SYRACUSE -- Unless you've got access to the full Arbitron Spring 2012 ratings report for Syracuse, it can be difficult to tell where the area's radio stations stacked up against each other. The numbers released to the public today include only 8 of the market's more than 30 stations.
The abbreviated list comes in line with a new nationwide policy announced by Arbitron in April: ratings numbers released to the public now include only the stations which hold a paid subscription to Arbitron's full report. It is widely believed that the policy is intended to keep non-subscribing stations from using the data without paying, especially in recent years where it seems that more and more stations have been dropping subscriptions.
The Syracuse Arbitron Ratings Page at CNYRadio.com has been updated to include the audience estimates from the Spring 2012 survey period, which ran from March 29 through June 20.
The eight stations listed include those owned by Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and three owned locally by Craig Fox's Renard Communications and WOLF Radio, Inc. It's no surprise to see stations locally-owned by Galaxy Communications omitted from the list, as Galaxy has been a subscriber of the competing Eastlan service for several years. But, notably absent for the second book in a row, are the four Syracuse stations owned by Cumulus Media, the country's second-largest radio station operator behind Clear Channel.
Topping the list of ratings released to the public is Clear Channel country B104.7 (WBBS) with an 11.5. Next on the list -- but not necessarily in second place -- it's rhythmic CHR Hot 107.9 (WWHT), with a 7.2. Due to the subscriber-only policy, it's not known how Cumulus rival 93Q (WNTQ) compared to WWHT. In estimates released by the competing Eastlan Ratings service, the two stations have been back-and-forth over the last several ratings periods. We will note, however, that the 7.2 spring rating for WWHT is an improvement over its 6.5 showing in the winter book.
Next on the list is Clear Channel's FM News/Talk 106.9 and 570 WSYR (AM and FM), posting a 6.2, a more than two-and-a-half point drop from the winter book, and its lowest book out of the last six. Following is AC sister station Y94FM (WYYY), posting a 5.5 rating, basically flat with the previous book but nearly a point higher than the same period one year ago.
Locally-owned WOLF Radio Inc's New Country WOLF 105.1 rebounds from a winter slump, 1.7 to 2.5 in the spring, though that's still slightly behind the 3.1 rating it posted last spring. That's followed by rhythmic AC sister station MOViN' 100.3/96/5 (WMVN), which posts its best book out of the last six, with a 2.2.
Clear Channel's urban AC Power 620 (WHEN) appears next on the list, with a 1.8 share, a drop from both the winter book and when compared to last spring. At the bottom of the list, Love Radio (WVOA-FM) makes its first appearance in quite awhile, barely making the board with a 0.6 rating.
We've heard that Arbitron will be releasing Spring 2012 ratings for the Utica-Rome market tomorrow. If that holds true, we'll have those P12+ numbers (subscribing stations only, of course) and analysis right here.
Coincidentally (before we knew Syracuse's Arbitrons would be released this evening), we had checked with Eastlan Ratings CEO Mike Gould this morning to check on the status of his company's spring book.
He told CNYRadio.com that Syracuse and Utica-Rome "are among five markets that we are not able to release at this time." He didn't specify whether we were just a bit early in asking or if there were other issues at play, but he did assure us he'll let us know "when the status changes."
Since Eastlan started providing ratings data to the media, their reports have generally included all radio stations in the market -- even non-commercial stations -- regardless of a station's status as a subscriber or non-subscriber.