published Friday, January 20th, 2012

KZ106 tops US101 in important demographic for first time since 1989

AIRWAVE COMPETITION


Radio station Share of market age 25-54

WSKZ-FM 106.5 — 10.9

WUSY-FM 100.7 — 10.5

WDEF-FM 92.3 — 8.9

WJTT-FM 94.3 — 8.5

Source: Arbitron Inc. fall book survey of area listeners. The market share represents the percentage of all radio listeners age 25 to 54 tuned to that station.

For the first time since the late 1980s, country radio station titan WUSY-FM 100.7 is not atop the Arbitron rating in an all-important audience category.

Among adult radio listeners between the ages of 25 and 54, perennial No. 2 WSKZ-FM 106.5 finished first in Arbitron’s fall book, a spot the classic rock station held for many years before being displaced by US101.

“I think the last time we were there was 1989,” said operations manager Scott Chase. “It’s a big deal for us.”

KZ106 finished with a 10.9 share while US101 had a 10.5 share of 25-to-54-year-old radio listeners.

“We are still No. 1 in 12+ [all radio listeners over age 12] and that’s been the case for 87 straight books,” said Clear Channel regional market manager Jared Stehney.

“That is the second-longest streak in radio history,” he added. “It is significant because we’d like to be No. 1 in everything, but we are not that concerned.”

The Arbitron ratings are used by some advertising buyers when shopping for target audiences. There are four ratings periods each year and Chase said the fall and spring books are the most important to advertising agencies. He also pointed out that the ratings are not the only factors.

“Local advertisers buy results, so not everybody buys [based on] ratings,” he said. “It’s just as important to have a good product and to be consistent. What this means is that KZ106 over our 33-year history has continued to be relevant.

“It’s also a source of pride.”

Keith Landecker, operations manager of the radio division at Brewer Broadcasting, said the news comes as a surprise because it has been so long since anyone but US101 was No. 1.

“US101 is a great station,” he said. “They are that team that always makes it to the Final Four. Beating them is big.”

WDEF-FM 92.3, with its adult contemporary format, finished third with an 8.9 share. WJTT-FM 94.3, a Brewer urban hits station, finished fourth with an 8.5 share in the same demographic.

Over the years, US101’s ratings have been as high as the low 20s. In the spring of 2011, they had a 14.8 share as compared to KZ106’s 7.7 share.

Danny Howard, operations manager at Sunny 92, said the change could be the result of changes in musical tastes.

“Their [US101] numbers have been eroding for some time,” he said. “They were and are a very successful station but we’ve all managed to chip away.

“Musical trends change. Tastes change. There is a lot of shifting away from country.”

Stehney said his station is always looking to “tweak” things and that won’t change.

“Country is still a very strong format with great artists coming out with new hits,” he said. “We continually attack ourselves and what we do to make ourselves better.”

Landecker said the numbers show that area radio listeners have choices when it comes to picking a station.

“It seems like the playing field is starting to level,” Landecker said. “Some of the other formats are starting to come up and there is a lot more stuff and a lot more diversity. But, it’s one book. How many thousands has US101 won?

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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