With a format like Adult Contemporary things get a little more complicated with the lines between Mainstream, Hot, and Modern AC somewhat blurred, but reasonably differentiated.
In the case of Gold-based formats, labels confuse as much as they clarify.
There was a time when there was one Oldies format, and stations were proud to call themselves Oldies. More recently, however, many gold-based stations have embraced the term Classic Hits or Adult Hits in an effort to distance themselves from Doo-Wop based Oldies.
While Classic Hit stations are generally a little more contemporary than stations still calling themselves Oldies, the dividing line is rather arbitrary.
With so few stations still embracing the Oldies label, we’ve combined Oldies with the larger number of Classic Hits stations into a single category called Gold.
Gold stations have a median 6+ share of 4.1 in PPM markets. This ties the format with Country and Hot AC for fourth place among the formats examined thus far.
As an aside, Classic Rock and Classic Hits have an identical median share of 4.2 suggesting that the two formats are more fraternal twins than two separate formats.
While the median share tells us how popular a format is, a more useful metric for indicating the future prospects of a format is momentum, comparing past performance to the present.
Gold is essentially holding its own. Shares are pretty much flat compared to 2010, with as many stations ahead as behind last year’s numbers. This puts the format fourth of the ten formats analyzed so far. See second graph at left.
Interestingly, the few remaining Oldies stations actually have more positive momentum than their Classic Hit brethren. While only 45.8% of Classic Hit stations are higher than last year, 71% of Oldies are up.
All the caveats we’ve offered in earlier rating analyses apply here. PPM is still very new and we still don’t have a year’s worth of numbers for many stations. The coming months will tell us much more about the direction of formats with PPM.