Chicago radio ratings: Lite FM sets record with Christmas music

Mick Lee, Edison the Reindeer, Melissa Forman, Robin Rock and Jim Gronemann

More than 2.5 million listeners in the Chicago area tuned to WLIT 93.9-FM in the final weeks of 2021 as the iHeartMedia adult contemporary station culminated its 21st consecutive year as “The Holiday Lite.”

As expected, Lite FM swept the ratings by a huge margin, according to Nielsen Audio figures released Tuesday for the so-called holiday book, covering the period from December 9 to January 5. Around-the-clock Christmas music began airing November 3.

In addition to dominating the market overall, the station topped mornings with Melissa Forman, middays with Robin Rock, afternoons with Mick Lee and evenings with the syndicated Delilah Rene.

Among all listeners, Lite FM posted a 14.4 percent audience share — the highest for any station in Chicago in any ratings period since 1975, according to Radio Insight analyst Chris Huff.

The station also won across the board among listeners between 25 and 54 — the demographic most sought by advertisers.

The latest survey coincided with final full month on the air for Pat Cassidy, who signed off December 30 as morning news anchor at WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, the Audacy all-news combo. Cassidy retired after more than 50 years on Chicago radio — including the last 21 at WBBM Newsradio.

Here are Chicago’s top 30 radio stations from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday, as measured by Nielsen Audio from December 9 to January 5, followed by format and average quarter-hour share of listeners age 6 and older (with previous month’s share in parentheses):

1. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 14.4 (11.8)
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM R&B, 5.9 (5.1)
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 5.6 (5.7)
4. (tie) WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 4.8 (5.1); WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 4.8 (4.0)
6. WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 3.7 (3.6)
7. WGN 720-AM news talk, 3.5 (3.7)
8. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 3.1 (3.8)
9. (tie) WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.9 (2.7); WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 2.9 (4.4)
11. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 2.8 (3.5)
12. (tie) WGCI 107.5-FM hip-hop, 2.5 (2.0); WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 2.5 (2.8); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.5 (2.9)
15. (tie) WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.3 (2.4); WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip-hop, 2.3 (2.7); WCHI 95.5-FM rock, 2.3 (2.1)
18. WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.0 (2.5)
19. (tie) WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 1.8 (2.0); WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 1.8 (1.6)
21. (tie) WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 1.7 (1.1); WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 1.7 (1.7)
23. WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 1.5 (1.6)
24. (tie) WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 1.1 (1.2); WPWX 92.3-FM hip-hop, 1.1 (1.1)
26. (tie) WLS 890-AM news talk, 0.9 (0.8); WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 0.9 (1.0)
28. (tie) WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian music, 0.8 (0.7); WSRB 106.3-FM R&B, 0.8 (0.7)
30. WXLC 102.3-FM hot adult contemporary, 0.6 (0.6)

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 morning shows from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen:

1. WLIT 93.9-FM Melissa Forman
2. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Pat Cassidy
3. WVAZ 102.7-FM Steve Harvey
4. WBEZ 91.5-FM “Morning Edition”; “BBC Newshour”
5. WOJO 105.1-FM Raúl Molinar, Carla Medrano and Andrés Maldonado
6. WGN 720-AM Bob Sirott
7. WDRV 97.1-FM Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle
8. WLS 94.7-FM Dave Fogel and Kim Berk
9. WKSC 103.5-FM Christopher “Fred” Frederick and Kristie Graybill
10. WTMX 101.9-FM Nikki Chuminatto, Brian Paruch and Violeta Podrumedic

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 midday shows from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen:

1. WLIT 93.9-FM Robin Rock
2. WDRV 97.1-FM Bob Stroud
3. (tie) WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Cisco Cotto; WVAZ 102.7-FM Bioncé Foxx
5. WGN 720-AM John Williams; Anna Davlantes
6. WOJO 105.1-FM Rafael “El Primo Rafa” Bautista
7. (tie) WBEZ 91.5-FM “1A”; “Reset”; “Fresh Air”; WLS 94.7-FM Erin Carman
9. WXRT 93.1-FM Lin Brehmer
10. WRME 87.7-FM

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 afternoon shows from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen:

1. WLIT 93.9-FM Mick Lee
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM Joe Soto
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Keith Johnson and Lisa Fielding
4. WDRV 97.1-FM Steve Seaver and Janda Lane
5. WBEZ 91.5-FM “All Things Considered”; “Marketplace”
6. WOJO 105.1-FM Sylvia del Valle
7. WPPN 106.7-FM Maria Esther “La Chula” Mendez and Poncho “La Bestia” Mercado
8. WTMX 101.9-FM Chris Petlak and Lisa Allen
9. WKSC 103.5-FM Brady Broski
10. WCHI 95.5-FM Josh Klinger

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 evening shows from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen:

1. WLIT 93.9-FM Delilah Rene
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM Keith Sweat
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Bob Conway; Andy Dahn
4. WBEZ 91.5-FM “Marketplace”; “The Daily”; “Fresh Air”; “1A”; “BBC World Service”
5. WDRV 97.1-FM John “Byrd” Kempf
6. WFMT 98.7-FM Kerry Frumkin
7. WGCI 107.5-FM Zach Boog
8. WLS 94.7-FM Kid Kelly
9. WBMX 104.3-FM
10. WTMX 101.9-FM Jordan “Dash” Orman-Weiss

(Copyright © 2022 The Nielsen Company.)