2017 Atlanta radio ratings: good years for WSB, the River, WABE, Majic, Rock 100.5

Posted Thursday, February 8, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB ran the tables in 2017, finishing at No. 1 by a wide margin overall among Atlanta radio station, repeating its 2016 performance.

Other stations that saw significant ratings bumps year over year: 97.1/The River, 90.1/WABE-FM, Rock 100.5 and Majic 107.5/97.5.

The market was remarkably stable during the year, with virtually no major format or morning show changes until December. But in recent weeks, there has been a spate of changes that aren’t shown in these ratings numbers below. Several stations have changed names and formats (Radio 105.7 became Alt 105.7, Old School 87.7 is now Mix 87.7, Boom 102.9 has become Classix 102.9 and The Fan 2 is now The Sports X.) Seven stations – Kiss, Classix, Mix, V-103, Alt 105.7, Talk 106.7 and 680/93.7 The Fan – have recently installed or plan to install new morning shows.

This covers Nielsen Media ratings for the first 48 weeks of 2017. I purposely omit the last month, which is typically warped by Christmas vacation time, which throws off listening habits.

Here’s a breakdown of 2017 ratings by category:

R&B/hip-hop

V-103, once the perennial No. 1 station in the market, came in second place overall again in a super competitive market. The station’s average rating fell from 6.94 to 6.125 year over year, dropping 29 percent over two years.  Nonetheless, the station remains the top urban station and the No. 1 among 25 to 54 year olds and edged out Hot for No. 1 among 18 to 34 year olds. Ryan Cameron‘s morning show fell from 2nd to 4th among 25 to 54 but stayed in third among 18 to 34 year olds.

Kiss 104.1 remained at No. 3 overall and stayed ahead of a resurgent Majic 107.5/97.5, which finished in sixth place and jumped 24 percent in ratings.

Hot wasn’t quite as hot in 2017, down 15 percent and ceding No. 1 among younger listeners to V.

Streetz 94.5, OG 97 and Boom 102.9 also saw ratings slip year over year while Old School 87.7 went up with the new 92.3/The Beat picking up a tiny sliver of the audience.

Pop

B98.5 was the most popular of the four pop stations in town but just barely beating out Q100 4.46 to 4.33.

Q100 was the only top 40 station to gain audience year over year. It beat Power 96.1, B98.5 and Star 94.1 among 25-to-54 year olds and overtook Power among 18-to-34 year old.. The Bert Show on Q100 was No. 1 across the board against the three morning shows, picking up huge gains after a relatively soft 2016.

News/Talk

Riding the Trump-driven news cycle, WSB did well morning to evening, with Eric Von Haessler pulling in strong numbers in his first full year. Its overall ratings did even better than election year 2016, going up from an average rating of 9.15 to 9.475. That’s its strongest performance in recent history.

90.1/WABE also rode the wave, up 21 percent from 2016 and 38 percent from 2015, its listenership much younger than it was a couple of years earlier.  Rival NPR station 88.5/WRAS also grew 18 percent at a smaller base. It remains about one-fifth the size of WABE.

And NewsRadio 106.7 (now Talk 106.7) had its strongest year since it started as an all-news station in 2012, up 28 percent.

Rock

97.1/The River continued to build on a solid 2016 with an even better 2017, finishing fourth overall and up 23 percent. It was its best year since 2013.

Rock 100.5 had its strongest year to date, with a whopping 37 percent growth in listening year over year. The morning show featuring Jason Bailey and “Southside” Steve Rickman also had a breakthrough year, jumping from 16th to sixth place among 25 to 54 year olds.

Radio 105.7 (now Alt 105.7) had its weakest year ever, losing 26 percent of its audience year over year and landing 18th place overall. On the bright side, its 18 to 34 year old ratings did grow.

And 99X, in its second full year playing new music, more than doubled its audience, albeit from a modest ratings point. (Its numbers improved sharply in the fall.)

