Monday, March 27, 2017

Rivals Playing Hardball in Chicago Radio

From this morning's NOW newsletter, an analysis of Robert Feder's weekend scoop...

Hubbard’s Chicago rivals want to “level the playing field” a little. By doing something pretty rare in a Nielsen Audio PPM market – changing the boundaries of the metro by tossing out a whole county. When Bonneville bought then-classical WNIB Chicago/97.1 in 2001 from Bill and Sonia Florian for $165 million there was a little bonus – the Illinois-Wisconsin border signal of WNIZ Zion, Illinois at 96.9. Bonneville converted the pair to classic hits/classic rock as “The Drive” and kept the simulcast – but that northern signal helps the Drive (now owned by Hubbard) achieve in the Chicago metro. That’s because Nielsen considers Kenosha County, Wisconsin to be part of the Chicago metro. Some folks think the county that Waukesha’s in rightly belongs to the Milwaukee metro – and Chicago media blogger Robert Feder says “there’s an effort underway among local broadcasters to eliminate Kenosha County” as part of the Windy City metro. One source says “This really is about creating a level playing field.” Re-drawing a metro doesn’t happen overnight, and presumably Hubbard would vote “no.” Here are the rules - Feder says “If nine out of 12 Nielsen subscriber votes vote to approve the change, the new boundaries could take effect later this year.” One other possible change to the Chicago metro – adding Jasper County, Indiana. Feder adds another thought – voting Kenosha out of Chicago “would more closely align the radio market with Nielsen’s Chicago television DMA (Designated Market Area)” – and we know that Nielsen’s adding the radio panel-sample to its local TV ratings.