Jack shows muscle in radio ratings

October 26, 2005

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Jack shows muscle in radio ratings
By Chris Lewis,
October 26, 2005
The new Jack-FM radio format that debuted in Nashville in May gained ground among listeners over the summer, ranking No. 2 in the market, behind the leader, The Beat 101 (WUBT-FM), according to a survey released by Arbitron Tuesday.

Jack-FM, which appears on station WCJK-FM 96.3, had an 8.0 market share of the Nashville radio audience in the age 12-and-older category in the summer months.

Jack’s 2.2-point rise over its spring market share of 5.8 is a “spectacular jump” said Robert Unmacht, a Nashville-based radio consultant.

Known for their minimal use of disc jockeys and extensive play lists that feature mostly older hit songs, Jack stations have swept quickly over the past year to more than 21 stations in the United States.

Not all those markets have been able to sustain high ratings. The Jack in New York, for instance, has nose-dived, Unmacht said. But Nashville’s Jack is another matter.

“This is one of the more successful stations in the country,” he said.

Arbitron’s publicly released ratings show stations’ general rankings among people age 12-plus listening Monday through Sunday 6 a.m. to midnight. Advertisers spend their dollars based on a station’s ability to reach a narrower, targeted demographic.

Dennis Gwiazdon, vice president and general manager of station WCJK, which is owned by South Central Communications, said the station was No. 1 in the sought-after demographic of listeners age 25-54.

“I’m very pleased,” he said. “This is only our first report card, so I hope we can build upon this. We expected it to do well; we didn’t expect it to get this far this fast.”

WRQQ-FM, which immediately switched its Star 97 to Oldies 97.1 when WCJK flipped formats, gained 2.1 points to a 5.7 market share, ranking it sixth among the 29 stations rated by Arbitron.

In the three-way country music battle on the FM dial, WSIX-FM, with a 6.0 market share, retained its first place against challengers WSM-FM (The Wolf) in second and WKDF, finishing in a close third.

The Wolf, a country format started at WSM-FM in September 2004 by famed programmer John Sebastian, slipped a little from the spring book — from a 5.7 market share to a 4.2 share. WKDF-FM, owned by Citadel Broadcasting, showed a 3.8 market share.

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