WGN’s Cochran ‘off to a great start’

Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran found encouraging news in the first full ratings report since he took over as morning personality on a revamped WGN AM 720.

Nielsen Audio figures released Monday showed the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station tied for seventh place with a 4.0 percent share among all listeners, and tied for 24th with a 1.8 share among those between 25 and 54 — virtually unchanged from the previous month’s survey.

In morning drive, WGN remained in third place with a 5.5 share — up one-tenth from the previous month. Among adults 25-54, the station tied for 22nd place with 2.0 share — down from 18th place with a 2.2 share.

The ratings survey period, which ran from Sept. 12 to Oct. 9, began six days after Cochran replaced Jonathon Brandmeier in mornings (and the station unveiled new midday, evening and overnight shows as well).

“It would be great if everyone listened, but considering the total restart we have done, this is about what I expected,” Cochran told me. “It’s way too soon to see a big bump without any big promotional push, but that’s coming in the New Year. Up to now, we’ve been going strictly by word of mouth.”

Any disappointment? “Not at all,” he said. “I actually look forward to getting up at 3 a.m. to do the show — OK, no one wants to get up at that hour — but I look forward to the show every day.  As for performance, I would give myself a solid ‘B’ and my people on the show an ‘A’ because they’re great . . . and they have to work with me.”

Debuting with ratings no better than the ones he inherited is a good sign to Cochran since it means new listeners have already taken the place of those who followed Brandmeier to his new digital home on wgn.fm. “Success there is good for the company too,” Cochran said.

“Ratings can be sliced any way you like,” he said, pointing out that among listeners between 35 and 64, mornings on WGN had jumped “dramatically” — from a tie for 17th place in October 2012 to a tie for fifth now. “But what do I know? We are off to a great start and we will bring mornings on WGN back to the top. Frankly, I’m just getting started.”

Here are the top 50 stations in the Chicago metro area among listeners 6 and older followed by average audience share, according to Nielsen Audio survey for October:

1) WVAZ FM 6.5
2) WBBM AM/WCFS FM 6.2
3) WTMX FM 5.2
4) WGCI FM 4.3
5) WUSN FM 4.2
6) WDRV FM 4.1
7) WGN AM 4.0
WKSC FM 4.0
9) WBBM FM 3.8
10) WLS FM 3.5
11) WXRT FM 3.4
12) WLIT FM 3.0
13) WNUA FM 2.7
14) WILV FM 2.6
15) WLUP FM 2.5
WOJO FM 2.5
WSCR AM 2.5
18) WJMK FM 2.3
WLS AM 2.3
20) WPWX FM 2.2
21) WPPN FM 2.1
22) WKQX FM 1.7
WVIV FM 1.7
24) WLEY FM 1.6
25) WBEZ FM 1.5
WIQI FM 1.5
WMVP AM 1.5
28) WGRB AM 1.1
29) WMBI FM 1.0
WSRB FM 1.0
31) WFMT FM 0.9
32) WJKL FM 0.8
33) WLJE FM 0.6
WZSR FM 0.6
35) WERV FM 0.5
WIIL FM 0.5
37) WCPT FM 0.4
WDCB FM 0.4
WIND AM 0.4
WVON AM 0.4
WXLC AM 0.4
42) WCCQ FM 0.3
WCPT AM 0.3
WFXF FM 0.3
WMBI AM 0.3
WSSR AM 0.3
47) WCFL FM 0.2
WMIL FM 0.2
WMYX FM 0.2
WONU FM 0.2
WXRD FM 0.2
WYCA FM 0.2
WZVN FM 0.2