North East RadioWatch: May 6, 2000

Clear Channel Buys More

by Scott Fybush

Finally this week, a very quick scan through the Winter 2000 12+ Arbitrons (you can see them in full at several other industry sites, such as All Access, if you're curious)...

Working our way across the region, we'll start in BUFFALO, where news-talk WBEN successfully consolidated the audience, shooting to number one in the first book since Entercom flipped sister WGR to all-sports. Perennial leaders WYRK and WKSE followed. WMJQ was flat in its last book before becoming "Star 102," while WNUC continued to slide in its last book before being sold.

Here in ROCHESTER, the top slots looked much as they always do: WHAM in first, WBEE-FM in second, and a nice strong third place for locally-owned urban WDKX. WPXY is still winning the CHR war, with WKGS closing in slowly. WEZO's numbers dropped substantially, with most of the lost listenership ending up at new competitor WLGZ, which cracked a 1.0 for the first time with its new format.

SYRACUSE's WBBS stayed in first place, followed by news-talk WSYR and a strong WNTQ (holding its lead in the Salt City CHR wars). It was also a very good book for rocker WKRL/WKRH.

Country also dominated in ALBANY, with WGNA staying in first place despite a slight ratings drop. WFLY was strong in second. Further down the book, the reshuffling of Albany's rock lineup found WQBK/WQBJ edging closer to soon to be ex-sister station WPYX. Switching to smooth jazz boosted ratings at WZMR, while the temporary switch to holiday music seemed to hurt WKLI. Our interest, though, was in Albany's AM standards battle, which found the revived WPTR shooting from nowhere to a 1.5 in one book, followed very closely by competitor WUAM/WVKZ (and this with a signal that doesn't even cover Albany itself very well!)

Downstate in NASSAU/SUFFOLK, it was more of the same for AC WALK-FM, which was followed by New York's WXRK and WHTZ, then by CHR WBLI, and in fifth place, the standards simulcast of WHLI and WGSM.

HARTFORD's WTIC(AM) led the pack, followed by perennial leaders WRCH, WKSS, and WWYZ.

PROVIDENCE's book found WPRO-FM and WWLI tied for first, followed by WSNE, WHJY, and WCTK. In its last book before being sold to Boston's WFNX, WWRX finished far out of the top 10. Also sliding precipitously were talker WLKW, which lost two-thirds of its audience in the year since dropping standards (although we suspect the demographics are better now), and rocker WHKK/WHCK in its last book before that format change to "Z100".

SPRINGFIELD was led again by WPKX's country format, followed by WHYN-FM, WMAS-FM, WAQY, and Hartford-market WKSS (ironically doing far better than Clear Channel sister WHMP-FM in WHMP's own market!)

More next week...see you then!

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