Oct 6, 2022 - News

Chicago is still a classic rock town

These rankings are based on quarter hour ratings (AQH) of people ages 6+ who listen Monday through Sunday. Data: Nielsen Audio.; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios

👋 Hi, it's Justin. Ever since columnist Robert Feder retired in July, the lack of daily Chicago media coverage has been painful.

Why it matters: There is no shortage of media news, from investigating faux newspaper production, revealing new television news sets or announcing trusted anchors retiring.

.📈 The intrigue: After Nielsen audio put out its September radio ratings for our metro area, we decided to pick up — a bit — where Feder left off.

State of play: Chicago is a radio town.

  • Just take a trip downtown to the Museum of Broadcast Communications to check out the history of radio exhibit.
  • But gone are the days of radio dominance by stations like WGN, WBBM-AM and WGCI. New streaming technology and the pandemic helped shift our listening habits.

🤘 Driving the news: The Drive (WDRV) remains the last of the classic rock stations in town. In September, the station was far and away the most popular listening experience.

ğŸŽ„ Runner up: The Lite (WLIT) ratings usually drop outside its popular, late-year, all-holiday programming, but the soft rock station continues to do well without it.

  • Watch them retake the top spot when they start spinning Bing Crosby and Gene Autry classics in November.

🗣 The other side: Summer is usually down for talk radio. Both WBEZ and WGN-AM saw drops from August to September, but they should rebound as we near Election Day.

  • 📻 And the once dominant Top 40 stations that now compete with streaming music services didn't crack the top 10.

Of note: These ratings don't break down dayparts or specific demographics.

Full disclosure: I've worked for a number of these stations.

📫 What's your favorite radio station? We want to know in our informal Axios Chicago reader poll for a story next week.


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