I like and subscribe to Radio INK, which is the main way I stay current with what’s happening in mainstream radio. And Radio INK loves WTOP, the news station in Washington. Do a search for site:http://www.radioink.com WTOP and you’ll get many pages of praise running from Radio INK to WTOP — all of it, I am sure, deserving.
The latest of these is WTOP IS #1 NEWS STATION IN AMERICA. It begins,
A panel of news and news/talk experts have named Hubbard Radio’s WTOP top news station in the country in Radio Ink’s first listing of news and news/talk stations. Under the leadership of GM Joel Oxley, Vice President of Programming Jim Farley, and Program Director Laurie Cantillo, WTOP has developed into a news leader in the Washington D.C. market, competing with newspaper outlets like the Washington Post and television news organizations in the nation’s capital. WTOP has also established itself as a digital news leader with nearly 100,000 regular readers at WTOP.com and 60,000 followers on Twitter and 11 full- and part-time digital journalists.
Here is the list of stations:
- #1) WTOP – Washington DC*
- #2) 1010 WINS – New York City*
- #3) KFI-AM – Los Angeles
- #4) KCBS-AM – San Francisco*
- #5) WBBM-AM/FM – Chicago*
- #6) WCBS-AM – New York City*
- #7) WBZ-AM – Boston
- #8) WSB-AM/FM – Atlanta
- #9) KYW-AM – Philadelphia*
- #10) WWJ-AM – Detroit*
- #11) KIRO-FM – Seattle
- #12) WBT-AM/FM – Charlotte
- #13) KNX-AM – Los Angeles*
- #14) KKOB-AM -Albuquerque
- #15) WBAP-AM & FM – Dallas
- #16) KTRH-AM – Houston
- #17) KFBK-AM & FM – Sacramento
- #18) KMBZ-AM & FM – Kansas City*
- #19) KRMG-AM & FM – Tulsa*
- #20) WGAN & WGIN – Portland, ME
I put an * next to the stations that are all-news, meaning you’ll hear live news on them if you tune them in, rather than a talk show. The rest on the list are talk/news, rather than news/talk. By that I mean, if Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity are in the station’s program lineup, it’s a talk station.
But I’m also thinking, okay… As long as we’re opening the door here to stations that are a mix of talk and news, why not public radio stations?
Go to Radio-Info’s ratings page for April, and we find, among other things,
- WAMU beating WTOP in Washington, 9.7 to 7.9
- KQED beating KCBS in San Francisco, 5.5 to 5.4 (and KQED also has a 5.6, #3 overall, in San Jose)
- KUOW beating KIRO in Seattle, 4.6 to 3.3. (And why doesn’t KOMO, a full-time news station in Seattle, with a 3.2, miss the list above?)
- KPBS in San Diego is the top talk station in that city, with a 4.9. (It has no news stations.)
- KOPB is the #2 station overall in Portland, with a 6.9.
- WUNC is #2 overall in Raleigh-Durham with an 8.1 (and is often #1, for example in February, when it had an 8.4)
As I put it in my response to Radio INK’s latest, ”Why not give some credit to the public stations that are huge ratings successes? … I understand that your main interest is commercial radio; but noncommercial radio matters just as much — if not more, if actual listening is taken into account.”
Ed Ryan replied, Doc: Good Points. We did not receive any nominations for non-coms. Hopefully you will nominate a few next year. And, ratings was not the only factor in determining the list. Hope yo are well. Ed
I hadn’t realized that this story was based entirely on nominations by the stations themselves. Now that I do, I invite public stations to step up and start claiming the credit they deserve. I’ll try to remember to do the same, next time this rolls around.