Thursday, February 11, 2010

PPM and College Radio

I was looking at the ratings for Boston this morning and I noticed something I didn't expect. WFNX only had a 0.8 share. They've been the big rock station in Boston for more than a decade and now they can't muster a 1-share. But the PPM books have had some outliers and odd results. Overall PPM seems to be more accurate. So when it's results don't jive with an assumption you have to reconsider your assumptions.So when I saw that WERS had a 0.9 Share... that was something that had to be reconciled. can a college station out-draw a commercial station? Hypothetically it's possible, it seems improbably when you think about marketing budgets but programming really is everything. In Boston WODS, an Oldies station is the number 1 station. That' s also unusual. So I took a look at the other PPM markets looks for this result. PPM is currently in the following 16 markets: Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington DC, Detroit, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, and San Diego.

To preface this I'll say now that I excluded NPR talk and Classical as they obviously demo differently than rock. In New York, WSOU, WFUV, WFMU and WFDU don't even book WBGO came in at the bottom with a 0.3. That pattern continues almost without exception. In San Francisco KCSM gets a 0.5, in Dallas KEOM 0.6, in Houston KTSU 0.5, in Atlanta WCLK 0.5, in Philly WXPN has a 1.5, narrowly bested by WRTI with a 1.6, KPLU scored a 2.2 in Seattle, Minneapolis KCMP 1.6, and in San Diego KSDS got a 1.3.

Of that entire set of stations all are jazz except for three: Both KCMP and WXPN are AAA and KEOM runs a Hot AC mix of sorts. KEOM, while it's book was respectable was still dead last in it's market. WERS leans hard toward Triple A, and it's rating was comparable to the other two, thsi level of scrutiny proves little. The outlier could be instead a consistent and repeatable sampling problem. But, perhaps this is real and can set a new bar for non-commercial stations. Maybe they can compete on their own terms.