Thursday, January 24, 2013

Country Radio Got Run Over By A Reindeer

Inside Radio says "some Christmas gains come at country’s expense" in the latest PPM monthlies, and there's no denying that Country female fans, especially, love those Holiday tunes (as an Edison Research study for CRS-2009 indicated).
Interest may have been declining over the years as more stations have branded as "all Christmas," but it was still as 60+/40- game this last time the tactic was studied nationally.

Another interesting factoid:  every single one of the PPM-rated country stations in markets where there are two country stations was down in the latest monthly, as of yesterday's monthly.

In Seattle, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Denver, Detroit, St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, both country stations were down as Christmas music was up.

In the six PPM cities with only one country station as of yesterday, four also suffered clear-cut losses - Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Los Angeles - while two - San Diego and Miami not so much.

Miami, of course, had no Christmas music station this year.  In San Diego, KSON was down 6+ (5.9-7.2-6.0) but retained it's #1 market rank in spite of KYXY the all-Christmas station gaining on them a bit.

The one country station to go all Christmas, Wilks' KFKF/Kansas City exploded as a result of the Holly Jolly, 5.2-7.1-9.2 6+ in the last three monthlies

It's not possible to make iron-clad conclusions on 16 such disparate markets, but it seems at this point to look like:
  1. You can be a bit more secure when you are alone in your format in PPM when a different format does a powerful tactic like all-Christmas.
  2. Two stations sharing the same format tend to drive down the ratings of both stations, making them even more vulnerable to a strong assault on usage from a different format.  (is the PPM sample so small that it's better at consistently and accurately measuring usage and shares of format shares than it is for individual stations?)
  3. If you own two country stations, taking one of them all-Christmas is a great fortressing strategy for at least a month or two while the Jingle Bells are ringing.
One thing for sure:  hat's off to the Lincoln Financial/San Diego crew for a great performance in the face of solid Christmas tunes in 2012.

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