North East RadioWatch: August 13, 1998

Entercom Enters Boston

by Scott Fybush

Ratings: We wrap up the Spring 12+ Arbitrons with some of the smaller markets, and let's start off in the Pine Tree state. Bangor's WQCB remains the country giant, dropping a bit but remaining on top, followed by CHR WBZN, surging rocker WKIT, and (much to our surprise) a three-way tie among nostalgia AM WABI, hot AC WKSQ, and talk WVOM. In Augusta, country also leads the pack with WEBB/WTVL, followed by CHR combo WMME/WEZW and oldies combo WABK/WIGY. Rock is on top in Portland, with WBLM remaining in first place, but country WPOR AM-FM is gaining in second. CHR WJBQ had a strong book, while the biggest drop was posted by modern-rock WCYY/WCYI. And in Lewiston/Auburn, WBLM is also number one, followed by country WTHT and standards WLAM AM/FM. Dropping sharply was AC WMWX.

Over to Vermont, where country continues to top the Burlington book. But while WOKO was a solid first-place, second place was claimed for the first time by classic rock WCPV, thanks in large part to the "Champ"'s acquisition of the "Corm and the Coach" morning show from rock rival WIZN. Despite adding Howard Stern in mornings, WIZN's ratings plummeted.

And among New York's smaller markets, we see some big changes this time out. Country WFRG still leads the Utica market, with WLZW, WOUR, WIBX, and WKLL trailing -- but in Binghamton it's a big comedown for the usual number-one country station, WHWK. "The Hawk" lost more than a third of its 12+ audience, allowing hot AC WMRV to pull ahead into first place. And while new country competitor WBBI debuted in tenth place to account for some of the lost WHWK listenership, the rest seems to have spread out along the dial, with rock WAAL and AC WMXW also gaining.

Then there's Elmira-Corning, which probably shouldn't be a single market -- and here's why: half the "market," Hornell and Bath in western Steuben county, gets no signal at all from the other half, Corning in eastern Steuben and Elmira in Chemung County. And that means that a shift in the way diaries are distributed in Steuben county can really change the numbers. At least, that's the best explanation we can come up with for the sudden massive increase in ratings for country WCKR in Hornell, which shot up from nowhere to more than quintuple its 12+ ratings and land in second place, right behind perennial market leader, CHR WNKI Corning. Also showing big gains was Bath's WVIN, while Elmira-Corning signals like CHR WLVY, country WPGI, AC WENY-FM, and oldies WGMM all dropped. We'd be most interested in hearing from folks in that market about whether our guesses are correct on this one.

And we'll close this issue with a few web notes: The WRKO history site that Shel Swartz works so hard to maintain has settled in at its new address, Stop by and listen to some of the many great airchecks archived there. And better yet, there's a happy ending to the story of John Kodis' Radio/TV Station Locator Page. It's now in beta mode at the Elliott Broadcast Services site, where it joins Elliott's own search engine for exploring the FCC database. Another new tool for manipulating the FCC data should be available in web form too, thanks to Bob Carpenter down in the Washington, DC area. We'll let you know as soon as we find out!

That's it for this week; see you again next Thursday!

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