WFAN Big Overall Rating Drop; Insider: CBS Sports Radio Could Take Over WFAN in 2014

wfan_newBy JERRY BARMASH

In exploring the monthly radio ratings earlier this week, something became evident: WFAN, complete with its AM/FM simulcast, is not what it once was.

The station, which began its second quarter-century last summer, is in the midst of a serious ratings plunge. WFAN has lost 1.4 ratings points since January among the overall 12+ survey.  The highwater mark was a 3.7 in the first Arbitron ratings book for 2013. Then the bottom fell out. February numbers sent the ‘FAN reeling to a 2.5. It was a minimal drop for March at 2.4.

Related: WLTW Wins March PPM; WCBS-FM Remains Second

Tuned In reached out to Mark Chernoff, WFAN’s operations manager, who could add “spin doctor” to his title.

“All you’re seeing is a 12+ number, not men 25-54, which is our target demographic,” he replied in an email.

Tuned In had access to the 6+ numbers. Although pushed, Chernoff refused to provide any specifics for his station’s “target demo.”

It took someone with knowledge of the station to provide more analysis.  That person says the combination of the Giants’ football season ending and the NHL lockout was to blame.

“You should see a pickup in the next few [months].  Winter was always dry at the ‘FAN unless the Giants went to the Super Bowl,” the source says.

Against the backdrop of the ratings slide, rumors persist that the company’s CBS Sports Radio will ultimately find its voice in New York by taking one of the station’s outlets.

But, an insider says no movement is likely until January, at the earliest. As far as deciding which simulcast to give up, Tuned In is told that WFAN is taking steps to make that decision easier.

“The station has been tracking who’s listening on AM/FM by having the producer ask the callers if they are listening on 660 or 101.9,” the insider says.

WFAN program director Eric Spitz told Tuned In, “We have no announcements to make regarding WFAN and CBS Sports Radio at this time.”

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