Limbaugh’s or Hannity’s shows. If I know who Hannity’s guests are in advance and I want to hear them, I’ll try to tune in. Since I know Sue Jeffers personally, I usually listen to her show on Saturday or when she’s on. Since I found this site, I do try to listen to the NARN, but because my wife (a liberat) has a problem with any talk radio, when she’s in the car or if she’s driving…

    Ironically, one of my accounts is MPR and I have to bite my tongue every time I’m there.

  16. I realize that the economy is tough, but AM1280 is going to destroy its cume with the infomercials, “money talk” and “real estate shows” that now make up its weekend programming. They basically took a very interesting and listenable Saturday line-up (Stroms/NARN programs) and flushed it down the toilet. Sometimes I’d listen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.–talk about TSL! Now I’m down to Mitch and Ed and, frankly, I’ve been forgetting they’re on since I’m already into my day by the time they take the air.

    As for KTLK, I’m kinda disappointed that Jason Lewis went “national”. There really isn’t a conservative voice to expose liberal lunacy in Minnesota on a regular basis and it’s really needed to balance out all of the “reporting” on KARE, WCCO, Strib and MPR. From listening to the locations of Jason’s callers outside MN (Bend OR, Bugtussle AL, etc), I don’t think it’s going that well anyway. I’m sure it was a move on the part of Clear Channel to get Jason more money without having to pay locally, but it’s time to get him back to a local show.

    ESPN 1500–how much “Twins talk” can any person take? Please make it stop.

  17. I too miss the glory that was WWTC Saturdays, once upon a time. Mitch and Ed are a worthy remnant, but they stand like the Acropolis, brooding over the ruins of greatness.

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