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Dave Roepke, Published February 02 2010

KFGO, Y94 top fall radio ratings

KFGO retained its spot as the mightiest ratings draw in Fargo radio, though the FM dial has a new king, the fall Arbitron ratings report for the market shows.

Y94, the top-40 station at 93.7 FM, eked into second place in the overall fall 2009 ratings released Monday to move in front of Froggy 99.9 FM, the leading country station in the market.

The hits station drew an 11.4 share of adults listening, compared to Froggy’s 11 share and KFGO’s top-of-the-heap 13.1 share.

John Austin, operations manager for the FM side of Radio Fargo-Moorhead, the six-station group that includes Y94 and KFGO, credits Y94’s active staff for the bump from its 9.6 share in spring ratings.

“They own that format,” Austin said.

In the hard-pitched fight between Froggy, owned by Triad Broadcasting subsidiary Go Radio, and Bob 95 FM, owned by Radio Fargo-Moorhead, the gap between contenders grew.

Froggy opened up a difference of 3.4 share points with Bob 95 FM, which took a 7.6. Bob 95, which debuted three years ago, had closed that gap to 1.7 share points in the past two Arbitron reports.

Both sides in the country battle said they were happy with their ratings, noting that they’ll continue their aggressive ad campaigns.

“I think it’s been one of biggest radio battles per capita in the country,” said Michael Brooks, general manager of Go Radio.

Seeing Froggy’s success despite losing two of its longtime DJs before and during the ratings period – which ran from Sept. 17 to Dec. 9 – was encouraging to Brooks. He said he was also happy to see ratings for FM 105, Go Radio’s adult contemporary station, rebound from a 2.5 share to a 4.2.

The tower broadcasting the FM 105 signal suffered a fire last year that hurt its spring numbers, he said.

“We’ve gone through a lot of heavy lifting in the last year,” Brook said. “I think we’ve finally pulled all the elements together.”

On the AM dial, WDAY-AM 970 – which, like The Forum, is owned by Forum Communications Co. – saw an increase for its second consecutive ratings book, after its overall share fell three consecutive reports ending in fall 2008. It went from a 3.3 share to a 4.2.

Kevin Weaver, general manager of WDAY, was out of the office Monday. But Brooks said he was glad to see 970 AM on the rise.

“It’s good to see WDAY-AM creep up and give (KFGO) a little run for the money,” he said.

Despite maintaining its typical top spot, KFGO 790 AM saw its overall share drop for a third consecutive ratings period. It drew a 13.8 in the spring and a 13.1 in the fall period.

Austin said despite many challengers over the years, “KFGO has persevered time after time.”

The market’s other news-talk station, Scott Hennen-owned The Flag 1100 AM, had its overall share fall in the third ratings period since it debuted in 2008. It went from a 4.2 share in the spring to a 3.8 this fall.

Hennen said he’s always maintained that Arbitron’s written diary ratings are antiquated, adding that it’s one of a dozen criteria the station uses with clients.

He said the ratings don’t gauge the greater reach of the 50,000-watt signal for The Flag and pointed to the crowds for area “tea party” rallies promoted on 1100 AM as evidence the station has wide influence.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535