Top-Rated AC Stations, By The Numbers: WNIC, Cleveland's Star 102, Rule Nielsen's Top 50 Markets.


For the next several weeks, Inside Radio's “By The Numbers” focuses on the top-performing stations in each major format, broken out by market size to allow for 'apples-to-apples' comparisons.


These Nielsen breakouts, provided exclusively to Inside Radio, rank the top stations within four separate market size groups by average quarter-hour share among persons 12+ for Monday-Friday 6am-7pm, during Fall 2021.


First up, Adult Contemporary's top stations in the first and second 25 of Nielsen's top 50 markets. iHeartMedia and Audacy rule the top 25, with seven of the top 10 AC stations for the former and three for the latter.


On top with a 9.2 share 12+ in market number 13, Detroit, is iHeart's WNIC which, with the exception of 2010-2013, has been AC-formatted since 1976. "What contributes to 100.3 WNIC's ongoing success is our amazing, dedicated staff of market pros, starting with the 'Jay Towers Morning Show,'" WNIC Program Director Chris Conley says. Towers, also a morning co-anchor on WJBK-TV FOX 2 Detroit, has hosted mornings on WNIC since 2010.


Second-ranked with an 8.8 in market 21, Baltimore, is Audacy's “Today's 101.9” WLIF. In the format since 2001, Brand Manager Greg Carpenter also co-hosts mornings with Gina Crash, while Tom Cook takes care of PM drive. In third is iHeart's “K103” KKCW in market 22, Portland, programmed by Michael La Crosse with Stacey & Mike in the mornings and Kristina in the air chair for the drive home.


Four of these 10 top-ranked AC stations in markets 1-25 are from the top 10 markets, including one in market number two, Los Angeles, where iHeart's KOST grabs a 7.5 share among a very crowded bunch of stations on both bands. This is also the case in Houston (rank 6) and Washington, DC (8), where iHeart's “Sunny 99.1” KODA and WASH, respectively, are also in 7-share territory.


Also notable with a 6.7 share in Philadelphia, market 9, is Audacy's “B101.1” WBEB, one of the most honored AC stations ever, having won the Marconi Major Market Station of the Year award five times and the Adult Contemporary Station of the Year award six.


Also in the top 10: iHeart's “99.9 KEZ” KESZ Phoenix (rank 14) in fourth, and “Q101.9” KQXT San Antonio (25) in ninth; and Audacy's KEZK St. Louis (24) placing fifth.


In markets 26-50, it's Audacy's “Star 102” WDOK Cleveland in the lead with a 10.4 share 12+. In the AC game since 2012, Star features Jen and Tim in morning drive and Glenn Anderson on the mic in PM drive. "The Star 102 team is the best at reflecting the wants, needs and emotions of the Cleveland listeners in a more music environment," Star 102 VP of Programming, Brand Manager Dave Popovich says. "The relationship with the audience starts with Jen and Tim and continues throughout the day with all of the crew."


Placing second with a 9.2 share is Renda Broadcasting's WEJZ in Jacksonville, market 46, programmed by Todd Shannon, where Arthur Crofton has hosted mornings since 1990. Third-ranked, delivering an 8.6 share, is iHeart's “Mix 99.5” WMAG in Greensboro, the lowest-ranked market to place an AC station in the top 10.


Showing standout shares given their larger market size are Bonneville's “Mix 96” KYMX in market 28, Sacramento, and iHeart's “Sunny 106.5” KSNE in Las Vegas, number 29. Filling out the top 10 are Audacy's “2WD 101.3” WWDE Norfolk (rank 45) and “Majic 95.5” KKMJ Austin (31), Capitol Broadcasting's “Mix 101.5” WRAL Raleigh-Durham (37), Midwest Communications' “Mix 92.9” WJXA Nashville (41) and Pamal Broadcasting's WHUD Hudson Valley, NY (40).


Tomorrow, “By The Numbers” continues its look at AC with the top stations in markets 50-100 and 101-forward.

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