Back in February I wrote about a big drop in ratings for KFGO, the Fargo-based flagship for North Dakota’s left-wing talk radio hosts Joel Heitkamp and Mike McFeely. They lost nearly 4 points in the ratings, and were in real danger of being overtaken by an FM music station.
The problem with looking at any one book of ratings, though, is that sample sizes (particularly in smaller markets like Fargo) tend to be small. Thus any one ratings book can be skewed by a bad sample. What’s more important is the trend.
Well, the latest ratings are out from Arbitron (released August 6th), and it looks like that big drop in ratings for Heitkamp and McFeely is a real thing:
First, that fall 2013 drop in ratings for KFGO was no fluke. It is now a trend, and one that continues downward.
Second, in a year-over-year comparison, from the fall of 2012 to the fall of 2013 KFGO lost 3.3 points. From the spring of 2013 to the spring of 2014, KFGO lost 4.1 points.
That’s a pretty ugly trend.
Heitkamp and McFeely lost their statewide syndication deals with Clear Channel Communications in the spring of last year, leaving them on the air only in Fargo (and prompting, I’m told, some truly memorable on-air ranting from Heitkamp himself). Since then Heitkamp has apparently managed to get back on the air on some other stations across the state (I’m not sure where, I never listen), but that doesn’t appear to be helping him in his home market.
I should point out that WDAY AM970, where I frequently guest host, (not the FM station listed above) isn’t listed in these ratings. I guess they don’t subscribe to these numbers and so aren’t included in the public release.
Also, for what it’s worth, KFYR AM550 where conservative talker Scott Hennen took over for Heitkamp has seen a drop in ratings as well though one not quite as dramatic as KFGO’s in Fargo: