Inside Radio's “By The Numbers” series continues with a close-up on Fall 2021's top Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) stations, based on average quarter-hour share among persons 12+ for Monday-Friday 6am-7pm.
The rankings, exclusive to Inside Radio from Nielsen Audio, show the top 10 stations within four separate market groups, to allow for “apples-to-apples” comparisons.
Today's top 10s feature two beasts from the East: heritage brands from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, each of which have pumped out the hits for at least four decades.
iHeartMedia claims at least six stations in each top 10, with seven in this first group, where Boston's “Kiss 108” WXKS-FM, with a 5.6 share 12+, has a seven-tenths-of-a-share-point lead over sister “Kiss FM” (KHKS) in Dallas. Not only has Kiss 108 served up the hits since 1980, the station also boasts the market's longest-running morning host: Matt Siegel, whose Boston radio career dates back to 1977 and began waking up Kiss' listeners in 1981. Not surprisingly, Kiss 108 is one of four Marconi Award-winning stations in this top 10.
“Kiss 108’s success is driven by our exceptional talent and the connection they have to Boston, of course anchored by Matt Siegel for over 40 years,” iHeartMedia Boston Senior VP of Programming Dylan Sprague says. “From the talent to the music to marketing, digital and larger than life events like Kiss Concert, the Kiss team has been consistent in vision and execution for decades. We are Boston. Plus, we have a lot of fun!”
KHKS, another of those Marconi winners, ties for second with a 4.9 share. “106.1 Kiss FM” has been in the format since 1992, the same year “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” began its run on the station. Since 2013 and Kraddick's unexpected death, the rest of the nationally syndicated show's on-air staff have successfully carried on his legacy. Tied with KHKS is Cumulus Media's “Q99.7” WWWQ Atlanta, home base of another syndicated morning show, the Bert Weiss-hosted “Bert Show,” which like the station itself debuted in 2001.
While one would expect CHR stations in markets ranked further down among these 25 to be more likely to deliver higher ratings shares given fewer competitors, one station flips that script, and it's the one you might expect: New York's “Z100,” WHTZ. In the hits game since 1983, and the subject of a just-released documentary, the iHeart station places sixth with a 4.3 share.
Stations with impressive share performance in the lower half of these markets include Cox Media Group's WBLI in market 20, Nassau-Suffolk, NY, and iHeart's “Channel 93.3” KHTS San Diego (rank 17) and three-time Marconi winner KDWB Minneapolis (15).
The champ among this market group with an 8.2 share 12+, Cumulus' “92 PRO-FM” WPRO-FM in Providence (market rank 44), flipped the switch to CHR in 1974 and has never looked back. Handling overnights on that 1974 version of PRO-FM was Giovanni, who nearly 48 years later hosts morning drive along with Kim Zandy, which they've done together for nearly 23 years.
In second with a 7.3 share is iHeart's “XL106.7” WXXL Orlando (rank 32), in the format since 1990, with Johnny Magic, a 20-year Orlando radio veteran, running “Johnny's House” in mornings.
The two lowest-ranked markets among these 25 are represented with CHR powerhouses: Audacy's “B97” WEZB New Orleans finishes fourth with a 4.7 share, while iHeart's “KJ103” KJYO Oklahoma City ties for fifth with a 4.5. The highest-ranked market represented, Salt Lake City, places two CHRs inside the top 10: Cumulus' “Power 94.9/101.9” KENZ/KHTB, tied for eighth with a 3.8 share, and iHeart's “97.1 ZHT” KZHT, 10th with a 3.7.