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Hip-hop still on top, but Emmis crowds next spots

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Three Emmis Communications Corp. stations in February were near the top in local radio ratings, behind only Radio One’s No. 1 rated WHHH-FM 96.3, in the broad category of listeners age 6 and up.

While the Emmis trifecta wasn’t enough to unseat R&B and hip-hop station WHHH—which completed its recent ascent to the top in January—the fact that one local company owned the next three best-rated stations is noteworthy.

WHHH had a 7.4 share, followed by a two-way tie between Emmis’ WIBC-FM 93.1 and WYXB-FM 105.7, at 6.9. Next was Emmis’ country crooner WLHK-FM 97.1, at 6.3.

“I’m not sure we’ve ever done that [trifecta], at least as long as I’ve been here,” said Bob Richards, vice president of programming for Emmis’ Indianapolis stations.

All four stations made gains from January ratings. WHHH was up 0.4 from a 7.0 share; WIBC leapt from a 6.5 to a 6.9; WYXB went from 6.7 to 6.9; and WLHK edged up from 6.2 to 6.3.

WIBC likely got a bump from severe winter weather that drew listeners for highway condition and cancellation information.

Richards said WIBC also has seen growth in the evening between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. That’s the home of three programs: "The Dana Show," which originates from Emmis’ station in St. Louis, and WIBC’s local shows “Chicks on the Right” and "Abdul at Large."

The Emmis stations were followed by Cumulus Media’s WFMS-FM 95.5 with a rating of 6.0. That represented a Texas-sized drop from its 6.9 share in January.

The country station spent much of its time last year at the top. In fact, WFMS and WLHK have see-sawed back and forth for much of the last year.

Many WFMS personalities were displaced under Cumulus and wound up at WLHK. That helped it quickly steal some share from WFMS.

Perpetually cost-cutting Cumulus also replaced some popular evening shows at WFMS with syndicated programming.

Still, the two country stations can flip-flop in popularity in any giving ratings book. “It’s a good rivalry,” said Richards.

WHHH cites a number of changes for its rise to the top. They include reshuffling on-air shifts, adding more concert packages and local events, and by getting more involved with the community.

It also helps that hip-hop has crossed into the mainstream and beyond racial lines, said Chuck Williams, vice president and market manager in Indianapolis for station owner Radio One.

Meanwhile, in February, Emmis’ sports talk station, WFNI-AM 1070, finished in 16th place, at a 2.2 share.

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  • Dana's Show
    I woke up early in the AM and heard woman on "The Dana Show" saying stupid things about Stephen Colbert. Somebody should explain to her what "character actor" means.
  • radio formats
    Not just hip hop crossing over, EDM (electronic dance music) has crossed over into mainstream FM. Indy should bring "Evolution" an EDM radio format heard in Miami, Boston and IHeart Radio
  • I wonder...
    I haven't listened to a local radio station in at least a decade and don't even own a traditional radio anymore. The entirety of my listening is via the internet on my computer or phone and it's all out of town stations that reflect my interests in music and sports. I wonder how many others like me are out there?
  • Agree with Scott
    WIBC was a great station that provided news. Now, well... it sure isn't news. Maybe Fox News - Indiana. I am a Republican and I find it obscene and embarrassing.
  • Chick on Right
    WIBC has got to dump the Chicks. They are horrible! Nasally cacklers that talk about the stupidest topics. How did they get the drive-time spot?
  • What about Pandora?
    It would be great to see an article about how Pandora fits into the radio ecosystem in Indy. Knowing that Pandora reaches one third of Hoosiers on a monthly basis must make terrestrial radio nervous... I'm opening an office for Pandora in Indianapolis and will be fighting for market share- look out! http://rainnews.com/pandora-grows-share-of-listening-and-hours-holds-audience-in-march/
  • WIBC
    You really mean WIBC had information on weather conditions? I stopped listening when they became the darling of the right wing. On occasion I will tune in if something is going on locally, and heaven forbid they break in to Rush or any of their blabber programs to keep us informed. They were a great station, once.
  • See link
    Bill, we wrote last month about WHHH's rise to No. 1. There's a link to that story in the second paragraph.
  • WHHH...
    This whole article is about WIBC. WHHH is the top spot, Talk more about them -- they ARE #1.

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    1. Kent's done a good job of putting together some good guests, intelligence and irreverence without the inane chatter of the other two shows. JMV is unlistenable, mostly because he doesn't do his homework and depends on non-sports stuff to keep HIM interested. Query and Shultz is a bit better, but lack of prep in their show certainly is evident. Sterling obviously workes harder than the other shows. We shall see if there is any way for a third signal with very little successful recent history to make it. I always say you have to give a show two years to grow into what it will become...

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