It might be too early to tell whether iHeartMedia made a mistake by dumping heritage alternative station KDGE/102.1 FM “The Edge” to make way for adult-contemporary station “Star 102.1,” but from a ratings standpoint, iHeart certainly made the right move by launching “Star” with more than four weeks of Christmas music.
In the latest Nielsen Audio ratings, released Tuesday afternoon and posted on various websites including AllAccess.com, Star was the overall ratings winner for the “holiday” period, which began Dec. 1 and ended Jan. 4. Star registered a 7.7 share for the period, up from 3.3 in the December survery (covering Nov. 3-30) and from 2.1 in the November survey (covering Oct. 6-Nov. 2, the last full ratings period for “The Edge”.)
Star debuted Nov. 17 with the Christmas format, a day after CBS Radio’s KLUV/98.7 FM launched its holiday format, which it has been running for the past few years as a run-up to Christmas. Usually, it’s a guaranteed win for KLUV, but this ttime KLUV had a 6.8 share among listeners 6 and over. That was still two share points ahead of third-place KHKS/106.1 FM “KISS-FM,” the contemporary-hits station that is frequently No. 1 during non-holiday periods. Of course, KISS is also an iHeart station, so iHeart has to be pretty happy about these results. In fact, iHeart’s all five of iHeart’s DFW FM radio stations landed in the overall Top 10 for the holiday book.
It should be stressed that radio and TV stations don’t sell advertising based on the “6-plus” ratings, but on demographic breakdowns that aren’t immediately available to the non-broadcast media. Both KLUV and Star 102.1 target a 25-54 demographic, emphasis on women. Star and KLUV were first and second, respectively, in both 25-54 “persons” and 25-54 women, but Star quadrupled the Edge’s ratings from the period two months earlier.
It will be at least a month and probably more before anyone can tell how much the new Star and the long-running classic-hits KLUV’s regular formats benefited from this holiday bounce. KLUV has been a strong performer in recent months, usually among the top three stations overall.
After a long period of relative stability among corporate-radio giants iHeart and CBS, the Edge-to-Star format flip was followed a few weeks later by CBS Radio’s changing KVIL to “Amp 103.7,” another contemporary-hits/Top 40 format in a market that already had two in KISS-FM and Cumulus’ KLIF/93.3 FM “Hot 93.3.” KLIF had a 1.6 share during the holiday period, which doesn’t sound great, but it has maintained similar numbers since August while KISS slid nearly a full share point during the holiday period.
It will also be at more than a month before we know the effects of the Amp switch, which took place Jan. 18. But it does look like the DFW radio market is undergoing a shakeup — for a little while, anyway.