Final Portland Metro Radio Ratings Released
The last of the “old” Portland ratings: The Arbitron ratings for the Portland market for spring 2011 have been released, and although the company hasn’t made them available to anyone except its subscribers, stations that did well aren’t shy about leaking the results. These numbers represent the final book for the Portland market as currently constituted. Starting this fall, the survey area will be expanded from just Cumberland County to Cumberland, Androscoggin, Oxford, Sagadahoc and northern York counties. That will increase the potential radio audience in the area to over 850,000 people, making Portland the nation’s 89th-largest market.
Before we get to the numbers, a clarification: Arbitron is something of a dinosaur when it comes to surveying what people actually listen to. Its ratings are limited to terrestrial broadcast radio, ignoring satellite and Internet stations, both of which probably grab a major share of the audience, here and elsewhere. Samplings in major markets earlier this summer indicated that outlets such as Pandora would have taken the number one spot in many cities if they were included.
I hope there were champagne toasts and bonus checks at WGAN (560 AM) yesterday. The news-talk station was the big gainer in the Portland metro area survey (Portland and the immediate suburbs), jumping from a 7.2 average quarter-hour share (the percentage of listeners tuned in for at least five minutes in an average fifteen-minute segment) in last fall’s survey to an 8.8. That was good enough to earn WGAN second place behind contemporary hit radio WJBQ (97.9 FM), which got a 9.2, down from 10.1 in the fall.
The rest of the top ten: public station WMEA (90.1 FM) took third with an 8.5 share, followed by classic hits WFNK (107.5 FM) with a 6.2, classic rocker WBLM (102.9 FM) and classic hits WYNZ (100.9 FM) tied for fifth with a 5.8, country WPOR (101.9 FM) at 5.4, easy listening WHOM (94.9 FM) and sports-talk WJJB (96.3 FM) tied for eighth with 4.6, and WMGX (93.1 FM) with a 4.2.
The big loser in this rating book was country WTHT (99.9 FM) which lost nearly two points and fell out of the top ten.
In the total survey area for Portland, which included listeners in all of Cumberland County and vicinity, there were some slight changes from the metro numbers. WMEA took the number one slot (8.2 share), followed by WBLM, WJBQ, WHOM, WFNK, WTHT, WPOR, WGAN and a three-way tie for ninth among WMGX, hard rocker WTOS (105.1 FM) and contemporary hit radio WMME (92.3 FM). WGAN’s slip is probably attributable to its weak signal outside Greater Portland.
No big changes in L-A: As noted above, there’ll be changes in local markets this fall, meaning this is the last rating book from Arbitron for the tiny Lewiston-Auburn area (ranked number 272 in the nation with a population of 90,400). L-A is being absorbed into the Portland market in future surveys. One of the obvious reasons for that change is that Portland stations already own most of the Twin Cities’ listeners.
In the latest book for spring 2011, WTHT partially redeems its poor showing in Portland by again holding the top spot with a 13.8 share, although that’s down a bit from the last two books, which saw “The Wolf” grab 16 shares.
No one station benefited from THT’s decline, with runner-up WJBQ pulling an 11.9, down over a point from last fall’s figures, but maintaining about the same number of listeners as a year ago.
The rest of the top ten: WFNK at 11, WBLM at 9.2, WHOM at 6.4, WPOR at 4.6, WTOS – the biggest drawing station not based in Portland – at 4.6, classic hits WABK (104.3 FM) at 2.8, WGAN at 2.8 and adult alternative WCLZ (98.9 FM) at 1.8.
The Lewiston-Auburn ratings don’t include noncommercial stations, such as those of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, but with about 15 percent of the audience unaccounted for in Arbitron’s numbers, it’s likely MPBN would have been among the top three in the market, as it is in much of the state.
The buzz in Bangor: Like Portland, the Bangor ratings were embargoed by Arbitron, but here they are, anyway.
There’s a new leader in the Bangor metro numbers. Contemporary hit radio WBZN (107.3 FM) jumped from third to first with a 12.1 share. That pushed former top-rated WQCB (106.5 FM), a country station to second with an 11.7.
They were followed by rocker WKIT (100.3 FM), WTOS, talker WVOM (103.9 FM), classic hits WWMJ (95.7 FM), the combined total of MPBN’s two stations that can be heard in the area, country WBFB (104.7 FM) and easy listening WEZQ (92.9 FM).
In the total survey area for Bangor, which includes Penobscot County and parts of several surrounding counties, MPBN dominated with a whopping 11.4 share, nearly three points better than runner-up WQCB. After that, it was WBZN, WKIT, WVOM, WTOS, WBFB and WMME.
The secrets of Augusta-Waterville: Arbitron released its ratings for this market only to those who paid to get them. So far, nobody has leaked them to me, but if they do, you’ll be the first to know.
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com.