Penticton stations point to positives in radio ratings

EZ Rock garners an 18.8 per cent market share, topping Penticton radio stations for the fall ratings

Adult contemporary music has narrowly edged out top 40 hits as the format of choice for commercial radio listeners in Penticton.

New fall ratings released last Friday by BBM Canada gave EZ Rock an 18.8 per cent market share, just slightly better than the 18.3 per cent  garnered by Sun FM. Close behind was Country 100.7, which scored a 17.6 per cent share. Both Sun FM and EZ Rock are properties of Astral Media.

The results covered all-week listeners age 12 and up, although the age 18-64 category showed Sun FM was the clear favourite with a 24.5 per cent market share.

Jon Ferebee, Astral’s assistant brand director in Penticton, said Sun FM’s listeners seem to appreciate the station’s focus on new music.

“We’re always paying attention to what listeners want… what music charts are doing, that sort of thing. And keeping in touch with our local market,” he said.

Ferebee added that Sun FM’s on-air morning team of Randy Farmer and Marianne McHale “have been around for a long time and are pretty popular all the way around.”

While Country 100.7 edged down in the 12-plus category, it made big gains in another more important segment.

David Larsen, program director for Newcap Okanagan, said the station, which was known as Giant FM until it was rebranded in April, gained a 14.9 per cent market share among listeners age 25-54, up from 7.8 per cent a year ago.

That category, which Larsen said showed “really nice growth,” has the most purchasing power and is therefore most attractive to the advertisers that pay the bills.

“We’ve seen a really nice jump and are really happy with that because that’s where we needed to grow the radio station.”

The new format focuses on “contemporary country and a lot of it,” Larsen added, “and playing those big records. That’s really what it’s about.”

Newcap came under fire in the spring when it completed its purchase of Giant FM and subsequently laid off four on-air personalities as part of the station’s rebranding.

BBM Canada was formerly known as the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement and is a non-profit industry group. It produces radio station ratings by randomly selecting survey participants to diarize their listening habits over a period of about two months.