COLUMBIA, MD -- A new deal between radio ratings giant Arbitron and station owner Cumulus Media means four Syracuse-area radio stations will again have access to ratings data. It also means ratings data released to the media and the general public will include Cumulus-owned stations for the first time in years.
In a press release, Arbitron said the new deal covers all 450 Cumulus-owned stations in 100 markets across the country. That includes extensions for existing deals in 56 markets, and the addition of 44 markets that previously weren't subscribing to Arbitron's services.
Cumulus owns four stations in Syracuse: CHR-formatted 93Q (WNTQ), active rock 95X (WAQX), classic rock 105.9 The Rebel (WXTL) and sports talk The Score 1260 (WSKO). The cluster had stopped subscribing to Arbitron while it was still under its previous owner, Citadel Broadcasting.
Last April, Arbitron resumed releasing "top-line" ratings data for the Syracuse market for the first time in four years. Before that, Arbitron had placed an embargo on Syracuse, meaning absolutely no ratings data was released to the public; the numbers were only provided to subscribing radio stations and advertising agencies.
When Arbitron ended its embargo policy nationwide, it came with a condition: the company would only publicly share "top-line" (Persons 12+, Mon-Sun, 6am-Midnight) ratings data for subscribing stations. Ratings for non-subscribers are still tabulated and provided in the full book given to subscribers, but those non-subscribing stations are omitted from ratings data released to the public and the media.
As a result, the stations owned by Cumulus -- and other non-subscribers like Galaxy Communications and Leatherstocking Media Group -- have not appeared on the Syracuse Arbitron ratings page here at CNYRadio.com.
The new deal between the two companies means we will see those four stations return to the list, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, when Arbitron is scheduled to release its Fall 2012 ratings report for the Syracuse market. That report will be based on a 12-week survey period which ended December 5.
If Cumulus is omitted from the Fall 2012 report, the Winter 2013 book begins today, runs through March 27 and the results are expected April 29.
In the absence of a full report from Arbitron, we've been monitoring data provided by Eastlan Ratings. Eastlan's reports include all stations that garnered enough of an audience to make the list, including non-commercial stations and even satellite radio channels. However, Eastlan held its Spring 2012 data without any explanation, and it's not yet known if the company will release its Fall 2012 data to the public.