Shifting Tides: Denver Radio Stations Battle for Listenership

Nielsen ratings reveal changes in popularity among Denver radio stations, highlighting the competition for listenership and advertising dollars.

Denver’s radio landscape has witnessed significant shifts in popularity among stations in 2023. While some signals have seen a rise in listenership, others have experienced a decline. However, understanding the winners and losers in this game can be challenging, as much of the competition occurs behind a veil of secrecy. The Nielsen ratings service provides valuable insights into the radio market, but the public is only privy to one number: total listeners ages six and older who tune in to local stations from 6 a.m. to midnight. This article delves into the recent ratings and explores the importance of demographics in determining a station’s success.

The Importance of Demographics in Radio Ratings

Radio stations in Denver are primarily interested in demographic data rather than the overall number of listeners. Sales and advertising revenue are driven by specific demographics, such as women aged 25-54, men aged 25-54, and persons aged 18-49. However, Nielsen does not publicly release this information, as it is only accessible to subscribers. The ability to target specific demographics is crucial for stations and advertisers alike, shaping programming decisions and advertising strategies.

The Battle for Sports Radio Supremacy

A notable competition in Denver’s radio landscape is the battle for sports radio supremacy between 104.3 The Fan and Altitude Sports Radio. While The Fan has traditionally been the frontrunner, Altitude made significant gains among male listeners aged 25-54 over the summer. This development prompted The Fan to make major changes, including the departure of high-profile personalities. The battle for dominance in this key demographic underscores the importance of catering to specific listener preferences.

KOOL 105’s Targeted Approach

KOOL 105, a classic hits station, aims its programming at listeners under the age of 54. This strategic decision is driven by the fact that older listeners are less appealing to advertisers, as they are less likely to make significant purchases. As a result, KOOL 105 has shifted its musical focus from the 1950s and 1960s to the 1980s and 1990s, targeting a demographic that advertisers find more attractive.

The Significance of Six-Plus Ratings

While six-plus ratings are often seen as a source of “bragging rights” for radio stations, they can provide valuable insights into a station’s overall health. Robust October ratings were observed for news-talker KOA, which nearly doubled its ratings share since February, and alternative rocker KTCL, which climbed from ninth to fifth place. On the other hand, KCFR, owned by Colorado Public Radio, experienced a decline in ratings, dropping from eighth to thirteenth place. These fluctuations highlight the dynamic nature of the radio market and the need for stations to adapt to changing listener preferences.

Conclusion: The recent Nielsen ratings for Denver radio stations reveal a dynamic landscape of shifting popularity and competition for listenership. While the publicly available six-plus ratings provide a glimpse into a station’s overall performance, the real battleground lies in the demographics. Stations that can effectively target specific listener groups stand a better chance of attracting advertising dollars. As the radio landscape continues to evolve, stations must navigate the changing preferences of their audience to remain relevant and successful.