Words & Deeds

Not again, Boise! Your favorite radio station is on the AM dial? More ratings surprises

Nate Shelman usually roasts his listeners. Now, watch them roast him.

Local radio host Nate Shelman is celebrating 10 years of being on-air as a conservative voice for the Treasure Valley. So we asked his loyal listeners: Why do you listen to Nate Shelman's show?
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Local radio host Nate Shelman is celebrating 10 years of being on-air as a conservative voice for the Treasure Valley. So we asked his loyal listeners: Why do you listen to Nate Shelman's show?

Occasionally, we’re behind the times in Idaho. We even take pride in it.

For example, not only do we still listen to plenty of good ol’ terrestrial radio — we keep spinning the AM dial.

KBOI 670 AM was the Boise market’s most listened to station among listeners 12 and older in the spring 2019 Nielsen Audio ratings, which were released this week. Nielsen measures listener share among commercial radio stations every six months. (And, interestingly, noncommercial and Christian stations in the numbers we have access to this time around).

KBOI’s victory isn’t all that shocking. Notice that headline? I totally recycled it from one I wrote in early 2018, the last time the conservative news-talk station “trumped” all its Boise competitors.

What a rush to see an AM station win again. As in Rush Limbaugh, whose syndicated show supercharged KBOI’s ratings. Nielsen demographic breakdowns tell us that listeners 65 and older — the majority being men — flocked to KBOI and its Red State programming. (Political slant aside, it makes sense, right? Old-timers still own transistor radios with AM dials!)

But what do the latest Nielsen ratings really tell us?

That Boise radio is a logjam. No station dominates.

Sure, KBOI was No. 1 with a modest 5.4 share. But 12 months ago, 100.3 FM The X crushed with a 7.5. Stations got even bigger numbers years ago.

Like “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” syndicated “Bob and Tom” illustrates how a daily program can provide a major ratings boost. Thanks largely to that show’s constant guffawing, rock station 96.9 FM The Eagle enjoyed a tie for second-place. Also in second: variety hits station 96.1 Bob FM and country station 101.9 The Bull.

The highest-rated morning shows among listeners 12 and older? Top 40 station Wild 101.1’s syndicated “Brooke & Jubal in the Morning” (helping Wild to a third-place finish), followed by “Bob and Tom.” Two local shows tied for third: “Kasper & Chris” on KBOI 670 and “Joey & Lauren” at My 102.7.

Although it still had a solid rating, 100.3 The X took the second-biggest dip of any station, apparently chipped at by low-power stations 96.5 The Alternative and 99.1 I-Rock. You also can’t discount a weaker-than-usual rating for “The Morning After with Nic and Big J” show.

Don’t bet against The X bouncing back. It’s still strong with male listeners.

Besides, most station managers try to average two ratings periods to account for Nielsen aberrations. That’s why nobody is panicking at 107.9 Lite FM. It dropped three full points, the most of any station between fall 2018 and spring 2019.

Lite doesn’t play holiday music in spring. Those numbers will be bigger in the next ratings book. Merry Christmas.

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Here’s the breakdown. These are quarter-hour share ratings for Treasure Valley stations among listeners 12 and older between 6 a.m. and midnight.

KBOI-AM 670 (news/talk): 5.4

KSRV-FM 96.1 (Bob, variety hits): 4.5

KQBL-FM 101.9 (The Bull, country): 4.5

KKGL-FM 96.9 (The Eagle, classic rock): 4.5

KWYD-FM 101.1 (Wild 101.1, rhythmic contemporary hits): 4.3

KTSY-FM 89.5 (Christian contemporary): 4.3

KZMG-FM 102.7 (My 102.7, Hot AC): 3.9

KSAS-FM 103.5 (Kiss FM, contemporary hits): 3.7

KBSX-FM 91.5 (news/talk): 3.7

KQXR-FM 100.3 (The X, active rock): 3.5

KAWO-FM 104.3 (Wow country): 3.3

KRVB-FM 94.9 (The River, adult album alternative): 3.3

KCIX-FM 105.9 (Mix 106, Hot AC): 3.1

KBSU-FM 90.3 (Classical): 3.1

KTHI-FM 107.1 (K-Hits, classic): 2.9

KKOO-AM 1260 (Kool Oldies): 2.9

KIDO-AM 580 (news/talk): 2.9

KIZN-FM 92.3 (Kissin’ 92.3, country): 2.9

KXLT-FM 107.9 (Lite FM adult contemporary): 2.7

KJOT-FM 105.1 (J-105, classic rock): 2.5

KQBL-HD3 96.5 (alternative rock): 2.1

KQFC-FM 97.9 (Country): 2.1

KQBL-HD2 99.1 (I-Rock): 1.9

KOAY-FM 88.7 (rhythmic contemporary): 1.0

KTIK-FM 93.1 (The Ticket, sports): 0.8

KFXD-AM 630 (The Fan, sports): 0.4

KTIK-AM 1350 (The Ticket, sports): 0.2

Explaining the numbers: “Share” is the percentage of listeners tuned in to a station at a given time. KBOI’s 5.4 means 5.4 percent of everyone 12 and older in the market listening to the radio at that time was tuned in to that station. These are quarter-hour share, or AQH, numbers — the average number of people listening to a particular station for at least 5 minutes during a 15-minute period. “Rating,” the percentage of potential listeners in the market actually tuning in, is a different thing. Find out more here.

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Entertainment reporter and opinion columnist Michael Deeds covers the Boise good life for the Idaho Statesman. He’s also freelanced for The Washington Post, Relix, Country Weekly, Velo News, Beer Advocate and more. Deeds began his Statesman career as a news intern in 1991, graduated to sportswriting, then ... here we are.
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