The latest Numeris Spring 2016 radio ratings are now public and Hamilton’s eight measured radio stations are experiencing small declines in listenership – with two exceptions. Year-over-year CKOC is seeing its ratings in a freefall, and CHML saw a 0.1% increase in market share.

The TSN 1150 Ratings Freefall

On Labour Day 2015, Bell Media ended the oldies format on its 1150AM CKOC station and replaced it was an all-sports format TSN Radio 1150.
Thus far, judging by average ratings, the experiment is a failure. However, average ratings may not be Bell’s strategy.
In the Spring 2015 ratings, playing oldies, CKOC held a 2.9% market share reaching an average of 37,400 people in the region each week. The Spring 2016 Numeris ratings shows CKOC in the gutter with a measly 0.3% of the market, reaching only 5,900 people each week.
This could be fine if Bell’s strategy is based solely around premium ad sales during Ticats football games. However, 5,900 average listeners is less of a mass medium than the average tweet by a decently followed Hamiltonian – and tweets don’t have the cost of the overhead of a radio station.
Losing 32,000 listeners is no small number in today’s radio market.

Where Did The Radio Listeners Go?

With a 2.6% drop in market share for CKOC, where did the listeners go? Year over year, all stations dropped in share expect CHML which held basically steady with a 0.1% increase.
Funny 820 continued to decline, and is now at 0.7% market share – an average of 20,000 listeners per week. It’s only because of the collapse of CKOC listenership that it is no longer the lowest rated in market.
CKLH 102.9 K-Lite FM dropped from 10.6% to 9.7% market share, a loss of 9,800 average listeners to 101,500 average per week.  Other stations are dropping a percentage point or more as well.
This begs the question, are Hamilton’s listeners turning off their radios or tuning into Toronto stations more often?

The Finances of Hamilton Stations

While listenership decreased year-over-year, the latest CRTC figures show Hamilton’s radio stations increased their revenue and profits last year bringing in $17,877,257 in 2015 for a pre-tax profit of $4,337,338.