Chicago radio ratings: WBBM Newsradio warms up to the top

WBBM Newsradio (Photo: Bart Shore)

Whether you think of it as the home of the Bears or the place for "traffic and weather on the eights," WBBM Newsradio got Chicago radio listeners through a bitterly cold January riding high atop the ratings.

The Entercom all-news combo of WBBM 780-AM and WCFS 105.9-FM blasted back into first place in the Nielsen Audio survey released Tuesday. The survey period ran from January 3 to January 30.

The victory coincided with what director of news and programming Ron Gleason called "an incredible milestone" for WBBM Newsradio — the 50th anniversary of Len Walter's hiring. He's still one of the station's most recognizable voices.

Len Walter

"Len was among the earliest news anchors and reporters on the station, and eventually morphed into Chicago's preeminent business anchor, which he remains to this day," Gleason wrote in a congratulatory note. "As the station prepares to mark the 51st anniversary of Newsradio this May, it’s amazing that Len has been here virtually every step of the way."

The latest ratings marked a reset for the market after two months of Christmas music boosting iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLIT 93.9-FM to the stratosphere. In January Lite FM came back to earth — landing in respectable fourth place overall (but still first in middays with Robin Rock).

Mornings were recaptured by Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch on Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM; afternoons led by Sylvia del Valle, Jose Gutierrez and Carlos Ivan Paez of Univision Mexican regional WOJO 105.1-FM; and evenings topped by news anchors Mariam Sobh and Bob Conway on WBBM Newsradio.

Note: In accordance with Nielsen’s publishing guidelines, I cannot report actual audience shares other than those for the full week (below). For mornings, middays, afternoons and evenings, I can list only their rankings — not specific shares.

Here are Chicago’s top 30 radio stations from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday, as measured by Nielsen Audio from January 3 to January 30, followed by format and average quarter-hour share of listeners age 6 and older (with previous month’s share in parentheses):

1. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 6.2 (5.3)
2. WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 5.5 (4.6)
3. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 5.4 (4.4)
4. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 5.0 (13.3)
5. WVAZ 102.7-FM urban adult contemporary, 4.8 (4.9)
6. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 4.5 (3.9)
7. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 3.7 (3.6)
8. WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 3.3 (3.0)
9. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.2 (3.2)
10. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip hop, 3.1 (3.0); WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 3.1 (2.5)
12. (tie) WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 3.0 (2.6); WGN 720-AM news talk, 3.0 (2.2)
14. (tie) WGCI 107.5-FM urban contemporary, 2.9 (3.0); WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 2.9 (2.9)
16. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.8 (2.8); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.8 (2.3)
18. WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 2.6 (2.3)
19. (tie) WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.3 (2.4); WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.3 (2.5)
21. WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 2.2 (2.6)
22. WPWX 92.3-FM urban contemporary, 2.0 (1.9)
23. WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.7 (1.1)
24. WEBG 95.5-FM country, 1.5 (1.5)
25. (tie) WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian, 1.3 (1.3); WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.3 (1.1)
27. WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 1.2 (1.2)
28. WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 1.1 (1.2)
29. WERV 95.9-FM classic hits, 1.0 (0.6)
30. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 0.9 (1.0)

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 morning shows from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen Audio:

1. WTMX 101.9-FM Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch
2. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy
3. WOJO 105.1-FM Raúl Molinar, Carla Medrano and Andrés Maldonado
4. WSCR 670-AM Mike Mulligan and David Haugh
5. WGN 720-AM Steve Cochran
6. WDRV 97.1-FM Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle
7. WLIT 93.9-FM, Melissa Forman
8. WVAZ 102.7-FM Steve Harvey
9. WLS 94.7-FM Dave Fogel and Kim Berk
10. WBEZ 91.5-FM "Morning Edition" and "Morning Shift" with Jennifer White

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 midday shows from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen Audio:

1. WLIT 93.9-FM Robin Rock
2. WOJO 105.1-FM Rafael “El Primo Rafa” Bautista
3. WDRV 97.1-FM Bob Stroud
4. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Cisco Cotto and Kris Kridel
5. WTMX 101.9-FM Lisa Allen
6. WLS 94.7-FM Greg Brown
7. WVAZ 102.7-FM Bioncé Foxx
8. WXRT 93.1-FM Terri Hemmert; Marty Lennartz
9. WSHE 100.3-FM Lisa Kosty
10. WRME 87.7-FM

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 afternoon shows from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen Audio:

1. WOJO 105.1-FM Sylvia del Valle, Jose Gutierrez and Carlos Ivan Paez
2. WLIT 93.9-FM Mick Lee
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Kris Kridel and Keith Johnson
4. WTMX 101.9-FM Kevin “Koz” Koske and Jennifer Roberts
5. WVAZ 102.7-FM Joe Soto
6. WDRV 97.1-FM Steve Seaver and Janda Lane
7. WLS 94.7-FM Ron Parker
8. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM Sean “Sonic” Leckie; WKSC 103.5-FM Brady Broski
10. WGCI 107.5-FM Tone Kapone

Here are Chicago radio’s top 10 evening shows from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, as measured by Nielsen Audio:

1. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Mariam Sobh; Bob Conway
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM Chris Michaels
3. WSCR 670-AM Laurence Holmes; Julie DiCaro
4. WOJO 105.1-FM Karen “La Coqueta” Duran
5. WBMX 104.3-FM Julian Jumpin’ Perez
6. (tie) WGCI 107.5-FM DJ MoonDawg (Michael Muniz); WLIT 93.9-FM Delilah
8. WTMX 101.9-FM Chris Reese
9. (tie) WDRV 97.1-FM Phil Manicki; WKQX 101.1-FM Walter Flakus; WLS 94.7-FM Brian Peck; WPWX 92.3-FM Rodney “HotRod” Washington

(Copyright © 2019 The Nielsen Company.)

Tuesday's comment of the day: Larry Marion: I love love Rob Feder's cyber column on here. That being said I give up. its the same knuckleheads every time it is not in their lane or we all are taught a lesson by their wise observations. The saddest part of this entire thing is it only gives these dürks ammunition to judge everyone the same vs. looking at the individual. Yes, if he made this up, of course he should pay restitution and whatever else happened. Why does everything have to be so this or that? Anyways.