A bump in the road? Or the beginning of the end?

People No Longer Like The Ticket. People With Portable People Meters, That Is.

Couple months back I forecasted a significant change in the way the radio ratings wind would blow around these parts in the fall.

Wow. I had no idea.

With Arbitron finally awaking to the digital age and replacing its archaic, manual diaries with Portable People Meter (PPM) contraptions that literally “hear” what radio listeners “hear”, the dramatic change in scoring has in fact prompted a dramatic change in scores.

Got my grubby lil’ hands on Dallas-Fort Worth’s first trickle of PPM trends this week. What do they say?

That what people claim they listen to and what they actually listen to is dramatically different. And that talk radio in general, and The Ticket in specific, could be in for quite a jolt.

In what the industry calls its “pre-currency data” – early poll results taken just for the month of October – The Ticket plummeted. A ratings dynasty that for years has owned the No. 1 spot in its target demographic (Men 25-54) by diary, The Ticket plunged all the way to No. 16 by PPM. Ouch. Again, it’s early, but that can’t be good. Especially with this on the horizon.

(UPDATE: After further review, the numbers are actually for all adults 25-54, not just men. Tweaks things a bit and softens the blow a smidge for The Ticket. But still, its fall from No. 4 in all adults 25-54 to No. 16 has to be alarming.)

To be fair, all talk formats trended horribly with neither Live 105.3, KLIF, KRLD or ESPN among the Top 20. Early PPM results reveal a similar downturn in Los Angeles. Who knows? Maybe we just think we listen to more talk radio than we really do. Or maybe we’re just tired of hearing people yap.

(UPDATE II: Just got a text from The Ticket that their 1310 tower has "ramped back up." So maybe that explains part of it.)

What benefited from talk’s demise? Would you believe Spanish Adult Hits, and Country?

According to October PPM ratings, KLNO (Recuerdo 94.1 FM) is now Dallas’ No. 1 station among adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 – the radio ratings triple crown, as it were. KPLX (99.5 The Wolf) jumped from No. 13 to No. 2. KZPS (Lone Star 92.5), despite waffling between classic rock/Texana and commercials/no commercials, made the biggest leap, from 20th in diaries to 3rd in PPMs.

The PPM’s inaugural Top 20:

1. KLNO Recuerdo 94.1 (Spanish)

2. KPLX 99.5 The Wolf (Country)

3. KZPS Lone Star 92.5 (Classic Rock)

4. KHKS 106.1 Kiss FM (Top 40)/ KLUV 98.7 (Oldies)/ KSCS 96.3 (Country)

7. KVIL 103.7 Lite FM (Easy Listening)

8. KSOC 94.5 K-Soul (R&B)

9. KLTY 94.9 (Christian)

10. KDGE 102.1 The Edge (Alternative Rock)/ KKDA 104.1 K-104 (R&B)

12. KDMX Mix 102.9 (Adult Contemporary)

13. KEGL 97.1 The Eagle (Active Rock)

14. KJKK 100.3 Jack FM (Adult Variety)/ WBAP 820 AM (News/Talk)

16. KTCK 1310 AM The Ticket (Sports Talk)/ KESS 107.9 La Que Buena (Spanish)

18. KBFB 97.9 The Beat (Hip Hop/Rap)

19. KTCY 101.7 (Spanish)

20. KNOR La Raza 93.7 (Spanish)Richie Whitt

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