Sunday, October 31, 2010
New Arbitron Rating System Shakes Things Up In Local Radio Market
IBJ took a look at the difference Arbitron's new rating system is making in the local radio market. In the past, ratings participants were required to use a pen-and-paper system to track their listening habits during a ratings period. Arbitron has replaced that antiquated system with a precise measure--portable people meters, which automatically track what radio stations people are listening to. While some stations have seen little change in their ratings, others have seen a dramatic change. As the table above demonstrates, WFMS-FM, a country format station, slightly improved its position as the number one-rated station in the Indianapolis market, capturing over 10% of the market. By comparison, WIBC-FM's news talk format took the biggest hit, losing nearly a quarter of its audience share according to the new ratings system, garnering 5.7% of the local market share compared to the 7.9% share it had under the old system. WYXB-FM, a soft rock station, doubled its position, climbing from the middle of the pack to second place behind WFMS-FM at a 9.6% share. WJJK-FM classic rock's share jumped about 50% to a 7.4% share. Most of the 15 radio stations listed in the table held their own. WTLC-AM, an urban gospel station that courts a black audience came in 15th place but maintained its market share of 2.3%. WXNT-AM, the other news/talk station in town failed to make the top 15, an indication that the new rating system failed to boost its numbers as at least one of its radio talk show hosts had suggested it would. Because advertisement rates are based on a radio station's market share, the new system will impact the revenues the radio stations earn in the future.