I knew this was going to happen.
RUSH'S RATINGS BONANZA
Surge As White House Campaign Began, Could Go Higher
Will the White House ever learn its lesson?
A combination of several powerful forces has resulted in explosive talk radio ratings growth, with indications of much more to come in the months ahead.
Primary factor driving the upward move? You guessed it: Rush Limbaugh. That's in contrast to declining support for Rush's arch-rival Obama.
With Limbaugh at the top of his game, including a more deeply loyal audience than ever, the numbers were expected to be strong. The beginning of the Obamist era, combined with a direct White House campaign targeting the talk titan, however, provided rocket fuel for El Rushbo's ratings. Even to seasoned industry veterans, this data should prove stunning.
Finally, implementation of the new, far more accurate electronic Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system has benefited talk radio, as the manual diary-based "phantom cume" problems of the past disappear. For years, programmers complained that the old system cost them listenership and are now armed with the proof they'd long sought.
That may be why Obama and his supporters have fought implementation of PPM, as we originally reported in October of last year.
While these numbers reflect February's results, they could go even higher in March, as the White House anti-Rush effort was still in high gear going into this month.
In New York City, WABC has experienced huge gains during Rush's noon- 3pm timeslot: from 4.6 to 6.7 overall (12 and older) share, good for first place overall in the nation's largest market. Rush's Big Apple listenership is now estimated at 693,000.
In the second-largest market, Los Angeles, KFI-AM has surged into the number one position (all listeners 12 and older) from 9am to noon, with 618,000 listeners, a 4.6 to 6.0 audience share increase over three months and an even bigger males 35-64 (4.6 to 6.3) move, to take first place there as well.
Chicago, saw another huge move, with Rush affiliate WLS also taking first place during his timeslot (12 and older), from 5.2 share to 6.9 and a total local listenership of 396,700 in the third-largest market.
KSFO / San Francisco saw similar results, despite the extreme-left bent of the Bay Area: 4.7 to 6.0 share, now ranking second overall and with men aged 35-64. Total audience: 346,000.
In Dallas - Fort Worth, 4.8 to 6.4 men 35-64 and fourth overall (12+), 3.5 to 4.5. Cumulative audience: 250,000.
Houston's results were truly blockbuster: 6.0 to 9.8 overall, ranking number one with a bullet and audience of 382,300. Men 35-64: number one again, from 8.6 to 12.2 over three months. Adults 25-54: first place, 4.6 to 8.7. Women 25-54: 3.7 to 8.3 again good for a top ranking.
DC's WMAL also saw Rush-related growth: 4.1 to 6.7, good for third overall and an audience of 155,300. Men 35-64: number one with a staggering 6.4 to 13.4 move.
In Atlanta, Rush has helped WGST fend off an enormous competitor, WSB-AM, with a similar 4.0 to 6.2 upward move, good for fifth place overall and a total audience of 473,500. The results are better in the male 35-64 demographic, surging from 5.5 to 8.0 share.
Bucking Detroit's recent Democratic voting trend, Rush's performance on WJR-AM has been more significant than ever, moving into first place with a 5.8 to 9.6 jump. Men 35-64: number one and 11.6 share. Total audience: 253,000.
Given this blockbuster data, will the White House think twice before targeting Rush again?
Keep in mind that these numbers don't even include Limbaugh's strongest markets, medium-sized cities such as Reno, Albuquerque, Boise, Fresno, Bakersfield and hundreds of others where his program dominates local radio.
UPDATE: Rush's surge has also led to overall, full-day gains at most of these stations, with WABC/ New York moving into fifth place overall, ahead of many music stations. That's its best showing in at least a year.
KSFO/ San Francisco also rose overall, grabbing sixth place, while WLS/ Chicago now ranks second, a stunning feat.
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