Sunday, July 19, 2009

In the PPM world, Mix looks to gain with the move to the new frequency

Get ready for a change on Boston's radio dial, as WBMX/Mix 98.5 relocates to a new dial position next month. As part of a bigger programming shake-up announced and well-covered here and everywhere this past week(BRW 7/14), the August 12 frequency move by the Mix' corporate owners, CBS Radio Corp, will give a more powerful signal to the Top 40 adult contemporary format.

As WBCN's 41-year rock format migrates to on-line( and HD2 broadcast form(as 98.5FM HD2) on August 11th, WBMX will take over the 104.1FM frequency on the morning of August 12th after 18 and a half years on 98.5FM. On August 13th, the new Sports Hub 98-5 will sign on with "Toucher and Rich" leading off the morning drive(the rest of SportsHub's line-up will be officially announced in the next few days).

So why is Mix 98-5 moving over to 104.1FM? The most obvious reason - Mix will inherit WBCN's powerful signal transmitting from atop of the Prudential Center which will put the station on the equal footing with its two highly successful competitors fighting for the slices of the big "money" demo of listeners between ages 25 and 54. The stronger signal ties in to the second, perhaps slightly less obvious, reason behind CBS' decision to give Mix a new place on the dial. Both Clear Channel's WXKS/Kiss 108 and Greater Media's WMJX/Magic 106.7 transmit from the Pru. While Kiss and Magic are sitting pretty at the top of the 25-54 ratings, Mix has been steadily gaining listeners since introduction of Arbitron's PPM system which hasn't gone unnoticed by its corporate bosses. But Mix' makover isn't limitted to a new frequency. The station already introduced a brand new hip, more pop-culture oriented morning show("Karson and Kennedy") back in January which replaced long-running John Lander who has been losing listeners in the AM drive.

With its arrival, Arbitron's PPM system was expected to be the game changer in deciding which format and what music will be heard on Boston radio. After several months of Arbitron's portable people meter-derived ratings, it's very clear that the new methodology has changed the game here as well as other major PPM markets.(Ratings participants no longer fill out diaries, often from memory; they wear cell phone-size electronic devices that pick up the radio signals they are hearing or listening to, and ratings are issued every month, replacing the less reliable quarterly "book") . As PPM results show, adult and hit contemporary formats are clearly benefiting, as those as those mainstream radio formats are likely to be played in retail outlets and offices, where a PPM carrier might visit or work. Mix has the the third highest overall weekly listener totals in Boston, behind Kiss and Magic based on the June ratings released this past week.

BRW Notebook :

Let the memory live again : There will be countless more recollections on-line and on the air until WBCN signs off for good on August 11th. From Howie Carr to the member of the Fools to Howard Stern(see July 15, 6:10am segment).


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the research on this. Makes sense after all.

Anonymous said...

Moving Mix 98.5 to 104.1 physically puts them in a frequency cluster with Magic 106.7 and Kiss 108. Listeners are likely to "button push" from Magic or Kiss to Mix 104.1, particularly on their car pre-sets. Putting WBZ-FM at 98.5 does the same thing. We'll have 96.9 WTKK, 98.5 WBZ-FM and possibly - to your earlier point - 97.7 WEEI-FM. When you think about radio behavior - in car - this makes a lot of sense don't you think?