Chicago radio ratings: It’s crowded at the top

Steve Seaver

A three-way tie for first place in afternoon drive pretty well sums up how tightly compacted the Chicago radio scene has become.

Nielsen Audio figures released Tuesday show afternoon personalities Steve Seaver of Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM, Ron Parker of Cumulus Media classic hits WLS 94.7-FM, and Joe Soto of iHeartMedia urban adult-contemporary WVAZ 102.7-FM tied for the top spot in the August survey. That’s never happened before.

Those three stations also led the market overall, with V103 finishing first, followed by The Drive and 94.7 WLS.

Morning drive continued to be commanded by Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM. The Mix’s Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch also dominated among listeners between 25 and 54 — the group most sought by advertisers.

David Haugh’s first month as morning co-host with Mike Mulligan on Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM coincided with a modest increase. The Score tied for seventh place in mornings with Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM, hosted by Steve Cochran.

It was another great month for Me-TV FM, Weigel Broadcasting’s soft rock/oldies WRME 87.7-FM, which posted its highest total audience share ever and again finished in the top 10 in middays, afternoons and evenings.

The biggest head-scratcher in the survey was the inexplicable leap by WMBI 90.1-FM, the Moody Bible Institute Christian ministry flagship. The station not only nearly doubled its overall audience, but it jumped from 32nd to 10th place in evenings with a 600 percent increase in share. Perhaps it was divine intervention.

The Nielsen Audio survey ran from July 19 to August 15.

Here are Chicago’s top 30 radio stations from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday, as measured by Nielsen Audio in August, followed by format and average share of listeners age 6 and older (with July share in parentheses):

1. WVAZ 102.7-FM urban adult contemporary, 6.0 (6.1)
2. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 5.5 (4.9)
3. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 5.3 (4.9)
4. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 4.9 (4.8)
5. WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 4.8 (4.0)
6. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 4.6 (4.6)
7. WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 3.8 (3.7)
8. WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 3.5 (3.4)
9. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.4 (3.7)
10. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip hop, 3.3 (3.9); WUSN 99.5-FM country, 3.3 (3.9)
12. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 3.2 (3.3)
13. (tie) WGCI 107.5-FM urban contemporary, 3.0 (3.0); WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 3.0 (3.0)
15. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 2.9 (3.1)
16. WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 2.8 (2.7)
17. (tie) WGN 720-AM news talk, 2.5 (3.0); WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.5 (2.7)
19. WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.4 (2.8)
20. WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 2.2 (2.4)
21. WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 2.1 (2.4)
22. WEBG 95.5-FM country, 1.8 (1.7)
23. (tie) WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.7 (1.7); WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.7 (0.9); WPWX 92.3-FM urban contemporary, 1.7 (2.2)
26. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.4 (1.3)
27. (tie) WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 1.0 (1.0); WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 1.0 (1.2)
29. WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian, 0.9 (1.3)
30. WERV 95.9-FM classic hits, 0.8 (0.8)

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 morning shows from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen Audio in August, followed by host and average share of listeners age 6 and older (with July share in parentheses):

1. WTMX 101.9-FM Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch 7.7 (7.1)
2. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy 6.9 (6.6)
3. WVAZ 102.7-FM Steve Harvey 5.7 (5.5)
4. WOJO 105.1-FM Raúl Molinar, Carla Medrano and Andrés Maldonado 5.6 (5.1)
5. (tie) WDRV 97.1-FM Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle 5.2 (4.7); WLS 94.7-FM Dave Fogel and Kim Berk 5.2 (4.1)
7. (tie) WGN 720-AM Steve Cochran 4.0 (4.7); WSCR 670-AM Mike Mulligan and David Haugh 4.0 (3.9)
9. WXRT 93.1-FM Lin Brehmer 3.7 (4.1)
10. WKSC 103.5-FM Christopher “Fred” Frederick and Angi Taylor 3.0 (2.9)

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 midday shows from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen Audio in August, followed by host and average share of listeners age 6 and older (with July share in parentheses):

1. WLS 94.7-FM Greg Brown 6.3 (5.8)
2. WDRV 97.1-FM Bob Stroud 5.7 (5.1)
3. WVAZ 102.7-FM Bioncé Foxx 5.5 (5.7)
4. WOJO 105.1-FM Rafael “El Primo Rafa” Bautista 5.0 (4.0)
5. WTMX 101.9-FM Lisa Allen 4.4 (4.3)
6. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Cisco Cotto and Kris Kridel 4.1 (4.1)
7. WRME 87.7-FM, 3.9 (4.0)
8. WLIT 93.9-FM Robin Rock 3.6 (3.8)
9. (tie) WSHE 100.3-FM Lisa Kosty 3.4 (3.2); WUSN 99.5-FM Drew Walker 3.4 (3.9); WXRT 93.1-FM Terri Hemmert; Marty Lennartz 3.4 (3.9)

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 afternoon shows from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen Audio in August, followed by host and average share of listeners age 6 and older (with July share in parentheses):

1. (tie) WDRV 97.1-FM Steve Seaver 5.1 (5.0); WLS 94.7-FM Ron Parker 5.1 (4.9); WVAZ 102.7-FM Joe Soto 5.1 (5.7)
4. WOJO 105.1-FM Sylvia del Valle, Jose Gutierrez and Carlos Ivan Paez 4.8 (3.8)
5. WTMX 101.9-FM Kevin “Koz” Koske and Jennifer Roberts 4.5 (4.9)
6. WRME 87.7-FM, 4.1 (4.1)
7. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Kris Kridel and Keith Johnson 3.9 (3.8)
8. WUSN 99.5-FM Mike Kasper 3.8 (4.5)
9. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM Sean “Sonic” Leckie 3.5 (3.7); WKSC 103.5-FM Brady Broski 3.5 (3.7)

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 evening shows from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen Audio in August, followed by host and average share of listeners age 6 and older (with July share in parentheses):

1. WVAZ 102.7-FM Chris Michaels 7.0 (7.5)
2. WDRV 97.1-FM Phil Manicki 5.4 (4.2)
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Mariam Sobh; Bob Conway 5.3 (5.1)
4. WLS 94.7-FM Tom O’Toole; Danny Lake 4.9 (4.4)
5. WSCR 670-AM Laurence Holmes; Julie DiCaro; Chicago Cubs baseball 4.7 (4.4)
6. WBMX 104.3-FM Julian Jumpin’ Perez 4.5 (4.4)
7. WRME 87.7-FM, 4.3 (3.9)
8. WGCI 107.5-FM DJ MoonDawg (Michael Muniz) 4.2 (4.3)
9. WOJO 105.1-FM Karen “La Coqueta” Duran 3.8 (3.6)
10. WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry 3.5 (0.5)

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Jim Wyman: I have a sneaking suspicion that blaming the media will not work for the Catholic Church this time.