Baseball and talk shows put WBAL back on top

October 13, 1993|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Staff writer

Buoyed by a surprising season for the Baltimore Orioles and a summer of lively public controversies, talk/sports station WBAL-AM (1090) regained the ratings lead among Baltimore stations for the summer.

The station's weekly 10.6 Arbitron share for listeners 12 and older, including a huge 21.2 nighttime share, moved WBAL past country music WPOC-FM (93.1) for the first time since last fall.

"I attribute it to the success of the Orioles, as well as some of the issues of the summer" covered in the station's talk shows, said Jeff Beauchamp, WBAL vice president and general manager.

He noted the continuing controversy over Baltimore County School Superintendent Stuart Berger, the Clinton administration's national health plan and Bosnia and other international stories among issues that interested station callers.

At WPOC yesterday, however, Bob Moody, program director, said, "We think the ratings are just hunky dory."

Although in second place overall, the country station maintained its8.9 spring share and ranked in first place in the 25-54 age group, "which is our target audience," Mr. Moody said. He added that the station also performed strongly with women listeners.

"We think we'll take them again next book," he said, noting "obviously, those nighttime ratings came from the Orioles."

Ratings for specific time periods cast an interesting light on WBAL's recent announcement that it is adding the nationally syndicated "Rush Limbaugh Show" to its afternoon lineup in January.

Although Arbitron's rating format makes an hour-to-hour comparison impossible, WBAL ranked second behind WPOC in both the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (8.1 share) and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (7.7 share) slots.

Both WBAL's "Ron Smith Show" and the Limbaugh program on WCBM-AM (680) air during that period -- Mr. Smith from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Mr. Limbaugh from noon to 3 p.m.

WCBM's ratings ranked the station in eighth and 11th place during those "dayparts," with a 4.3 share from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a 4.0 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Thus Mr. Beauchamp noted, "Ron Smith has been one of the few talk show hosts in this country who went head to head with Rush and beat him."

But he said the station also expects Mr. Limbaugh to boost the mid-day ratings, while Mr. Smith's move to an 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. nighttime show should boost that time period when Orioles games are not airing.

At WPOC, however, Mr. Moody noted the Smith/Limbaugh comparison has to be tempered by the difference in the power of the two stations. WBAL broadcasts at 50,000 watts, compared to WCBM's 10,000-watt signal.

"It's like a 50,000-watt blow torch against a little BIC lighter," Mr. Moody said.

Following are the Arbitron rankings and audience share for listeners 12 and older for Baltimore's top 10 radio stations. (Each share represents about 3,600 listeners in an average quarter hour.)

Station . .. .. .. ..Spring .. .. .. ..Summer

1.WBAL-AM .. .. .. .. .7.8 .. .. .. .. ..10.6

2.WPOC-FM .. .. .. .. .8.9 .. .. .. .. ...8.9

3.WXYV-FM .. .. .. .. .5.9 .. .. .. .. ...6.0

4.WLIF-FM .. .. .. .. .5.6 .. .. .. .. ...5.7

5.WQSR-FM .. .. .. .. .5.7 .. .. .. .. ...5.3

6.WERQ-FM .. .. .. .. .5.2 .. .. .. .. ...4.6

7.WIYY-FM .. .. .. .. .4.2 .. .. .. .. ...4.5

8.WWMX-FM .. .. .. .. .5.4 .. .. .. .. ...3.7

9.WWIN-FM .. .. .. .. .2.2 .. .. .. .. ...3.6

10.WCBM-AM .. .. .. ...4.8 ... .. .. .. ..3.4

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