The August Arbitron book released Friday made clear the ratings news is only getting better for the "Roe Conn with Richard Roeper Show" on news/talk WLS-AM (890). The program on the Citadel Broadcasting station catapulted into the top 10 afternoon drive programs in the market in the key 25 to 54-year-old demo, after languishing for many months many rungs further down in the ratings.
Some eight months ago WLS general manager Michael Damsky and his operations director Drew Hayes said their top priority was to revive the Roe Conn franchise -- a goal management appears to be handily accomplishing. But even as the Conn program is moving in the right direction, Damsky and Hayes still have issues to address at WLS-AM, which could do no better than a 22nd place finish overall in the August book. WLS's ranking was pulled down by weak ratings performance in the evening and on weekends, where the station is now tied for 30th in the rankings. But Damsky said he isn't overly concerned. "The media buyers make most of their ad buys during the key weekday time periods, and that's where we must be competitive," explained Damsky.
WLS-AM archrival news/talk WGN-AM (720) pretty much held steady in August in a tie for 14th place overall, though the daypart ratings breakdown indicates the Tribune Co. station took a huge hit in afternoon drive -- dropping from sixth place in July to 12th place in August. That drop is no doubt tied in part to the poor performance of the Chicago Cubs, whose games air on WGN. The ratings falloff could accelerate with the baseball season rapidly drawing to a close.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the August book was CBS Radio Chicago's Top 40 WBBM-FM (96.3), which leaped from 19th place in July to 8th place in August in the 25 to 54 demo, which isn't even the station's target demo. WBBM-FM was No. 1 in August the 18 to 34 demo, which represents its core audience. CBS Radio Chicago market manager Rod Zimmerman said the station's playlist has been tweaked recently, but he thinks a lot of the station's newfound ratings strength simply has to do with the popularity of the music the station plays and its line-up of on-air personalities.
Otherwise, the August ratings book showed a lot of the familiar top stations still going strong. Bonneville's classic hits WDRV-FM (97.1) did leapfrog over its sibling perennial front runner WTMX-FM (101.9) to claim the No. 1 spot in the rankings. The regional Mexican music powerhouse WOJO-FM (105.1), which was at the top of the rankings for a while, seems to be fading just a bit. It wound up in seventh place in the August book in the 25 to 54-year-old demo.