Ratings by Lewis Lazare

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Posted by Diane Devereaux on January 26, 2011 at 02:11:29:

Chicagoans really loved holiday music format
Lewis Lazare
Media & Marketing Columnist
Last Modified: Jan 25, 2011 09:47PM

Chicago radio listeners’ love for holiday music propelled Clear Channel Radio Chicago’s adult contemporary WLIT-FM (93.9) and its seasonal holiday music format to the top of rating charts in the Arbitron holiday book released Tuesday.

Wedged in between the December and January books, the holiday book covers an atypical ratings period when major talent at many stations are on vacation, and listener habits vary from the norm because of so many Christmas and New Year’s-related events.

But without fail, the holidays have proven a huge — yet fleeting — windfall for WLIT, which gives listeners a round-the-clock menu of holiday music for a set number of weeks. The draw of the holiday music format on WLIT was so strong this season that the station not only topped the ratings, but beat out its nearest competitor, Clear Channel Radio Chicago’s urban adult contemporary WVAZ-FM (102.7), by nearly seven share points in the key 25- to 54-year-old demo advertisers covet.

The dominance of WLIT’s holiday music in all time periods also pushed top-rated WTMX-FM (101.9) morning drive hosts Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart into second place.

Though WLIT pummelled all contenders in the holiday book, the station, as expected, began to fall fast from its top rung as soon as the holiday music ended immediately after Christmas. As recently as the November book, WLIT was in ninth place, while the station tied for 11th place in the rankings in the October book.

Clear Channel Radio Chicago’s Top 40 WKSC-FM (103.5) also made a surprise appearance among the Top 10 stations, bolstered by especially strong numbers in afternoon drive and evening time slots. The station has just introduced a new morning drive show headed by Brotha’ Fred, an import from Charlotte, N.C., that management hopes will lift ratings in that important time slot, where the station currently ranks 20th.

The rest of the top 10 stations in the holiday book included many familiar outlets, including all-news WBBM-AM (780), which won’t be able to count on a Chicago Bears boost again until next football season.

With the city’s attention focused so much on the Bears in recent weeks, the two news/talk outlets, WLS-AM (890) and WGN-AM (720) were not able to get much traction. WLS-AM and WGN-AM could do no better than a tie for 22nd place in the rankings in the holiday book.

Classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9), which adjusted its format last weekend to include more big hits from the classic rock era between 1967 and 1990, moved up a notch in the holiday book to 16th place from a 17th ranking in December.

The top 10 Chicago radio stations in the Arbitron Holiday Book in 25-to-54 adult demo:

1. WLIT-FM (93.9) adult contemporary

2. WVAZ-FM (102.7) urban adult contemporary

3. WDRV-FM (97.1) classic hits

4. WTMX-FM (101.9) hot adult contemporary

5. WXRT-FM (93.1) adult rock

6. WOJO-FM (105.1) Regional Mexican music

7. WGCI-FM (107.5) urban contemporary

8. WBBM-AM (780) all news

9. WKSC-FM (103.5) Top 40

10. WBBM-FM (96.3) Top 40

10. WUSN-FM (99.5) country

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