Friday, December 7, 2012

Charlotte Ratings: Greater Media Rebounds

Things are looking up for Greater Media’s Charlotte stations WBT-AM (1110) and WLNK-FM (“Link” 107.9), writes Mark Washburn at

Both had faded in the ratings after Arbitron, the company that measures radio usage, went to a new system in 2010. Arbitron abandoned its longtime approach of asking a random sample of radio listeners to fill out a weekly diary of what they tuned into and started handing out beeper-sized gizmos to electronically measure what stations were listened to.

In the latest rankings, both WBT-AM and WLNK-FM were tied for No. 6 among Charlotte stations.

It was significant for “Link,” which had gone through a long slide. In the spring of 2010, when Arbitron’s diary method ended, WLNK was No. 15 in overall listeners.

Arbitron’s electronic monitors, called Portable People Meters or PPMs, are distributed to about 1,000 people in the 13-county Charlotte listening area. They are said to be more accurate than the diary system, which relied on people remembering what they listened to, and for how long.

Nationally, though, stations with talk formats tended to show a dip in the new ratings system while stations concentrating on music showed gains.

At WBT, Greater Media made changes to increase listener interest. It added more newsmaker interviews on shows like “Charlotte’s Morning News” and made weather and traffic an appointment destination on the 10s. It sped up segments by eliminating chit-chat.

At WLNK, the station’s morning show with Bob Lacey and Sheri Lynch sped up the time spent with callers and started playing music between segments. Listeners complained, but ratings rose.

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