CLARK SMIDT, Broadcast Advisor
November 30, 2023. Love That Dirty Water. Greater Boston has been my home since 1970, after the University of Hartford, CT Radio/TV and growing up in New York City. Many great, talented folks, formats, radio stations, and traditions have evolved in Boston: The All-Time New England Break Out Trend Setter for Radio, management, and musical talent. With no harm nor foul intended, here is the November 2023 Boston PPM Update (October 12-November 8), released November 29. No Holiday impact, yet. Please stay tuned for December (November 9-Dec 6) & Holiday numbers (December 7-Jan 3). Demographics tell the sales story. Here are the total audience average quarter-hour shares and weekly cumes:
BOSTON (Market 10) Population: 4,413,400. Hispanic 12%; Urban 8%.
OCTOBER-NOVEMBER CLUSTERS: 1. Beasley 26.2-24.9 2. iHeart 23.4-24.0. 3. Audacy 17.4-17.1. 4. Non-Commercial Stations 14.1-15.1 Leading gain & dipper for October-November: Boston University News/Talk +1.0, #2 share, #9 cume. Beasley Hot A/C WBQT -0.7, Ties for #12 share, #8 cume.
BOSTON RADIO STATIONS October-November, pre-Holiday fluctuations:
1-1. WBZ/FM Beasley Sports. 7.8-10.9-10.7. #4 cume 625-617k. Commanding 4.3 share lead over second-place WBUR. Staff shake ups but still the big winner with Boston Sports over all formats.
3-2. WBUR Boston University News/Talk. 5.4-5.5.4-6.4. +1.0 big one full share gain with significant News/Talk interest. #10-9 cume 398-482k. Great TSL (Time Spent Listening).
2-3. WMJX Audacy A/C. 7.0-5.3-5.5. #1 cume 722-801k. Always on top with Christmas, but the holiday music didn’t start until Thanksgiving week.
TIE 6-4. WZLX iHeart Classic Rock. 5.1-4.6-5.5. #7-6 cume with a steady 508k. Strong with added familiarity and lasting brand. 6 Boston stations (ranked #3-7) are within an 0.6 share, 5.5-4.9.
4-5. WROR Audacy Classic Hits. 5.0-5.3-5.2. #3 cume holds despite total audience slip 887-638k. Predictable playlist holds its own, while WZLX moves ahead. Beasly & iHeart clusters are 0.9 apart!
8-6. WBZ-AM. iHeart News/Talk. 3.8-4.5-5.0, +0.5. #12-11 cume 370-393k. Iconic Boston Tradition. Great Service is Traffic on the 3’s. Well done presentation for Boston’s a highly active news city.
5-TIE 7: WXKS iHeart CHR. 4.8-4.9-4.9. Keeps #2 cume at the same 705k. Big iHeart music events and promotions. Jingle Ball hasn’t kicked in, yet.
TIE 6-TIE 7: WWBX Audacy Hot A/C. 4.3-4.6-4.9, +0.3. Holding #5 cume 544-523k. Great demos keep 104.1 FM competitive.
12-9. WGBH News/Talk. 3.6-3.8-3.9. #16-14 cume 305-337k. Great resources and facilities with WGBH-TV Channel 2. Trails # 2 share WBUR by 2.5.
9-TIE 10: WKLB. Beasley Country 4.6-3.9-3.6. #9-12 cume 400-367k. Music curation and information can contribute to a win.
11-TIE 10: WEEI-FM. Audacy Sports. 4.2-3.8-3.6. #15 cume 341-317k. Fighting hard but WBZ/FM almost triples the EEI/FM share and almost doubles the cume. Forget national sports formats.
10-TIE 12: WBQT. Beasley Hot A/C. 3.2-3.8-3.1, -0.7. Still #8 cume 498-497k. Not cheap to keep. Good Personality. Tune-outs are starting to appear.
