ITHACA -- Saga's Q-Country (WQNY) is still the clear leader in Ithaca, but not without taking a hit of nearly 7 ratings points from Spring 2008 to Spring 2009. And in the newly-released Arbitron Persons 12+ ratings, CHR-formatted Z95-5 (WFIZ) has flashed from non-existence to second place.
Q-Country's drop from 20.6 last spring to 13.8 in the latest survey still gives it a 5-point margin over second place. That's where the changes start to get crazy. AC sister station Lite Rock 97.3 (WYXL) fell from 2nd place (at 10.8) to 4th place (at 7.4).
Tied for second are Saga's classic rocker I-100 (WIII) and ROI Broadcasting's Z95-5 (WFIZ), each posting 8.5 ratings points. I-100 was tied for third last spring, but gained two-and-a-half points during a ratings period that was preceded in February by most of the local airstaff being replaced by syndicated talent.
Normally, only the Persons 12+ ratings are made available to the public, and we have to give the disclaimer that P12+ is only a broad overview of the ratings; it does not reflect the specific demographics targeted by individual stations.
But Z95-5 PD Justin Wright proudly writes to CNYRadio.com: "We are #1 in all dayparts w18-34 and p18-34 as well as #2 12plus in just 2 books!! It's amazing the accomplishments we have made in less than a year." The station just launched last September, bringing CHR radio to Ithaca for the first time in roughly 20 years.
You may recall Saga quickly followed suit, launching its own CHR station on WYXL-HD2, as well as a translator for those who don't have HD Radio, but we have yet to see any HD2 station show up in the ratings from any market we cover.
Update 2:45pm - Our thanks to WCNY-FM Program Director Pete McElvein, who points out something we didn't know: "Arbitron is not listing any HD2 stations in the books for diary markets even if listening is reported."
Rounding out the top five is Saga news/talker WHCU, posting a 5.3 rating among Persons 12+. That's a half-point lower than last spring.