Country

In the overall race, Kicks 101.5 and 94.9/The Bull were tight again. This time, Kicks just barely edged out the Bull in overall ratings 3.86 to 3.82. The Bull lost ground for the third year in a row but remained king among younger listeners over Kicks. Your Country Atlanta 107.1 remains a modest player, drawing a 1.18 rating.

Christian

For primary Christian pop station Fish 104.7 (4.98) and gospel station Praise 102.5 (3.87), 2017 was similar to 2016. Fish finished fifth overall and Praise came in 11th. Joy 93.3 had a banner year on the south side, jumping 47 percent to a 1.76 rating, more than any other station in the top 20.

Sports

92.9/The Game had its best year since its launch in 2012, up to a 2.99 rating overall. Rival 680/93.7 The Fan fell 17 percent year over year with a 1.5 rating.

Others

105.3/El Patron has lost a huge amount of audience over the past three years; then again, Nielsen Media may simply be having a difficult time accessing the Hispanic listeners. It fell below a 1 rating for the first time ever.

91.9/Clark 91.9, the jazz station, also suffered a tough 2017, down 38 percent, tumbling to 26th place from 21st place.

WSB, B98.5 Kiss 104.1 and 97.1/the River and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are part of Cox Media Group. 

Overall ratings in 2017

1- WSB 9.475 (up 4 percent from 9.15 in 2016; 9.52 counting streaming)

2- V-103 6.125 (down 12 percent from 6.94)

3- Kiss 104.1 5.88 (down 10 percent from 6.54)

4- 97.1/The River 5.58 (up 23 percent from 4.53)

5- Fish 4.98 (up 6 percent from 4.683)

6- Majic 4.6 (up 24 percent from 3.72)

7- B98.5 4.46 (down 7 percent from 4.78)

8- Q100 4.33 (up 7 percent from 4.03)

9- Hot 4.3 (down 15 percent from 5.05)

10- Power 3.925 (down 13 percent from 4.5)

11- Praise 3.87 (down 5 percent from 4.09)

12- Kicks 3.86 (flat from 3.9)

13- Bull 3.82 (down slightly from 3.925)

14- 90.1/WABE 3.7 (up 21 percent from 3.05)

15- Star 94.1  3.57 (down 11 percent from 4.025)

16- 92.9/The Game 2.99 (up 12 percent from 2.68)

17- Rock 100.5 2.76 (up 37 percent from 2.01)

18- Alt 105.7 1.95 (down 26 percent from 2.625)

19- Joy 93.3 1.76 (up 47 percent from 1.2)

20- Talk 106.7 1.725 (up  28 percent from 1.34)

21- Old School 87.7 (now Mix 87.7) 1.57 (up 26 percent from 1.25)

22- 680/The Fan 1.5 (down 17 percent from 1.81)

23- Streetz 94.5 1.4 (down 18 percent from 1.71)

24- OG 97.9 1.25 (down 7 percent from 1.34)

25- 107.1/WTSH 1.175 (up 26 percent from 0.89)

26- 91.9/WCLK 0.88 (down 35 percent from 1.36)

27- Boom/Classix 102.9 0.87 (down 17 percent from 1.05)

28- 105.3/El Patron 0.833 (down from 1.32)

29- WRAS 0.8  (up 18 percent from 0.68)

30- 99X 0.433 (more than doubled from 0.21)

31 92.3/The Beat 0.37 (new)

32- WAOK 0.233 (down 39 percent from 0.38)

33- WGKA 0.225 (up from 0.21)

34- 640/WGST/WLKQ 0.217 (down from 0.35)

Top 15 stations among 25 to 54 year olds (last year’s rank)

1- V-103 7.18 (1)

2- WSB 6.37 (2)

3- The River 5.74  (10)

4- Q100 5.5 (5)

5. Hot 4.93 (3)

6- Majic 4.85 (11)

7- B98.5 4.825 (8)

8- Fish 4.77 (6)

9- Kiss 4.2 (4)

10- WABE 4.11 (16)

11- Power 4.025 (8)

12- Star 94.1 3.73 (8)

13- Rock 100.5 3.725 (18)

14- Bull 3.58 (12)

