Listening Trends Then & Now...

Monday, January 25, 2021
Seeing the lists of top 20 radio stations twenty years apart is testament to how much has changed, format-wise and just how fragile the staying power of those stations are. Ratings historian Chris Huff has compiled a list of the top 20 radio stations based on cume for fall 2020 and compared it to the top 20 in fall 2000. Nine stations appeared on both lists, all of them located in either New York or Los Angeles...
The chart below shows those stations listing first the fall 2000 position, the fall 2020 (Oct-Dec) rank, call letters, name, market and formats (both 2000 and 2020):
(4)(1) WLTW (Lite 106.7) (New York) (AC)(AC)
(1)(2) WHTZ (Z100) (New York) (CHR)(CHR)
(6)(3) WKTU (103.5 KTU) (New York) (Rhythmic AC)(Hot AC)
(9)(4) WCBS-FM (101.1 CBS-FM) (New York)(Oldies)(Classic Hits)
(19)(5) KOST (103.5 KOST) Los Angeles) (AC)(AC)
(20)(6) KRTH (K-Earth 101.1) (Los Angeles) (Oldies)(Classic Hits) 
(5)(10) KIIS (102.7 KIIS FM) (Los Angeles)(CHR)(CHR)
(15)(12) WBLS (107.5 WBLS) (New York)(Urban)(Urban AC)
(3)(13) WQHT (Hot 97)(New York)(Rhythmic CHR)(Rhythmic CHR)
It's interesting to note that all the stations that maintained their rankings 20 years apart are FM. The entire 2020 list is comprised of FM stations - not one is an AM. The Fall 2000 list had 5 dropouts - all were AMs: WINS New York (News), WCBS New York (News), WFAN New York (Sports), WABC New York (News/Talk) and WBBM Chicago (News). Charts for fall 2000 and fall 2020 follow:
Fall 2000:
  1. WHTZ (Z100) (New York) (CHR)
  2. WINS (1010 WINS) (New York) (News)
  3. WQHT (Hot 97) (New York) (Rhythmic CHR)
  4. WLTW (Lite 106.7) (New York) (AC)
  5. KIIS (102.7 Kiis FM) (Los Angeles) (CHR)
  6. WKTU (103.5 KTU) (New York) (Rhythmic AC)
  7. WCBS (WCBS 880) (New York) (News)
  8. KPWR (Power 106) (Los Angeles) (Rhythmic CHR)
  9. WCBS-FM (101.1 CBS-FM) (New York) (Oldies)
  10. WXKR (92.3 K-Rock) (New York) (Alternative)
  11. WFAN (660 The Fan) (New York) (Sports)
  12. WBBM-FM (B96) (Chicago) (Rhythmic CHR)
  13. KROQ (106.7 K-Roq) (Los Angeles) (Alternative)
  14. WPLJ (95.5 PLJ) (New York) (Hot AC)
  15. WBLS (107.5 WBLS) (New York) (Urban)
  16. WRKS (Kiss 98.7) (New York) (Urban AC)
  17. WABC (77 WABC) (New York) (News/Talk)
  18. WBBM (WBBM 780) (Chicago) (News)
  19. KOST (103.5 KOST) (Los Angeles) (AC)
  20. KRTH (K-Earth 101.1) (Los Angeles) (Oldies)
Fall 2020 (Oct-Dec):
  1. WLTW (Lite 106.7) (New York) (AC)
  2. WHTZ (Z100) (New York) (CHR)
  3. WKTU (105.5 KTU) (New York) (Hot AC)
  4. WCBS-FM (101.1 CBS-FM) (New York) (Classic Hits)
  5. KOST (103.5 KOST) (Los Angeles) (AC)
  6. KRTH (K-Earth 101.1) (Los Angeles) (Classic Hits)
  7. WNEW (New 102.7) (New York) (Hot AC)
  8. KBIG (104.3 My FM) (Los Angeles) (Hot AC)
  9. WSKQ (Mega 97.9) (New York) (Spanish Tropical)
  10. KISS (102.7 Kiis FM) (Los Angeles) (CHR)
  11. WAXQ (Q104.3) (New York) (Classic Rock)
  12. WBLS (107.5 WBLS) (New York) (Urban AC)
  13. WQHT (Hot 97) (New York) (Rhythmic CHR)
  14. KODA (Sunny 99.1) (Houston) (AC)
  15. WWPR (Power 105.1) (New York) (Hip Hop/R&B)
  16. KCBS-FM (93.1 Jack FM) (Los Angeles) (Adult Hits)
  17. KTWV (94.7 The Wave) (Los Angeles) (Rhythmic AC)
  18. WLIT (93.9 Lite FM) (Chicago) (AC)
  19. KHKS (106.1 Kiss FM) (Dallas) (CHR)
  20. WNYL (Alt 92.3) (New York) (Alternative)
As Inside Radio notes: "Beyond changes in listening and programming there was another seismic shift between then and now. In fall 2000, paper and pencil diaries were still the ratings currency for the entire industry. Now the top 45 markets are measured electronically. The new methodology produced major changes in listening estimates...
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