WPOC's ratings rise, but baseball strike hurts WBAL

AIR CHECK

January 14, 1995|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Sun Staff Writer

Country music continued to rule Baltimore radio last fall, as WPOC-FM (93.1) earned its highest ratings ever in the quarterly Arbitron audience measurements.

The station marked an overall 10.9 share among listeners 12 and older from October to December, up from an 8.3 figure. That was well ahead of second-place WBAL-AM (1090). The news/talk station suffered from the lack of postseason major-league baseball, slipping from an 8.0 share to 7.4. (Each share represents about 3,600 listeners in an average quarter hour.)

WPOC's "modern country" sound led the ratings last summer, too, but by a much narrower margin. WBAL and WPOC have been swapping the top ratings position for several years.

"We're the only station playing new music for adults, and I think the format is good and strong," says Jennifer Grimm, WPOC general manager. "Having Laurie finally win the big one helped too, of course."

WPOC morning announcer Laurie DeYoung was named "Large Market Personality of the Year" last fall by the Country Music Association. She made a brief television appearance on the 28th annual CMA awards show in October.

"I don't want to take anything away from WPOC -- they had a terrific book," says Jeff Beauchamp, general manager of WBAL. But he predicts if the baseball strike ends and Orioles games begin airing this spring, "I think we're going to be No. 1 again."

He says the strike. which began in August, meant "we didn't have that momentum in the fall, with regular Orioles games leading into the playoff series and World Series, which would have been heard on WBAL."

The Arbitron ratings, provided to stations this week, also showed:

* "Good Time Oldies" WQSR-FM (105.7) moved into third place, followed closely by urban/pop music station WERQ-FM (92.3). Both had stronger ratings than in the summer.

* Adult contemporary WWMX-FM (106.5), which had been in third place in the summer, slipped to a fifth-place tie with urban contemporary WXYV-FM (102.7).

* Light adult contemporary WLIF-FM (101.9) held solidly in the top 10, with a 5.6 share up from the summer.

* Progressive-rock station WHFS-FM (99.1), based in Landover and technically considered part of the Washington market, nonetheless continued to draw Baltimore listeners. It ranked in eighth place, just ahead of 98 Rock WIYY-FM (97.9), which declined steeply from a summer tie for third place.

* WOCT-FM (104.3), which in October changed its call letters from WSSF-FM and adopted a format of pop hits from the '70s, tied with WIYY.

Top 10 stations

Following are the top 10 radio stations in the Arbitron rankings, bTC as measured by the audience share for listeners 12 and older.

Station .. .. .. .. ..Summer .. .. ..Fall

1. WPOC-FM .. .. .. ...8.3 .. .. .. .10.9

2. WBAL-AM .. .. .. ...8.0.. .. .. .. 7.4

3. WQSR-FM .. .. .. ...5.3 .. .. .. ..6.3

4. WERQ-FM .. .. .. ...4.8 .. .. .. ..6.0

5. WWMX-FM .. .. .. ...6.2 .. .. .. ..5.7

6. WXYV-FM .. .. .. ...4.8 .. .. .. ..5.6

7. WLIF-FM .. .. .. ...4.4 .. .. .. ..5.4

8. WHFS-FM .. .. .. ...4.3 .. .. .. ..3.8

9. WOCT-FM .. .. .. ...3.8 .. .. .. ..3.7

(previously WSSF)

9. WIYY-FM .. .. .. ...6.2 .. .. . ...3.7

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