15- Praise 3.3 (13)

16- The Game 3.26 (17)

17- Kicks 2.65 (14)

18- Radio 105.7 (now Alt 105.7) 2.6

19- NewsRadio 106.7 (now Talk 106.7) 1.725 (21)

20- OG 97.9 1.67

Top 15, 18-34 (last year’s rank)

1- V-103 7.76 (2)

2- Hot 7.54 (1)

3- Q100 7.03 (4)

4- Power 5.92 (3)

5- Fish 5.08 (10)

5- B98.5 5.08 (6)

7- Star 5.07 (5)

8- River 5.04 (7)

9- Radio 105.7 (now Alt 105.7) 4.57 (10)

10- Bull 3.83 (8)

11- WABE 3.49 (140

11- Rock 100.5 (tie) 3.49 (16)

13- Majic 3.03 (17)

14- Game 2.82 (19)

15- Streetz 2.73 (12)

16- WSB 2.53 (13)

16- Kicks (tie) 2.53 (18)

18- Praise 2.29 (15)

19- OG 97.9 1.76

20- El Patron 1.69 (20)

Top 15 morning shows 25-54 (last year’s rank)

1- Bert Show (Q100) 7.95 (4)

2 Scott Slade (WSB) 7.58 (1)

3-Morning Edition (WABE) 6.17 (8)

4- Ryan Cameron with Wanda Smith (V-103) 6.05 (2)

5- Steve Harvey (Majic) 5.58

6- Jason Bailey and “Southside’ Steve Rickman (Rock 100.5) 5.15 (16)

7- Rickey Smiley (Hot ) 5.04 (3)

8- Kevin & Taylor (Fish) 4.58 (6)

9- Steve Craig (River) 4.42 (11)

10- Tad & Drex (B98.5) 4.03 (13)

11- Tom Joyner (Kiss) 3.85 (5)

12- Jeff Dauler and Jenn Hobby (Star) 3.48 (9)

13- Hugh Douglas and John Fricke (92.9/The Game) 3.45 (14)

14- Jason Pullman and Kristen Gates (Bull) 3.42 (10)

15- Erica Campbell (Praise) 2.95 (17)

16- PK in the Morning (Power) 2.81 (12)

17 – Cadillac Jack with Ali Mac (Kicks) 2.21 (15)

18- Aly (Radio 105.7, now Alt 105.7) 2.17(18)

19- Rob Stadler (NewsRadio 106.7, now Talk 106.7) 1.6

20- The Rude Awakening, the Chris and Nick (680/93.7 The Fan) 1.47(20)

Top 15  morning shows 18-34 (last year’s rank)

1- Bert Show (Q100) 10.11 (2)

2- Rickey Smiley (Hot) 8.03 (1)

3-  Ryan Cameron with Wanda Smith (V-103) 6.4 (3)

4- Jason and Southside (Rock 100.5) 5.68 (11)

5- Jeff and Jenn (Star) 4.68 (7)

6- PK in the morning (Power ) 4.61 (5)

7- Morning Edition (WABE) 4.52 (6)

8- Kevin & Taylor (Fish) 4.35 (15)

9- Tad & Drex (B98.5) 4.26 (13)

10- Aly (Radio 105.7, now Alt 105.7) 4.25 (16)

11- Steve Craig (River) 3.88 (11)

12- Fricke and Douglas (The Game) 3.51 (20)

13- Steve Harvey (Majic)  3.43 (18)

14- Jason and Kristen (Bull) 3.41 (10)

15- Scott Slade (WSB) 3.29 (4)

16- Les Patrones y Don Chilo (El Patron) 2.69 (17)

17- Cadillac Jack (Kicks) 2.27 (19)

18- Tom Joyner (Kiss) 2.22 (8)

19- Erica Campbell (Praise) 1.98 (14)

20- Yung Joc and Mo Quick (Streetz) 1.85 (9)

CREDIT: Nielsen Media

WSB, B98.5, The River, Kiss and Your Country Georgia 107.1, along with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are all part of the Cox Media Group.

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