New Radio Ratings For Maine Are Out
New Arbitron radio ratings for Maine’s three markets were released this week, although only the Augusta-Waterville survey was made public. The Portland and Bangor numbers are available only to clients of the rating company, but Lou Morin, director of marketing and public relations for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, made them available to me.
Unfortunately, some of these figures may not be accurate. Arbitron notified its clients on Jan. 24 that it had discovered an error in its calculations that will take some time to correct. It’s not clear how significant this problem is, but until further notice, all these figures are subject to change.
Portland: With the merger last year of the Portland and Lewiston-Auburn markets, this is now the 90th largest survey area in the United States, with more than half-a-million potential radio listeners. Of course, a lot of those folks aren’t paying any attention to terrestrial broadcasting, having defected to Pandora and similar Internet services or to satellite channels, none of which are surveyed by Arbitron. But of the old-fashioned types who still get their music and talk over the air, here’s what they were tuning in to hear in the fall of 2011.
1. WMEA (90.1 FM). No wonder Morin is eager to spread the word. MPBN’s Portland station pulled a 7.2 share (that’s the percentage of all listeners aged twelve and over tuned in during an average quarter hour) to dominate the ratings in the total survey area, which covers Cumberland, part of York, Oxford, Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties.
2. WJBQ (97.9 FM). The top 40 station pulled a 6.7 share to lead all commercial stations.
3. WHOM (94.9 FM). The easy listening powerhouse covers a wider area with its signal than most stations, which helped boost it to a 6.0 share.
4. WTHT (99.9 FM). For years, this country station struggled to gain traction in metro Portland, but dominated in Lewiston and more rural areas. This year, it did well both places for an overall 5.9.
5. WBLM (102.9 FM). Classic rock and a solid signal translate into a 5.6.
6. WFNK (107.5 FM). Frank can’t quite catch the Blimp. A 4.9.
7. WPOR (101.9 FM). In Greater Portland, this country station has been a powerhouse for a long time. This year, not quite so much, with a 4.3.
8. WTOS (105.1 FM). Doesn’t get much penetration in Portland itself, but to the north this hard-rock outlet is a factor with a 2.9 share.
9. WGAN (560 AM). The talk station pulled a 2.7, most of it in Portland and vicinity, because its AM signal fades rapidly elsewhere.
10. WYNZ (100.9 FM). Big Hits radio has a big reach, which gets it to a 2.6.
When the numbers are limited to Greater Portland alone, WJBQ finished first (7.9 share), followed by WTHT (7.6), WMEA (7.0), WBLM (6.8), WHOM (6.7), WPOR (6.2), WFNK (5.8), WYNZ (4.0), WGAN (3.6) and alt-rocker WCYY (94.3 FM) with a 3.4.
Overall, the top gainer in this book was WTHT, while WGAN looks like the biggest loser, not unusual for a news-talk station in a non-election year.
Bangor: The 220th biggest radio market in the U.S.A. (one up on Tuscaloosa, one down on Santa Barbara and St. Cloud) looked like this when the survey was taken last autumn.
In the total market area (Penobscot County and environs) and in the Bangor metro area, the result is the same. Country WQCB (106.5 FM) is a monster with a 12.4 share in the former and a 15.8 share in the latter.
Maine Public Radio (WMEH-FM and WMEA-FM combined) takes second place with an 8.3 in the total area. In Greater Bangor, the public stations manage only a 5.4, good for a tie for seventh.
Stephen King’s WKIT (100.3 FM) holds third place (8.0 share) in the big picture and fourth place (7.4 share) in the smaller one.
The rest of the top ten in the total survey: country WBFB (97.1 FM) with a 5.4, rocker WTOS (105.1 FM) gets a 5.0, talker WVOM (103.9 FM) and classic hits WWMJ (95.7 FM) hit 4.8, contemporary hits WBZN (107.3 FM) pulls a 4.6, and soft rock WNSX (97.7) has a 3.0.
It’s a little different in the Bangor metro, with WBZN taking second with a solid 9.4, followed by WBFB (7.9), WKIT and WWMJ (both 7.4), soft rocker WEZQ (92.9 FM) at 5.9, WVOM (5.4), WTOS (4.5), contemporary hits WKSQ (94.5 FM) pulls a 3.5 and community nonprofit WERU (99.9 FM) gets a surprising 2.0.
Augusta-Waterville: The Fall 2011 figures for the nation’s 264th largest market underwent a significant change from the last rating period in 2010. The biggest shift was the top-rated station in the last three surveys, classic hits WABK (104.3 FM), fell precipitously to fourth place with an anemic 7.8 average quarter-hour share, down from 10.9 a year ago. The new leader in the mid-Maine market is country WEBB (98.5 FM), which gained over two points to 11.6 to move up from second place last year. Contemporary hit WMME (92.3 FM) finished at number two with a 10.1 share, up from 8.8 in 2010. Hard-rocker WTOS (105.1 FM) muscled its way into the third spot at 8.5.
The rest of the top ten:
5. WBLM (102.9 FM), 7.0 share
6. WFNK (107.5 FM), 5.4
7. WTHT (99.9 FM), 4.7
8. (tie) WHOM (94.9 FM), WFMX (107.9 FM), WVQM (101.3 FM), all at 3.9
These numbers are the only ones in Maine that were publicly released by Arbitron and don’t include noncommercial stations. If they did, MPBN would undoubtedly show up among the market leaders as it did in the other two markets.
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com.