Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is Anybody Tuning In?

According to a brief article in the Herald News, Fall River's AM radio station WSAR 1480 is suffering from low ratings.

The story, which is not available online, stated that according to the Arbitron ratings for the first 3 months of 2006, WSAR had a .06 rating. That .06 means .06 % of the total "market population" listens to WSAR for at least 5 minutes in a 15 minute period.

The Herald News went on to point out that New Bedford's WBSM 1420 AM received a 1.2 rating, twice the Fall River's station despite having a weaker signal.

Personally, I like WSAR and tune in on a fairly regular basis throughout the day. Oh sure, I find Barry Richards to be too antagonistic and some times Kerry Rodrigues as well. I probably most prefer Mike Moran, but overall I think they all do a good job of discussing the things that are happening in and around Fall River.

And maybe that's the problem. WSAR IS a small, local, AM, radio station. It's niche is covering Fall River and that is exactly why I listen. I can't figure out why WBSM has a better ratings but it just possibly could be that they cover the surrounding area better than WSAR. Perhaps WSAR needs to make more of an effort to cover the goings on of Somerset, Swansea, Westport, Tiverton and Assonet. It's not they ignore those communities but they don't really focus on them either.

Although maybe the problem has more to with the Arbitron ratings. WSAR is considered part of the Providence-Pawtucket-Warwick market, which really doesn't make much sense. Sure geographically Fall River is often lumped in with Providence but for a talk radio format what's going on in Fall River has limited appeal to somebody who lives in and around Providence Rhode Island.

In the end a local radio station, particularly one that focuses on news and talk is a lot like your local newspaper, sure a big metro is more polished and will cover more but they don't usually cover the little things that go on where YOU live.

If you're interested in what's going on in and around Fall River it's worth tuning in.


Dr. Momentum said...

Yeah, Fall River seems to be in an "in between" ratigs zone.

If they had more Providence coverage, I don't think htat would please the current listeners.

Roger Williams said...

Well, I tried to see if my car radio could get this station in Providence (it couldn't), so I guess I won't be much use in trying to improve this station's ratings.

Since Fall River is a part into the Providence metropolitan area, some convergence of coverage would make sense from a media market standpoint. From a practical standpoint, it probably wouldn't work since the entire point of having a local radio station is just that, providing local coverage.

Keri said...

Funny, I asked the author of that very article if he has examined his own paper's circulation numbers in Providence. His response, "We don't serve Providence." I said, "Neither do we."

Sour grapes after being called on crappy reporting ... doesn't matter.

WBSM gets hire ratings because they regularly subscribe to Arbitron ... WSAR doesn't ... or hasn't until now. So Arbitron drops more "diaries" in the New Bedford area than the Fall River area.

It's a messy, highly technical aspect of radio. Not my favorite part.


P.S. Antagonism can be fun! ;)