Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Post holidays, Magic drops but manages to hold on to the top spot

WMJX/Magic 106.7 has become an end-of-year powerhouse with its all-holiday-song programming. It predictably fell last month but held on to first place and ended up with more listeners in January than a year ago when it finished second.

Radio listeners who had flocked to the all-holiday music format on Magic during the Christmas season for the most part retreated to their regular stations once the last "Jingle Bells" and "Little Drummer Boy" had been played. Magic 106, ceased its nonstop seasonal music on Dec. 26, but  based on the survey of listeners from Jan. 1 to Jan. 28. it fared much better than it did at the same time in 2013 and 2012.

Magic held on to enough of holiday listeners to retain the top spot in January. The rest of the usual Top 5 dwellers - pop station Kiss 108, classic hitter WROR 105.7 and country WKLB 102.5 all bounced back to their pre-holiday totals, according to figures released by the Nielsen Audio ratings service. In WROR's case, the station recorded highest numbers in recent history.

Arbitron divides the year into 13 four-week ratings periods, one named for each month plus a year-end holiday period. Magic  has been dominating December and holiday time frames with its switch to carols from its usual playlist of adult-contemporary hits. Although a decline is inevitable, the station's goal is to retain as many of its seasonal listeners as possible after its return to regular programming. That strategy had paid off this time around.

New England Patriots' Super Bowl run and a huge "Deflategate" story dominated sports talk radio in January. WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub and WEEI 93.7 both rode the championship train. That dominance had extended to the point where the Sports Hub was No. 1 among adults ages 25-54, not just its usual target male 25-54 demographic. The Sports Hub was tied for third for overall listeners jumping up almost 2 share points to 6.9(from 5.1) and 920,000 weekly listeners. WEEI came in 7th but had a sizeable spike from 3.7 to 5.1 with 578,000 listeners. The story for WEEI was all on-line where its site broke all sorts of visitor records.

Sports radio wasn't the only Deflagate beneficiary. The social media-manufactured story(or non-story in this case) also became a top headline on WBZ 1030, WGBH 89.7 and WBUR 90.9. Another sports-related story which created a lot of buzz locally was the controversial selection of Boston as USOC's choice to host 2024 Summer Olympic games(Jan.8). One could argue that January ratings survey captured the official start of winter from hell(January 26) but these stations will truly be shoveling massive ratings once the current February survey(Jan.29 - Feb.25) results are released on St. Patrick's Day.

BRW Notebook :

And that's no Bull : Radio website RadioInsight is reporting that IheartMedia's upstart country station WBWL/the Bull 101.7 has recently completed its complex signal reconfigurations which were detailed in this space back in August(BRW 8/6/14). As of this week, Bull's listeners in the Boston metro should now be able to notice a much improved reception. However, according to the RadioInsight report, the station's management is not stopping there. It has filed an application with the FCC in hopes of boosting station's local reach even more by moving its transmitter from downtown Boston to Medford and making additional adjustments to antenna specifications.

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