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WERQ Keeps No. 1 Place in Radio Ratings

July 29, 2008

By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

Jul. 29–WERQ-FM, the urban contemporary station better known as 92Q, remained Baltimore’s top-rated radio station for the second quarter of 2008, attracting nearly 10 percent of the area’s listening audience, according to figures released yesterday by the Arbitron ratings service.

In fact, Baltimore’s radio ratings changed little between the first quarter, which measured January through March, and the second, which includes April through June.

Save for the disappearance of WSMJ-FM from the top 10 — little surprise, since the station changed both its format and its call letters in May, and is still building its new audience — the rankings were almost identical.

WERQ, which broadcasts at 92.3, earned a 9.5 share for the ratings period, meaning that an average of 9.5 percent of Baltimore’s radio listeners were tuned in to the station. Country music’s WPOC-FM (93.1), which in the third quarter of 2007 was the last station to displace 92Q from the top spot, finished as runner-up for the second-straight quarter, with an 8.7 share.

WERQ’s sister station, WWIN-FM, continued in third place, with a 6.9 share. Both stations are owned by Lanham-based Radio One. Adult contemporary station WLIF-FM (101.9) remained in fourth place, with a 5.5 share.

The fifth and sixth place stations flip-flopped, with WWMX-FM (106.5) climbing to fifth with a 4.7 share, while WBAL-AM (1090) fell to sixth, with a 4.0 share. WIYY-FM (97.9), known as 98Rock, finished seventh, with a 3.7 share.

WSMJ, Baltimore’s smooth jazz station, had finished the first quarter of the year ranked eighth. But the station’s owners, San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications, dissatisfied with the station’s older audience, changed the format in April to rock alternative, featuring such artists as Linkin Park and Alice In Chains, as well as shock jock Elliot in the Morning. Local DJs Aly and Klinger did not appear on-air until July.

The newfangled station, rechristened WCHH, dropped to 15th place, with a 1.9 share.

“Really, the station has only been fully operational since August,” said Hartley Adkins, president and market manager for Clear Channel Washington and Baltimore. “We know that we have positive momentum. We think you’ll see the results in the next ratings.”

Rounding out Baltimore’s Top-10 were news-talk WCBM-AM (680), eighth with a 3.4 share; adult hits WQSR-FM (105.7), ninth with a 3.1 share; and public radio WYPR-FM (88.1), 10th with a 2.9 share.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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