LOS ANGELES — Several particularly significant occurrences make Nielsen Audio's December 2016 PPM ratings period (November 3 – November 30) perhaps the most unique one in calendar year 2016.
It is noteworthy for news and/or talk stations, in that, the period began five days before the highly spirited (to say the least) presidential election; for sports stations, it not only transitions from the MLB post-season, it includes a good chunk of the NFL's regular season.
Meanwhile in the music-radio realm, the December 2016 sweep reflects a mainly mid-November start by some stations (the overwhelming majority of which are adult contemporary) of a flip to all-Christmas music, which continues to remain a highly successful programming strategy.
So – what happened?
Clearly, the big ratings winners in December 2016 were stations engineering the aforementioned temporary format adjustment to seasonal all-holiday tunes.
The following indicates the margin of those increases and which formats – if indeed applicable – were most impacted.
Nielsen Audio releases audience estimates for stations that subscribe to its services. Owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive Talkers analysis are limited to outlets that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.
We begin with the 64 stations that gain at least eight-tenths of a share (6+) between November 2016 and December 2016.
Depicted are those facilities by format; 6+ increase; November 2016 6+-share; December 2016 6+-share; November 2016 market rank; and December 2016 6+ market rank.
For example, iHeartMedia Jacksonville's country-formatted WQIK increases its November 2016 6+-share of 6.8 by +4.5 to 11.3, lifting it from fifth (November 2016, 6+) to first (December 2016, 6+).
Conversely, these 59 facilities endure a 6+- November 2016 to December 2016 decrease of at least eight-tenths.
The list commences with CBS Radio Chicago sports property WSCR and iHeartMedia Cleveland talker WTAM – the flagships of the two teams (Cubs and Indians) squaring off in the 2016 World Series.
The November 2016 6+-share of WSCR (6.1) plummets by -3.5 to 2.6 as "The Score" freefalls from #2 (November 2016, 6+) out of the top ten (#12, December 2016, 6+).
Major Moves By Market
Where applicable, increases are listed first in each market and then the decreases (again if applicable).
Markets with the most (6+) November 2016 – December 2016 activity are Cleveland (eight stations) and St. Louis (seven stations).
The only PPM-market that didn't have a station making a 6+ November 2016 – December 2016 move of at least +.8 or -.8 is Houston, where Spanish contemporary KAMA is +.7 (2.2 – 2.9, #19 to #16, 6+) and regional Mexican KLTN is -.7 (7.4 – 6.7, #1 to #3, 6+).
Major Moves By Format
More than half the stations progressing by at least +.8 (November 2016 – December 2016, 6+) are adult contemporary.
They are shown here from (6+) high to low November 2016 – December 2016 increases, starting with Bonneville Salt Lake City's KSFI "FM 100.3" and are followed by stations in 17 other formats boasting improvements of at least eight-tenths (6+ November 2016 – December 2016).
Take note, for example, that while WQIK boasts the greatest (6+) advance of any station listed (a whopping +4.5), it is the only country station to register a November 2016 – December 2016 gain of at least eight-tenths.
There is far less of a consensus when it comes to isolating formats experiencing a (6+) November 2016 – December 2016 decline of eight-tenths or greater.
Roughly one of five stations that dipped by at least -.8 (November 2016 – December 2016, 6+) are sports outlets.
Historically, all-Christmas music stations experience even greater (positive) bumps in the "Holiday" sweep.
There is every reason to believe that will be the case for "Holiday 2016" and we will do a similar analysis when that data is available, roughly this time next month.