Knoxville Media: Caveat Emptor: The Spring 05 Arbitron

This 12-week survey began on Thursday, March 31st and ended on Wednesday, June 22nd. Here’s how Arbitron is tracking the timing of these changes:

Effective May 16, 2005:

  • WYIL-FM 98.7 (Rhythmic CHR) signs off the air.

  • WOKI-FM changed frequency from 100.3 to 98.7 continuing the same Album Adult Alternative format. The station name was updated from "The River World Class Rock" to "98.7 The River, playing the music we like." The city of license was updated from Oak Ridge/Knoxville to Oliver Springs/Knoxville. The County of license was updated from Anderson to Roane.

  • WNOX-AM changed frequency and band from 990 AM to 100.3 FM continuing the same News Talk Information format. The station name was updated from "Newstalk 99" to "Newstalk 100." The city of license was updated from Knoxville to Oak Ridge/Knoxville. The county of license was updated from Knox to Anderson.
  • A new station signed on the air at the 990 with the call letters WNML-AM airing an "All Sports" format. WNML-AM has submitted an on-air identifier of "The Sports Animal." The city of license is Knoxville. The county of license is Knox.
  • WNOX-FM 99.1 changed call letters to WNML-FM and format from News Talk Information to All Sports. WNML-FM has submitted an on air identifier of "The Sports Animal." The city of license remains Loudon/Knoxville, the County of license remains Loudon.

The bottom line is that the above factors (and others) will affect the 12-week survey which began on March 31st and ended on June 22nd.

Remember, every "diary week" in terms of Arbitron diaries, begins on Thursday and runs through the following Wednesday.

The changes noted above were made on Monday, May 16th: this was in the middle of the seventh week of the twelve-week survey.

Only the last five weeks of the survey reflect the above changes after the signal and format changes occurred. This renders the entire Spring survey useless in terms of predicting the listening behavior associated with these changes.

Those who do subscribe to Maximi$er data can pull up a report for the last five weeks of the survey (May 19th – June 22nd,) but that data needs to be viewed with extreme caution. (I personally wouldn’t form an opinion on such limited information.)

During a typical survey in Knoxville, the number of diaries returned in the Metro Survey Area (MSA) number around 1,600. Assuming the first week after the changes (seventh week of the survey) is a throw-away because of mass listener confusion, let’s look at the sample for the last four weeks of the survey.

Let’s assume that one-third of the returned diaries are equal in each four week "phase" of the survey (which normally isn’t the case), then we would have about 530 diaries that would yield listening data from the last phase of the survey. That’s only 1/3 of the normal sample of a complete survey for this market.

However, that number (530) represents all listeners, 12 years of age or older. I have yet to see a buy placed for "Persons 12+" in all my years working in and around the radio industry.

So, if you’re working on a buy for a narrower demo, like 25-54 Adults, then the sample would be roughly HALF of the 12+ sample… or roughly 265 diaries. If you run a report on Men or Women 25-54, then the sample would be roughly half of the 265 diaries, or 135 respondents.

Also, you can bet that within the four weeks immediately after the signal and format changes, very few listeners had a clue as to what they were actually listening to. (Because of these changes within this survey, it’s my personal opinion that the Spring 05 book is basically worthless.)

Here’s how the historical listening will be credited in the Spring book (you need to know this when you’re looking at listening trends.)

  • Since WYIL-FM (98.7) signed off air, no current or historical audience estimates will be reported for the Spring 2005 survey. WYIL will no longer be listed in the report.
  • WNOX-FM (100.3) will retain the historical trends reported from the same News Talk Information programming previously aired at the AM 990 facility and reported under the old WNOX-AM call letters.
  • The old WOKI-FM (100.3) historical trends will go to the new WOKI-FM (98.7.)
  • The old WNOX-FM (99.1) listening history will be credited to the new WNML-FM (99.1.)
  • The old WNRX-FM (99.3) listening trends will be trended to the new WNRX-FM (99.3.)
  • WNML-AM will receive no historical listening data since it’s a totally new format.
  • Also note, that "Sports Talk" with John Wilkerson and Jimmy Hyams, was simulcast on FOUR STATIONS for the 1/3 of the 12-week survey. (WNOX-FM, WNML-AM, WNML-FM and WNRX-FM.)

Since WNML-AM was only on the air for 1/3 of the survey, there will be no listening data to add and average with the 12-week survey since the format wasn’t there for 2/3 of the survey. Not only that, since "The Sports Animal" is an entirely new entity in Knoxville, it had little identity during the four weeks of the survey that the station was on the air. I would be surprised at any significant ratings on this station for the Spring 05 book.

Here is a listing of how the three major Knoxville radio broadcasting companies’ stations will stack up as of today with the introduction of the all sports station WNML "The Sports Animal 99".

Source: All info comes DIRECTLY from the FCC and is public domain at www.fcc.gov. Mileage range estimates are from Inside Radio/M-Street Directory http://www.100000watts.com. .

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