For the first time in a year, Western New York radio listeners have made the local country music offering their No. 1 choice on the dial.
In ratings released July 30 by Arbitron for spring 2009, WYRK 106.5 FM posted a 10.3 rating, meaning that 10.3 percent of local listeners had that station on in any given 15-minute period.
That pushed WYRK ahead of news talk station WBEN 930 AM (9.6 rating), which had been atop the ratings since last summer. The station’s rating dropped from 10.3 in winter 2009.
WYRK last topped the ratings in spring 2008, when the station posted a staggering 11.8 rating. Either WYRK or WBEN has been the No. 1 station in Western New York for most of the decade.
Making a huge leap to No. 3 was top 40 station WKSE 98.5 FM, which posted a 7.3 rating in spring – up from 5.5 in winter. Rounding out the top five were urban contemporary station WBLK 93.7 FM (6.6 rating) and classic rock station WGRF 96.9 FM.
WKSE’s ratings spike was by far the biggest for the spring quarter, with adult hits station WBUF 92.9 FM jumping 0.6 points to 4.7 (good for seventh place). Nearly every other station held steady or saw ratings decline, with WBLK (a drop of 1.3 percentage points) and adult contemporary station WJYE 96.1 FM (down from a 6.4 rating to a 5.6) among the biggest quarter-to-quarter losers.
Also losing listeners was sports talk station WGR 550 AM. Thanks in large part to another lackluster Buffalo Sabres season (the station broadcasts the hockey team’s games) that saw the team miss the playoffs, the station’s ratings dropped from 4.1 in winter to 3.3 in spring (good for 11th place). That number traditionally creeps upward in summer, when Bills training camp begins, before surging in the fall, when football, hockey and basketball kick off their seasons.
WGR has simulcasted some of its programming, such as the “Schopp and the Bulldog Show,” in Rochester since September. WGR registered a 0.4 rating in Rochester for the spring quarter. The station failed to register a rating in Rochester for winter but posted a 0.6 rating there in fall, thanks largely to the station’s extensive Bills coverage.
Lockport-based news talk station WLVL held steady with a 0.4 rating.
Here are the top five Buffalo-Niagara radio stations for the spring quarter, along with their ratings and improvement from the winter quarter:
1. WYRK, 10.3 (+0.4)
2. WBEN, 9.6 (-0.7)
3. WKSE, 7.3 (+1.8)
4. WBLK, 6.6 (-1.3)
5. WGRF, 6.1 (-0.3)