Nov 3, 2022 - Business

Chicago's October radio ratings show politics fading

Arrow plot showing changes in Chicago-area radio Nielsen ratings from September to October 2022 for the top 10 stations. Data: Radio Online; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

October ratings show Chicago radio listeners aren't interested in hearing about the midterms.

Driving the news: The Drive (WDRV-FM) held the top spot again this month, although it lost ground to WLIT-FM (The Lite).

  • The Lite started holiday music yesterday, so that seasonal shift will be reflected in November's ratings.

Why it matters: WBEZ lost ground even though NPR and the local newsroom ramped up reports, interviews and discussions surrounding the midterm elections.

Biggest winner: V-103 is back. The R&B station had the market's biggest month-to-month increase, moving back into third place.

Biggest loser: WGN dropped the most of any station and is now in a three-way tie for 10th with WPPN-FM (Spanish) and WUSN-FM (country).

Biggest radio news: WBBM is the radio home of the Bears, but it was announced yesterday that game coverage will move to ESPN 1000 (WMVP-AM) next season.

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

  • And full disclosure, I've worked for a number of these stations.

The intrigue: We launched an informal reader poll last month to tell us your favorite radio station. Nearly 300 of you responded to declare WXRT the overwhelming winner.

  • WBEZ also had a strong showing, and WGN, The Drive and The Score rounded out the top 5.
  • Readers were irate with me for not including WFMT (classical) in the poll, which got the sixth-most votes — just from write-ins.

More of your feedback and comments:

Barbara M.: "WBEZ is my favorite radio station, though during the Sox season it’s AM 1000!"

Kirk M.: "Having worked in radio for 40 years, just a reminder that the ratings stations care about are ages 25-54 because that's what the ad world cares about."

Liz S.: "I still like John Williams 10-2 Monday thru Friday on WGN Radio. It’s going to be a sad, sad day when he retires."

Michael M.: "AM 1000 during baseball season, WBEZ when I want quiet, thoughtful reflection. Blues (on satellite) Sunday morning for the best acoustic blues show around."

Ira F.: "Since Rob Feder retired I have been Jonesing for media news. Would it be possible to expand on the ratings and give the drive time ratings?"


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