Tip your Stetson and pop the top on a can of Lone Star beer. For the first time in its 18-year history, country station WPOC-FM (93.1) is the No. 1-ranked radio outlet in the Baltimore market.
WPOC got an 8.9 share of listeners aged 12 and over in the Arbitron ratings for the winter, which were released yesterday, putting it comfortably ahead of second-place news/talk WBAL-AM (1090), which finished with a 7.2 share.
WPOC's winter audience showed a significant increase over last fall, when it finished in third place with a 6.9 share and an even greater increase over the winter 1991 ratings, when it registered a 5.8 share.
Each share point represents approximately 3,600 listeners in an average quarter-hour.
Jim Dolan, WPOC's general sales manager, noted that the station scored impressive ratings "across the board -- in mornings, middays and weekends." He said the "No. 1" factor in the station's strong showing to the "overwhelming crush of popularity of country music nationwide" that has sent the ratings of country stations soaring in locales as diverse as San Diego and Cleveland. But he also cited the station's increased promotional efforts as a reason for its surge in listeners.
WPOC also undoubtedly benefited to some degree from WCAO-AM's switch last fall from a country to a gospel format, and from the large number of format and personnel changes in the last several months among area pop, rock and urban contemporary stations.
The winter ratings marked the first time in the last three years that a station other than WBAL or urban contemporary WXYV-FM (V-103) had finished first in the Baltimore market.
V-103, which had been first last fall with an 8.1 share, dipped to fourth with a 6.1. Soft adult contemporary WLIF-FM (Lite 102) was third with a 7.1 share, up a point over the fall.
Top-40 dance station WERQ-FM (92Q), which was among the stations switching formats, continued its surge. In just its second ratings period in its new format, it scored a 4.6 share, good for eighth place, compared with a 3.3 and 11th place last fall.
WBSB-FM, which switched its format from Top 40 to modern adult contemporary and began promoting itself as Variety 104.3 in the midst of the winter ratings period, dipped to a 2.8 share from a 4.2.
The following are the Arbitron rankings and percentage audience share for listeners 12 and over for the Baltimore area's top 10 radio stations.
1WPOC-FM (93.1) ..8.9 ...6.9
2WBAL-AM (1090) ..7.2 ...7.5
3WLIF-FM (101.9)..7.1 ...6.1
4WXYV-FM (102.7) .6.1 ...8.1
5WQSR-FM (105.7) .5.7 ...5.6
6WIYY-FM (97.9) ..5.5....5.5
7WMIX-FM (106.5) .5.4 ...6.3
8WERQ-FM (92.3) ..4.6 ...3.3
9WCBM-AM (680) ...4.3....3.6
10WBSB-FM (104.3) 2.8....4.2