With eyes and ears on the nation’s capital as the country was overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, local news outlets were top of mind and, once again, on top of Nielsen’s April 2020 PPM rankers. Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL-FM rode the wave to the top of the heap, adding more than two shares month-over-month (7.3-7.8-10.0), and leading the market for the first time since the Fall of 1986, ratings historian Chris Huff notes. Last month’s No. 1, American University news/talk WAMU drops to second (7.8-8.7-8.4), followed by Hubbard news WTOP-FM (7.8-8.2-7.7). WMAL’s ratings success comes from its ability to hold onto cume, relatively speaking, seeing only a 9% drop month-over-month, while many other stations, regardless of format, saw double-digit drops in the first two days of the April 2020 numbers. For instance, WAMU and WTOP-FM lost 30% and 36%, respectively, from March to April. Meanwhile, Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications classical WETA posted its largest share in history (4.5-4.7-6.3). And in nearby Baltimore, Hearst news WBAL has its largest AQH share since Spring 2006 (4.4-5.1-6.0), according to Huff’s records. Listeners in Boston turned to music during the first full month of COVID-19-affected ratings. iHeartMedia classic rock WZLX leads the market, rising 5.2-6.3-7.5. It’s the station’s largest share in history and only the second time it topped the market, dating back to November 2013, Huff says. CHR sister “Kiss 108” WXKS-FM is second, also trending up 6.9-7.0-7.3. Beasley Media Group classic hits WROR-FM is third (8.3-7.0-6.6). Boston news outlets make up the remainder of the Top 5, with iHeartMedia news/talk WBZ moving 5.6-6.4-6.3, followed by talk sister WRKO, which rises 3.8-3.8-5.3. Another trend coming out of the pandemic monthlies is the strength of Spanish-language stations. Univision Spanish hits WAMR-FM Miami leap-frogs from third to first, rising 5.8-6.2-7.1. SBS Spanish classic hits WCMQ-FM, adds nearly a share month-over-month (4.8-4.9-5.8), and moves from sixth to fourth. Union Radio Network of Florida Spanish news/talk WURN-FM posts its largest share ever, increasing 1.9-2.4-4.1. In the Pacific Northwest, one of the first sections of the country to be affected by the crisis, Bonneville news/talk KIRO-FM posts its largest share ever and remains in first, moving 4.8-6.0-6.9, while Puget Sound Public Radio news/talk KUOW-AM/FM slides from second to a fourth-place tie (4.8-5.5-5.4). Music was a draw for Seattleites with iHeartMedia classic rock KZOK-FM rising from fifth to second and adding a share (5.1-5.1-6.1), while Hubbard CHR KQMV remains in third (6.5-5.4-5.8). As in DC, classical music was a source of refuge for listeners in Seattle as KING-FM (3.1-4.2-4.8) is awarded its largest share since Winter 1995, Huff notes. On the opposite end of the musical spectrum, Entercom modern rock KNDD posts its largest share since Winter 1996 (4.5-4.5-5.0). Music matters in Detroit as iHeartMedia urban AC WMXD rises from fourth to first, while adding a share (5.4-5.3-6.4), followed by Entercom news WWJ, which increases 4.8-5.8-6.4. Last month’s top dog, Beasley Media Group classic rock WCSX is third (6.0-6.6-5.2).
Bonneville news/talk KTAR-FM Phoenix posts its largest share ever (3.8-4.6-6.1) and moves from fifth to third, with the Top 2 in the market remaining unchanged: iHeartMedia AC KESZ stays first (7.9-8.3-7.3) followed by Entercom classic hits KOOL-FM (7.1-7.2-6.3). Minnesota Public Radio flagship news/talk KNOW-FM holds its first-place perch in Minneapolis (7.0-8.1-8.1). Entercom news/talk WCCO adds a share and jumps from ninth to fifth (3.6-4.6-5.6). Hubbard hot AC KSTP-FM holds steady in second (8.1-7.9-7.4), while Cumulus Media classic rock KQRS-FM moves from fourth to third, adding nearly a share (7.2-6.5-6.4). News outlets take the two top positions in San Diego. San Diego State University news/talk KPBS, another outlet with its highest share in station history, moves from second to first, adding nearly two shares month-over-month (6.0-6.9-8.5), followed by iHeartMedia news/talk KOGO rising from fourth to second (4.5-5.5-6.6). Nielsen’s April survey covered March 26 - April 22. All figures quoted are total week 6+ AQH shares.