News-Talk is slowly migrating to FM. While most News-Talk stations are still AM only, there are a growing number of FM stand-alones as well as AM-FM simulcasts.
This transition has the potential to impact ratings in unpredictable ways. An AM station that adds an FM simulcast may get a bounce just due to the initial novelty. Stations that migrate from AM to FM may temporarily lose listeners.
Because these transitory changes may create misleading patterns, we’ve decided during this transition period when not all PPM markets have a full year of data to analyze AM Talk stations seperately from FM and simulcast stations.
News-Talk has the distinction of being one of the worst performing format we’ve examined thus far. The median share for News-Talk is 3.1. This places the format next to last among the formats we’ve analyzed, just ahead of Alternative Rock.
A year ago News-Talk’s median share was 3.6. That translates into a 14% decline.
More telling is the high proportion of News-Talk stations that have lost ground over the past year. Of the 52 AM News-Talk stations in the format at least a year, 61.5% have declined.
As we mentioned in earlier format analyses, PPM is still relatively new. Seventeen additional News-Talk stations don’t yet have even one year’s worth of trends, so we have to be cautious about over-analyzing PPM trends this early in the game.
Perhaps News-Talk has reached a ratings inflection point. Perhaps the normal random bounces we see all bounced against the format.
Whatever is behind this trend, we’ll be watching News-Talk closely in the coming months.