Chicago radio ratings: WBBM Newsradio, 94.7 WLS and V103 tie for first place

Greg Brown

For the first time ever there's a three-way tie for Chicago's most popular radio station, according to the latest Nielsen Audio survey.

Ratings released Monday showed WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, the Entercom all-news combo; WLS 94.7-FM, the Cumulus Media classic hits station; and WVAZ 102.7-FM, the iHeartMedia urban adult-contemporary station, sharing the top spot with identical 5.1 percent audience shares among all listeners.

Last month's winner, Hubbard Radio hot adult contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM, fell to sixth place, barely beating its adult contemporary sister station, WSHE 100.3-FM.

In a seismic shocker, the Seattle-based syndicated morning show hosted by Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh on SHE 100.3 overtook perennial champs Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch of 101.9 The Mix for No. 1 in the key adult demographic favored by advertisers.

Tops among all listeners were Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy of WBBM Newsradio in mornings; Greg Brown of 94.7 WLS in middays; Mick Lee of iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLIT 93.9-FM in afternoons; and Chris Michaels of V103 in evenings.

As expected, Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM had a notable boost — including a strong third-place finish in mornings with Steve Cochran — in part because the station recently combined its online and over-the-air audiences in what’s known as Total Line Reporting. V103 moved to Total Line Reporting in August.

Nonstop Christmas music on 93.9 Lite FM began November 5 — one day before the end of the ratings period.

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 October 10 to November 6, followed by format and average quarter-hour share of listeners age 6 and older (with previous month’s share in parentheses):

1. (tie) WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 5.1 (4.9); WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 5.1 (4.8); WVAZ 102.7-FM urban adult contemporary, 5.1 (5.4)
4. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 4.8 (5.2)
5. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 4.7 (4.3)
6. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 4.4 (5.5)
7. WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 4.1 (3.4)
8. WGN 720-AM news talk, 4.0 (3.5)
9. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.8 (3.8)
10. WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 3.6 (2.9)
11. (tie) WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 3.5 (3.3); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 3.5 (3.4)
13. WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 3.4 (4.3)
14. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 3.2 (3.0)
15. WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 3.1 (3.1)
16. WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip hop, 2.9 (3.0)
17. WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.6 (2.8)
18. WLS 890-AM news talk, 2.3 (2.3)
19. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.2 (2.0); WGCI 107.5-FM urban contemporary, 2.2 (2.4)
21. WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 2.1 (1.8)
22. WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 1.9 (1.8)
23. WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 1.6 (1.8)
24. WEBG 95.5-FM country, 1.5 (1.3)
25. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.3 (1.4)
26. (tie) WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian, 1.2 (1.0); WPWX 92.3-FM urban contemporary, 1.2
28. WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.1 (1.0)
29. WSRB 106.3-FM urban adult contemporary, 1.0
30. WIIL 95.1-FM album-oriented rock, 0.8

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

1. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy
2. WTMX 101.9-FM Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch
3. WGN 720-AM Steve Cochran
4. WVAZ 102.7-FM Steve Harvey
5. (tie) WSCR 670-AM Mike Mulligan and David Haugh; WLS 94.7-FM Dave Fogel and Kim Berk
7. WSHE 100.3-FM Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh
8. (tie) WDRV 97.1-FM Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle; WOJO 105.1-FM Raúl Molinar, Carla Medrano and Andrés Maldonado
10. WBEZ 91.5-FM “Morning Edition” and “BBC Newshour”

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. WLS 94.7-FM Greg Brown
2. WDRV 97.1-FM Bob Stroud
3. WLIT 93.9-FM Robin Rock
4. WTMX 101.9-FM Lisa Allen
5. (tie) WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Cisco Cotto and Rob Hart; WVAZ 102.7-FM Bioncé Foxx
7. WSHE 100.3-FM Lisa Kosty
8. WGN 720-AM Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder; John Williams
9. WRME 87.7-FM
10. WSCR 670-AM Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight; Laurence Holmes

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

1. WLIT 93.9-FM Mick Lee
2. WLS 94.7-FM Ron Parker; Erin Carman
3. WDRV 97.1-FM Steve Seaver and Janda Lane
4. (tie) WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Keith Johnson and Lisa Fielding; WSHE 100.3-FM Jay Styles
6. WVAZ 102.7-FM Joe Soto
7. (tie) WXRT 93.1-FM Marty Lennartz; WTMX 101.9-FM Kevin “Koz” Koske and Jennifer Roberts
9. (tie) WBEZ 91.5-FM “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace”; WKSC 103.5-FM Brady Broski

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

1. WVAZ 102.7-FM Chris Michaels
2. WLIT 93.9-FM Delilah Rene
3. (tie) WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Bob Conway; WRME 87.7-FM
5. (tie) WBEZ 91.5-FM “Marketplace,” “The Daily,” “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” “BBC Newsday,” “1A,” “BBC World Service”; WSHE 100.3-FM Brian Middleton
7. WLS 94.7-FM Brian Peck
8. WXRT 93.1-FM Ryan Arnold
9. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM Julian Jumpin' Perez; WKSC 103.5-FM Jordan Foster

(Copyright © 2019 The Nielsen Company.)

Monday's comment of the day: Arthur Holland: With all due respect, weren't all the presenters notified in advance of the three- minute limit? So what happened, though embarrassing, was justified. Why do people think it's okay to break rules? The rule was in place for a reason. Some people get the microphone and can't stop themselves. The producers even gave a subtle clue with the music and this lady refused to get to the honoree. Yet somehow the museum is sorry? If one person goes beyond the three-minute limit without repercussions, then everyone else will feel entitled to do the same. Then a two-hour program becomes a four-hour program. Venue staffers will have to stay later and maybe work overtime. (But who cares about them? They are peons to serve the wealthy). I believe next time people will know the three-minute rule will be enforced and won't take up unnecessary time. Others have to be honored too.