Chicago radio ratings: News rules again with WBBM, WBEZ on top

Keith Johnson and Lisa Fielding

Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM held onto the top spot overall in the latest Chicago radio ratings while Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ 91.5-FM reprised its first-place finish in morning drive.

Nielsen Audio figures released Monday also showed WBBM Newsradio first in middays with Cisco Cotto, first in afternoons with Keith Johnson and Lisa Fielding, and first in evenings with Bob Conway and Andy Dahn.

But the previous survey's stunning leap by WBEZ proved no fluke when the public radio station moved up to second place overall and again won mornings with NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “BBC Newshour” (along with Mary Dixon's local news reports).

A closer look at Chicago's five rock stations shows iHeartMedia WCHI 95.5-FM still struggling to find an audience after six months in the format. Rock 95.5 languished in 24th place with a 1.5 percent share, compared with the final book for country Big 95.5, which ranked 21st with a 2.1 share.

In key adult demos, Entercom adult album alternative WXRT 93.1-FM led the rock race, followed by Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM, Cumulus Media alternative rock WKQX 101.1-FM and Cumulus Media classic hits WLS 94.7-FM. Rock 95.5 again was an also-ran.

Window to the World Communications classical WFMT 98.7-FM saw an uptick from 24th to 16th overall and a sixth place finish in evenings.

Here are Chicago’s top 30 radio stations from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday, as measured by Nielsen Audio from February 4 to March 3, 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, 7.1 (7.3)
2. WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 6.4 (6.7)
3. WVAZ 102.7-FM R&B, 6.0 (6.8)
4. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 5.3 (5.1)
5. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 4.5 (4.4)
6. WGN 720-AM news talk, 4.1 (4.1)
7. (tie) WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 4.0 (4.4); WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 4.0 (3.5)
9. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.8 (3.4)
10. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 3.0 (2.6)
11. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 2.9 (2.9)
12. WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.6 (2.7)
13. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip-hop, 2.5 (2.1); WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 2.5 (1.7)
15. WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 2.4 (2.0)
16. WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 2.2 (1.5)
17. (tie) WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 2.1 (2.3); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.1 (2.9)
19. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.0 (2.0); WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.0 (1.8)
21. WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 1.8 (2.1)
22. WGCI 107.5-FM hip-hop, 1.7 (1.9)
23. WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.6 (1.9)
24. WCHI 95.5-FM rock, 1.5 (1.8)
25. WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.3 (1.1)
26. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.2 (1.0)
27. WPWX 92.3-FM hip-hop, 1.1 (1.2)
28. (tie) WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian music, 0.9 (0.8); WCPT 820-AM progressive talk, 0.9 (1.1)
30. WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 0.8 (0.7)

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

1. WBEZ 91.5-FM “Morning Edition”; “BBC Newshour”
2. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Pat Cassidy
3. WVAZ 102.7-FM Steve Harvey
4. WTMX 101.9-FM Eric Ferguson, Brian “Whip” Paruch and Violeta Podrumedic
5. WGN 720-AM Bob Sirott
6. WLIT 93.9-FM Melissa Forman
7. WOJO 105.1-FM Raúl Molinar, Carla Medrano and Andrés Maldonado
8. WDRV 97.1-FM Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle
9. (tie) WXRT 93.1-FM Richard Milne; WKSC 103.5-FM Christopher “Fred” Frederick and Kristie Graybill

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. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Cisco Cotto
2. WLIT 93.9-FM Robin Rock
3. WBEZ 91.5-FM “1A”; “Reset”; “Fresh Air”
4. WDRV 97.1-FM Bob Stroud
5. WGN 720-AM John Williams, Anna Davlantes
6. WTMX 101.9-FM Nikki Chuminatto
7. WOJO 105.1-FM Rafael “El Primo Rafa” Bautista
8. WVAZ 102.7-FM Bioncé Foxx
9. WXRT 93.1-FM Lin Brehmer
10. WLS 94.7-FM Greg Brown

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

1. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM Keith Johnson and Lisa Fielding
2. WBEZ 91.5-FM “All Things Considered”; “Marketplace”
3. WLIT 93.9-FM Mick Lee
4. WVAZ 102.7-FM Joe Soto
5. WOJO 105.1-FM Sylvia del Valle
6. WTMX 101.9-FM Chris Petlak and Lisa Allen
7. WDRV 97.1-FM Steve Seaver and Janda Lane
8. (tie) WXRT 93.1-FM Marty Lennartz; WKSC 103.5-FM Brady Broski; WPPN 106.7-FM Maria Esther "La Chula" Mendez and Poncho "La Bestia" Mercado

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 Bob Conway; Andy Dahn
2. WBEZ 91.5-FM “Marketplace”; “The Daily”; “Fresh Air”; “1A”; “BBC World Service”
3. WVAZ 102.7-FM Keith Sweat
4. WLIT 93.9-FM Delilah Rene
5. WGN 720-AM John Records Landecker; Dave Plier; Chicago Blackhawks hockey
6. WFMT 98.7-FM
7. WXRT 93.1-FM Ryan Arnold
8. (tie) WLS 890-AM Mark Levin; WLS 94.7-FM Kid Kelly
10. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM; WKSC 103.5-FM Jordan “JRDN” Foster; WTMX 101.9-FM Jordan “Dash” Orman-Weiss

(Copyright © 2021 The Nielsen Company.)