13-TIE 12: WBGB Audacy Adult Hits. 3.0-3.0-3.1. #6-7 cume 511-504k. Wide playlist. Variety upbeat automation that could do much more.
TIE 16-14: WRKO-AM iHeart Talk. 2.8-2.3-2.5. #21-22 cume 120-123k. Well sustained. Kudos to iHeart for growing this big Boston AM signal! Besides the ties at #10 & #12, 7 stations (#14-#20) are within just an 0.5 share and within 1.6 of being a Top 10 contender.
15-15. WXRV Northeast Adult Alternative. 2.1-2.4-2.4. #14-16 cume 316-305k. Could be huge in 3 Metros. Big signal. I’m a P1 from the CBS WEEI/FM Softrock days.
20-16. WCRB Public WGBH Classical. 1.7-2.1-2.3. #18-19 cume 231k flat. Good but not good enough. I’m no classical music expert but enjoy familiar masterpieces.
TIE 16-17: WBOS Beasley Classic Rock. 2.6-2.3-2.2. #13 cume 380-344k. Big potential. Detroit based Morning Show is interesting. It wouldn’t cost much to double the shares.
14-18 TIE: WBWL iHeart Country. 3.5-2.7-2.1, -0.6. #17-18 cume 245-260k. Signal, format, execution. Hard to say what the magic bullet is other than added coverage.
TIE 16-TIE 18: WERS Emerson College Adult Alternative. 1.9-2.3-2.1. #19-21 cume 199-171k. Good share for a university station. Important to hear Colleges embrace and encourage radio.
20-20: WJMN iHeart. Rhythmic CHR. 2.5-2.3.-2.0, -0.3. Staying 20-20 isn’t perfect vision or hearing. #12-10 cume 372-401k Top 10 cume! A New Year’s Resolution I’d sure like to have. Big signal!
21-21. WXLO. Cumulus Hot A/C Worcester. 1.2-1.4-1.5. #15-17 cume 305-291k. Another big regional signal with solid potential to differentiate.
22-22. WZRM iHeart Spanish Tropical. 1.1-1.3-1.3. #20 cume. 174-176k. Could be missing the significant audience target (12% in Boston) or just hasn’t found the best niche for the signal.
23-23. WXKS-AM. iHeart Talk. 0.6-0.8-0.8. #25-26 cume. 28-25K. Important to have local talk, currently carries mostly syndication. Could add local service to assist WBZ-AM & WRKO-AM.
25-24. WNNW-AM. Costa-Eagle Spanish Tropical. 0.3-0.3-0.3. #23 cume, 62-60k
24-25. WUMB UMass Variety. 0.3-0.5-0.4 #24-25 cume. 26-34k. Very well engineered UMass Radio Network. President Marty could take more advantage of the radio reach and benefits.
26-27. WCTK Hall Communications Country. 0.3-0.2-0.2. #23-24 cume 61-48k cume. WCTK had the Providence October #1 share with a 9.3.
TIED at 28 Share @ 0.1: WVMX-AM Costa-Eagle Classic Hits. #27 cume 16k. WBGB Stream Audacy Adult Hits #28 cume 13k. WCCM-AM Costa-Eagle Spanish CHR. #29 cume 9k. WRCA-AM Beasley Business News #30 cume 8k cume. 48 Stations additional are non-subscribers.
Radio is valuable and reaches the masses. Federal Communications Commission licensed radio stations offer a tremendous public service in Boston and every broadcast market. Radio stays on in emergencies and delivers irreplaceable information, service and entertainment. Radio is now heard on more receivers than ever before. While Podcasts are bringing many people and subjects into the fold, my money’s on Licensed Radio.
Please allow me to offer a special remembrance to Mary Pat Cashman who very sadly left us the night before Thanksgiving. Exceptional Person, Wonderful Woman. Boston’s KISS 108 General Sales Manager and Original General Manager of WBOS. Always in our hearts. God Bless.
Here’s to The Happiest, Healthy & Safe Holidays.