Chicago's last FM Talk Station
Despite many critics ongoing assertion that radio is dying, the results of a new study show an increase in the number of people who say they get news and information over the airwaves. Nearly 20% of the survey’s respondents listed radio as a news source up from 16.5% as reported in a similar survey one year ago. The only other information source to show a notable gain was online which is now being used by nearly 15% of all respondents.
In comparison, television remained the top listed source but fell from 34.7% of respondents to 31.1%. Newspapers also dropped four percentage points coming in virtually tied with radio.
One factor driving this growth is most likely the election of President Obama. Since then, conservative talk radio has become a haven for displaced Republicans looking for information and to share their opinions. Another is the launch in many cities across the country of politically-oriented talk radio stations on the FM band which is exposing news content to a whole new group of listeners.
Here in Chicago it is clear that many listeners get their news from the radio, evidenced by the ratings dominance of WGN, WBBM-AM and WLS while FM talk has been on hiatus since the departure of WCKG. Having three highly rated AM stations in a radio market the size of Chicago is very rare compared to other cities around the country. Whether this means that talk will remain on AM because no one wants to challenge the current talk station’s dominance or someone will be encouraged to try FM talk due to the potentially large available audience of consumers remains to be seen.