WINTER BOOK GOOD FOR TOP-40 STATIONS
Results of Tucson's first Arbitron radio ratings period for 2013 were released last week, and while the status quo remained in play, Tucson's competing top-40 stations delivered some of the most improved numbers in the market.
According to Arbitron's 12-plus tally, the familiar players landed in the top three. Cumulus country music station KIIM FM 99.5 FM placed first with a 9.8 share and Journal Broadcasting's KMXZ 94.9 FM was second with an 8.2. Clear Channel linchpin KRQQ 93.7 FM, more commonly known as KRQ, placed third with a 7.9.
That's pretty much how the ratings have been for years, but most noteworthy is KRQ's possible return to stability. The top-40 station had been trending downward for a number of books, and bottomed in the fall 2012 ratings period with a 6.1 share. While still good for third in the market, it was the lowest ratings number KRQ had generated in recent memory.
Based on the winter 2013 numbers, that may have been a fluke. The 7.9 matched KRQ's 12-plus share from spring 2012. The station registered a 7.6 for the summer 2012 book.
However, top-40 competitor KSZR 97.5 FM may be making a bit of a move. The lower-frequency signal, which flipped formats from Bob FM a little more than a year ago, jumped from 2.2 to 2.8, its best number in the new format and good for a tie for 10th in the market with Clear Channel musical milquetoast format KMIY 92.9 FM.
If Cumulus' so-called i97.5 can continue the uptick, it might give Clear Channel some hope with its newest market player. Clear Channel basically borrowed from the Cumulus playbook when it flipped its simulcast news/talker KNST 97.1 FM to Wild Country, using a signal with less reach and no history in the market to attempt to cut into KIIM's country music monopoly.
It's hard to tell whether i97.5 is really having any significant impact on KRQ—KRQ's numbers had been in the mid- to high-7 range long before 97.5 made the format change—but it might indicate that some level of competition is viable, even against long-standing legacy stations.
Clear Channel led the way with four stations in the top 10 (or top 11, since KMIY and KSZR tied for 10th) while the Cumulus and Lotus radio clusters occupied three spots apiece.
ODDITY NO LONGER COMMONPLACE IN STAR
The Arizona Daily Star announced last week it is bringing to an end its popular Tucson Oddity feature, which ran on Mondays. After four years, it appears Tucson is finally Odditied out.
"We ended Oddity as a weekly feature because the past few months, the tips and ideas we were getting for stories had not been at the level we think helped make it so popular," Star metro editor Hipolito Corella said via email. "Were still taking readers' ideas and will write Oddity stories, when we can."
Translation: Readers, shame on you for taking the time to submit sucky ideas.
Oddity proved to be something of a boon for the paper. The feature brought in readers and spawned two books.