Paying The Price For Dumping Bubba and Howard
April 29, 2004

In the March 19 issue of our weekly magazine, FMQB examined the ratings implications for the 10 Clear Channel stations that had suddenly been stripped of their morning shows over indecency concerns. (The list has since grown to 11). "Based on the sizable ratings [Howard Stern and Bubba The Love Sponge] were pulling, the impact is likely to be profound," we wrote. 

Winter Arbitron numbers released this week begin to show the damage. With Bubba absent for the last month of the Winter survey, WXTB/Tampa fell from 9th to 12th total week 12+ (4.1-3.2). 'XTB's 12+ morning drive sank from second (8.2) in the Fall to fourth (5.7) in the Winter. Extrapolated monthlies paint a clearer picture. Bubba was good for first 12+ (10.3) in February; without him 'XTB finished 14th in mornings in March (2.7)  The losses were more severe in 18-34: 22.9 (No. 1) in mornings with Bubba, 6.1 (No. 6) without. 

The Tampa ratings beneficiaries were Infinity Modern Rock WSUN (up 2.6-3.6 12+ total week) and Clear Channel Classic Rock sister WTBT, which climbed 2.2-2.7.  While 'XTB still leads 'SUN in total week 18-34, 'TBT has pulled ahead of 'XTB in 25-54. 

Like San Diego, the loss of Howard Stern in Pittsburgh and Miami wasn't pretty. In morning drive 12+, WXDX slid from a third place 6.4 in the fall to a 9th place 3.6 in the Winter. Total week, The X is down 4.8-3.5.  In Miami, WBGG's 12+ morning share sank 4.3-2.7 while total week went 2.4-2.0.

The Winter survey covers January 8 - March 31.  Clear Channel fired Bubba The Love Sponge on February 24 and turfed Howard Stern on February 25.



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