WERQ-FM dominates ratings

Radio: 92-Q is on top as WBAL-AM drops to its lowest ranking in years.

Radio and Television

January 27, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

WERQ-FM (92.3) seems to be weathering the departure of the enormously popular Frank Ski just fine, thank you, while WBAL-AM (1090) dropped to its lowest ranking in years, according to Baltimore radio ratings for the last quarter of 1998.

For the fifth straight quarter, 92-Q finished atop the heap, with a 9.6 share (each ratings point translates to about 3,600 listeners in an average quarter hour). Up one-tenth of a point from last quarter, WERQ continues to dominate, finishing a full 2.8 points (better than 10,000 listeners) ahead of second-place WPOC-FM (93.1). Third-place went to WWMX-FM (106.5), which climbed all the way up from sixth.

Its fourth-place finish marks the first time WBAL has finished outside the top three -- and the first time its audience share has fallen below 6 (to 5.9) -- in at least six years. And the fifth-place finish for WQSR-FM (105.7) continues a disturbing trend for that station, which as recently as the last quarter of 1997 finished second, with a 7.2 share. For the first three quarters of 1998, it finished fifth (5.5), fourth (6.1) and fourth (5.8).

For all of you completists out there, here are the Fall 1998 Arbitron rankings and audience share for listeners 12 and older for Baltimore's top 10 radio stations.

1. WERQ-FM (92.3), 9.6

2. WPOC-FM (93.1), 6.8

3. WWMX-FM (106.5), 6.0

4. WBAL-AM (1090), 5.9

5. WQSR-FM (105.7), 5.6

6. WWIN-FM (95.9), 5.5

7. WLIF-FM (101.9), 4.9

8. WIYY-FM (97.9), 4.3

9. WHFS-FM (99.1), 3.6

10. WXYV-FM (102.7), 3.5

Football to the max

Comcast customers who want more football this weekend than even the Super Bowl can provide should check out the "Comcast Super Tailgate Weekend," airing from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday on channel 69 in Baltimore County, 66 in Harford County and 54 in Howard County.

The Comcast programming will feature coverage of the NFL Experience theme park in Miami, as well as activities at other sites throughout southern Florida. Among the offerings: the NFL Celebrity Softball Contest, NFL Passion for Fashion, Taste of the NFL, Celebrity Cookoff and the Playstation Players' Party.

Un-football offerings

A few alternatives, for those yearning to watch something other than football Sunday:

AMC is going straight for the tear ducts with what it's calling "Superbawl Sunday."

The seven-film crying jag begins at 6 a.m., with Marlon Brando, Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki (the latter two won Supporting Actor and Actress Oscars) in "Sayonara" (1957), the tale of a Korean War pilot who falls in love with a Japanese entertainer.

At 8: 30 a.m., Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page fall for each other in "Dear Heart" (1964). And at 10: 30 a.m., Gregory Peck struggles to get his life together in "The Man In the Gray Flannel Suit" (1956), followed by Lana Turner in "Imitation of Life" (1959) at 1: 15 p.m.

At 6 p.m., it's Rock Hudson reunited with the wife he thought was dead in "Never Say Goodbye" (1956), followed at 8: 05 p.m. by William Holden and Jennifer Jones in "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" (1955).

The emotionfest concludes at 10 p.m. with Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn in "Love In the Afternoon."

If food is more your style (especially if you're looking for recipes good enough to eat during the big game), the Food Network has all sorts of goodies planned.

At 11 a.m., "Michael's Place" has a Sunday Morning Touch Football Breakfast planned, followed by "Too Hot Tamales" (11: 330 a.m.) with a burrito party, "Taste" (noon) with buffalo chicken wings, "Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay" (12: 30 p.m.), showcasing turkey burgers with brie and grilled apples, and "Emeril Live!" with a Super Bowl cocktail buffet.

If halftime shows are your bane, how does wrasslin' sound as an alternative?

USA has scheduled a "unique" WWF championship match, to begin as soon as halftime begins and end as soon as it ends. (How do they know it will last exactly 20 minutes? I guess they just do.)

In a rematch, recently deposed WWF champion Mankind will go up against The Rock, who recently won the belt under suspicious circumstances.

And, for the 10th year running, TBS will offer a marathon visit to Mayberry.

This year, the offerings go 'round the clock, as "24 Hours of Andy," beginning at 6 a.m. Sunday, showcases 43 classic episodes.

Among the best: "Aunt Bee the Warden" (9: 31 a.m.), with Aunt Bee almost reforming town drunk Otis; "Citizen's Arrest" (11: 35 a.m.), with Gomer arresting Barney for an illegal U-turn; "Opie the Birdman" (7: 37 p.m.), with Opie raising an orphan bird; and "Ernest T. Bass Joins the Army" (3: 28 a.m.), with a title that's pretty much self-explanatory.

Noggin, for thinkers

Nickelodeon's march to dominate children's TV moves forward Monday with the debut of Noggin, a cable network teaming Nick with the Children's Television Workshop.

Billed as the first 24-hour kids' "thinking channel," Noggin will feature original programming as well as such CTW and Nickelodeon shows as "Blue's Clues" and "Sesame Street."

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