Chicago radio ratings: Holiday cheer for 93.9 Lite FM; tough times for WGN

93.9 Lite FM

While iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLIT 93.9-FM dominated the ratings in December with nonstop Christmas music, Steve Cochran's swan song as morning star on news/talk WGN 720-AM marked the Nexstar Media Group station's only strong showing for the month.

Nielsen Audio figures released Wednesday gave 93.9 Lite FM its highest audience share in three years, thanks to its 19th consecutive run as “Chicago’s Christmas Station.” It also swept all four dayparts, with first-place finishes for Melissa Forman in mornings, Robin Rock in middays, Mick Lee in afternoons and the syndicated Delilah Rene in evenings.

Steve Cochran

But all eyes were on WGN following back-to-back programming realignments, including the ousters of midday co-hosts Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder in November and morning personality Cochran in December.

WGN's overall audience share declined 14 percent month-to-month, dropping to a tie for 11th place with Weigel Broadcasting soft rock oldies WRME 87.7-FM and Hubbard Radio adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM.

Cochran, whose last day on the air was December 20, had the only top 10 daypart for WGN, tying for sixth with Mike Mulligan and David Haugh of Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. Cochran's successor, Bob Sirott, debuted on January 6. Middays, afternoons and evenings on WGN were all underperformers.

A notable success was Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ 91.5-FM, which rose to fourth place in mornings with record shares for NPR's “Morning Edition” and “BBC Newshour.”

Still struggling to regain a once-indomitable hold on mornings was the team of Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch on Hubbard Radio hot-adult contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM, which fell to eighth.

Among top 10 performers in evenings were two personalities who were cut by iHeartMedia in companywide layoffs last week — Chris Michaels of urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7 and DJ MoonDawg (Michael Muniz) of urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5.

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 December 5 to January 1, followed by format and average quarter-hour share of listeners age 6 and older (with previous month’s share in parentheses):

1. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 13.7 (9.5)
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM urban adult contemporary, 5.7 (5.4)
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 4.9 (5.0)
4. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 4.6 (4.7)
5. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 4.3 (4.8)
6. WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 3.5 (3.1)
7. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 3.3 (3.4)
8. (tie) WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.1 (3.8); WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 3.1 (3.5); WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 3.1 (3.5)
11. (tie) WGN 720-AM news talk, 3.0 (3.5); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 3.0 (3.3); WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 3.0 (3.4)
14. WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.9 (2.7)
15. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 2.8 (3.2)
16. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip hop, 2.5 (2.9); WGCI 107.5-FM urban contemporary, 2.5 (2.2)
18. WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 2.4 (2.9)
19. WLS 890-AM news talk, 2.3 (2.3)
20. WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 1.9 (2.1)
21. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 1.6 (1.9); WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian, 1.6 (1.5); WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 1.6 (1.9)
24. (tie) WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 1.4 (1.6); WPWX 92.3-FM urban contemporary, 1.4 (1.0)
26. WEBG 95.5-FM country, 1.2 (1.5)
27. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.1 (1.2)
28. WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.0 (1.0)
29. WSRB 106.3-FM urban adult contemporary, 0.9 (1.1)
30. WFMT 98.7-FM classical 0.8 (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. WLIT 93.9-FM Melissa Forman
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM Steve Harvey
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy
4. WBEZ 91.5-FM “Morning Edition” and “BBC Newshour”
5. WDRV 97.1-FM Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle
6. (tie) WSCR 670-AM Mike Mulligan and David Haugh; WGN 720-AM Steve Cochran
8. WTMX 101.9-FM Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch
9. WLS 94.7-FM Dave Fogel and Kim Berk
10. WSHE 100.3-FM Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh

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. WDRV 97.1-FM Bob Stroud
3. WLS 94.7-FM Greg Brown
4. WVAZ 102.7-FM Bioncé Foxx
5. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Cisco Cotto and Rob Hart
6. (tie) WSCR 670-AM Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight; Laurence Holmes; WLS 890-AM Chris Plante; Rush Limbaugh
8. WTMX 101.9-FM Lisa Allen
9. (tie) WXRT 93.1-FM Richard Milne; WOJO 105.1-FM Rafael “El Primo Rafa” Bautista; WSHE 100.3-FM Lisa Kosty

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. WVAZ 102.7-FM Joe Soto
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Keith Johnson and Lisa Fielding
4. WDRV 97.1-FM Steve Seaver and Janda Lane
5. WLS 94.7-FM Erin Carman
6. WXRT 93.1-FM Marty Lennartz
7. WSCR 670-AM Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins
8. WTMX 101.9-FM Kevin “Koz” Koske and Jennifer Roberts
9. (tie) WBBM 96.3-FM Eric Tyler; WKSC 103.5-FM Brady Broski; WSHE 100.3-FM Jay Styles

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

1. WLIT 93.9-FM Delilah Rene
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM Chris Michaels
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Bob Conway
4. (tie) WBBM 96.3-FM Julia Lepidi; WGCI 107.5-FM DJ MoonDawg (Michael Muniz); WRME 87.7-FM
7. WDRV 97.1-FM Phil Manicki
8. WLS 94.7-FM Brian Peck
9. WBMX 104.3-FM Julian Jumpin’ Perez
10. WXRT 93.1-FM Ryan Arnold

(Copyright © 2020 The Nielsen Company.)

Tuesday's comment of the day: Jim Ruddle: Sheldon [Cooper] and I talked on the phone about a week ago. We were always professionally engaged as friends. He was probably the primary voice at WGN inviting me and Gary Park — he was in California and I was in Florida — to come to Chicago.