A cluster of stations vying for the top-40 crowd and the return of the Winnipeg Jets are causing a shootout in the Winnipeg radio market.
AM news station CJOB remains the most popular station in the city with an overall share of 13.0 per cent of listeners aged 12 and up, but the ratings for the perennial ratings leader are the lowest in recent history and down 3.3 per cent compared to a year ago, according to numbers released Thursday by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement. The spring BBM radio ratings book surveyed local listening habits between Feb. 27 and April 27.
The lower numbers for CJOB seem to be a direct result of Winnipeg Jets broadcasts on TSN Radio 1290, along with solid numbers for the sports station's new morning show and the Hustler & Lawless sports show co-hosted by Winnipeg Free Press sports columnist Gary Lawless.
"I'm actually gob-smacked, to tell you the truth. The numbers are up across the board. It seems Winnipeg's sports fans are voting heavily in terms of listening to local sports coverage," said Chris Brooke, program director of TSN 1290 and Fab 94.3.
The ratings for Jets games are huge. Overall, the broadcasts generate a 16.7 share of listeners aged 12 and up; a 25.6 share of males aged 25 to 54; and 35.4 per cent of males aged 35 to 64.
"There is no doubt having the Jets has been a huge reason for the growth in the past six to eight months, but we're seeing it everywhere. If it was just the hockey you would win the battle, but lose the war, but we're seeing growth the whole day," Brooke said.
On the music side, Hot 103 remained the No. 1 station of choice for all listeners aged 12 and up, with a 9.1 share, a sharp decline from 15.6 per cent a year ago. It was the largest loss of any station in the spring book.
The ratings drop can be attributed to two new stations playing the same Top 40 music: Energy 106 and, to a lesser extent, Fresh 99.1, which recently underwent a format change from the jazz-oriented Groove.
Energy's first ratings book was last fall's, when it debuted with a 6.9 share. It has improved to 7.1 per cent in the new book.
"It's a bottleneck. For example, QX-104 listeners duplicate with Hot 103, then you add Energy to the mix and it gives them one more station to punch to," said Sharon Taylor, vice-president and general manager of Astral Manitoba, which owns Hot 103 and QX-104.
Here's the complete list of 12-and-up ratings from the new book, with last year's spring numbers in parentheses:
1. CJOB - 13.0 (16.6)
2. CBC Radio 1 - 9.2 (10.6)
3. Hot 103 - 9.1 (15.6)
4. Power 97 - 7.7 (7.2)
5. Citi - 7.2 (5.6)
6. Energy - 7.1
7. QX-104 - 6.8 (8.7)
8. Fab - 6.6 (6.7)
8. Clear - 6.6 (6.3)
10. Bob - 6.4 (5.2)
11. CBC Radio 2 - 3.1 (2.1)
12. TSN Radio 1290 - 2.7 (0.7)
13. Fresh - 1.5 (1.6)
14. Breeze - 1.0 (0.9)
Other non-reporting stations accounted for the remaining 12 per cent.
-- Rob Williams