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Aug 30 2007

Ratings-go-round


Sometimes the Pittsburgh Arbitron ratings start to look like the Playboy Jazz Poll in the 1960s. Year after year, it’s “Lionel Hampton on Vibes.”

We stole that very old joke from someone. But anyway, the latest survey (out last week) of listeners aged 12 and up shows the usual suspects in the Top 10. Heritage rocker WDVE-FM (102.5) is in first place; news-talk KDKA (1020) is second; hit country WDSY-FM (107.9) is third. (The full chart is available from Radio & Records. The Arbitron ratings are a copyrighted service of Arbitron Inc.)

“Your greatest hits” WWSW-FM (94.5) is in fourth place, still holding onto the gains it made when it dropped most of its ’60s oldies in favor of more ’70s and ’80s songs.

Rounding out the top 10, in order, are “FM News Talk” WPGB-FM (104.7); nostalgia WJAS (1320); “Bob FM” WRRK-FM (96.9); urban AC WAMO-FM (106.7); the combined “Froggy” country simulcast of WOGI-FM (98.3 Duquesne) and WOGG-FM (94.9 Oliver); and “soft rock” WSHH-FM (99.7).

We haven’t seen a breakdown of key demographic groups, but we sure hope the numbers are fantastic for “The Zone” WTZN-FM (93.7). Otherwise, Pittsburgh’s “Man” station, the FM talker featuring Scott Paulsen, Dennis Miller and John McIntire, is in big trouble. It’s in 19th place among all listeners 12-plus; according to Arbitron, it’s got about half the audience it had as “K-Rock” in summer 2006.

WTZN is the latest of CBS Radio’s outlets to struggle with the company’s “Free FM” mix of entertainment and talk.

Butler County’s “All Hitz” WLER-FM (97.7) shows up in the Pittsburgh ratings for the first time in recent memory at 24th place, as does Morgantown’s 6kW rocker, WCLG-FM (100.1) at 27th place.

Meanwhile, R&R reports that ESPN Radio has entered into a multi-year agreement to have its five owned-and-operated stations, including Pittsburgh’s WEAE (1250), tracked by the new Arbitron Portable People Meter.

The PPM directly measures the radio signals that nearby consumers are listening to, and is expected to provide more accurate data than the current diary system, which requires listeners to write down the stations they were hearing.

The PPM is being rolled out by Arbitron in New York City in December. Pittsburgh is expected to convert to the PPM in September 2009.