Last winter, the run-up to the War in Iraq goosed the ratings of many a News-Talker. This winter, a much different kind of war is having a similar Arbitron impact on another group of stations. In market after market, Howard Stern is the ratings beneficiary of the FCC's war on indecency. His ratings are moving faster than Jack Thompson's fax machine.
On Friday and Monday, FMQB reported on dramatic increases for Stern in New York, L.A., Chicago and Boston. Now add Cleveland and Hartford to the list. Howard's usually No. 1 on Cleveland's WNCX in 18-34 and 25-54. But his current lightning rod status has him back at No. 1 12+, tied with WMJI's Lanigan & Malone. Stern tacked on 2.6 shares of 12+, 5.5 shares of 18-34, 2.1 of 25-54, and 9 shares of men 18-34. His men 18-34 audience in Cleveland is knocking on a 30 share.
While we haven't had a look at Hartford morning breakouts just yet, the story's likely to be the same. In fact, it looks like Stern carried WCCC from 9th 12+ in the fall (4.6) to third in the Winter (7.5). And those are total week numbers.
When they dropped his show from six stations at the end of February, ClearChannel expected a morning ratings exodus to follow. In San Diego, they got it. With Stern, KIOZ was No. 1 12+ in February with an 8.9. Without him, the station's morning drive ratings crashed to a 27th place 0.7 in March. The in-demo decline was even more spectacular: 12.7 to 0.7 in Men 18+, 20.6 to 0.8 in 18-34, and 10.1 to 1.0 in 25-54.