Feder: Homebound listeners flock to WBBM Newsradio

  • Cisco Cotto

    Cisco Cotto

Updated 4/16/2020 6:18 AM

The first Chicago radio ratings to reflect the coronavirus shutdown showed substantial increases for three of Chicago's news and news/talk radio stations, Robert Feder writes.

By a wide margin, Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM finished first overall as well as first in mornings, middays, afternoons and evenings, according to audience shares released Wednesday.


Other big gains were posted by WGN 720-AM, the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station, and WBEZ 91.5-FM, the Chicago Public Media NPR news/talk station. Among listeners between 25 and 54, WBEZ finished first in mornings and afternoons for the first time.

The Nielsen Audio survey covered the four-week period from February 27 to March 25.

Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered the shutdown of all bars and restaurants in Illinois on March 15, followed days later by a stay-at-home order for all residents.

Mirroring a downward trend among conservative talk stations nationwide, Cumulus Media Group news/talk WLS 890-AM fell out of the top 20.

The shutdown of sporting events due to the pandemic also showed in lower shares for Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM was flat.

In light of disrupted listening patterns, Nielsen Audio issued an advisory to clients: "Given the anomalous nature of audience behavior during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, it is Nielsen's position that future buying and planning decisions for periods that fall outside the COVID-19 crisis should not be made using COVID-19 impacted audience estimates."

Get the full report, and more Chicago media news, at robertfeder.com.

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