For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, February 1, 2006
Why Are Adult Hits/JACK Formats More
Vulnerable to Listening Wobble?
Bridge Ratings President, Dave Van Dyke announced today the
release of the company’s latest in-depth analysis of the
Adult Hits format.
An analysis of the format of multiple genres presents troubling
long-term trending data. While new station radio formats peaking
in ratings and then leveling off is nothing new to the industry,
the Adult Hits and "Jack" formatted radio stations
are among an elite group of radio formats that experience extreme
rapid growth when programmed, positioned, promoted and marketed
However, Bridge Ratings' analysis of this format now approaching
its two-year anniversary of its first appearance in the U.S.
on KJAC-FM, Denver, shows that with very little exception, the
format is more vulnerable to ratings and audience "wobble" than
most. In previous analyses of this very listenable format, initial
findings showed ratings fluctuations due to the format's initial
element of varied music genres with extreme audience appeal differences
played back-to-back. This 'train wreck' programming philosophy
has been one of the reasons initial interest in these stations
has skyrocketed - it hadn't been done before in most markets.
These 'train wreck' music segues began to result in time-spent-listening
variances. Our studies showed that after some period of time,
listeners were more inclined to use these stations as utilities
with short, but frequent tune-in.
In this most recent study, Bridge Ratings interviewed Preference
1 (P1) and Preference 2 (P2) listeners. We delineated the audience
of this format by the type of music they preferred. Since this
newest incarnation of the Adult Hits format relies on multiple
music genres appearing on the same radio station, Bridge Ratings
asked its listeners to identify their favorite genre of all those
being played on the stations and to rate those genres. The following
were found the be consistent genres across the stations we studied*:
- Alternative Rock
- Classic Rock
- Pop Hits
- 60's Oldies
- Classic Hits
- Adult Contemporary
Adult Hit program directors can manipulated the amount of each
of these genres to fine-tune the sound of their stations based
on their local market tastes. This is why some Adult Hit/JACK
stations sound more AC than others. Some have a definite Alternative
slant, while still others accentuate Pop Hits. Depending on the
market and competitive landscape, each of these versions can
deliver gang-buster ratings.
Once we isolated these "genre-classes", we
asked each to rate their Adult Hits station on a scale of 1 to
- I rarely listen. I spend less than 30 minutes a day
- I used to listen a lot more, but now I'm listening only 30-45
minutes a day.
- The station's OK. I listen about an hour a day
- I like the station a lot. I spend between 1 and 2 hours a
day with it.
- I love this station. It's my favorite. I listen more than
2 hours a day.
Based on these responses, during 2005 Bridge Ratings tracked
these genre-classes to determine long-term station listening
patterns. We discovered that different genre-classes become fatigued
with the station faster than others. Members of some genre-classes
reduce their listening for a short time then come back to previous
heavy listening patterns.
All of this points to an additional dimension as to why this
format tends to have more frequent ratings "ups" and "downs".
Juggling up to 8 different genre-classes of listeners and keeping
them happy is not an easy challenge. Program Directors in charge
of such stations need to be aware of the potential for disaster
since keeping these listener cohorts balanced
and in harmony is what maintains the format's interest and ultimately
A Power Point presentation of some of the findings of this study
is available to view on line by clicking
*This study was conducted between February
1 and December 31, 2005. Adult Hits stations used in this study
include KCBS-FM Los Angeles, KJAC-FM Denver, KJKK-FM, Dallas,
WJMK-FM Chicago, WCJK-FM Nashville, KPKX-FM Phoenix, KFMB-FM
San Diego and KJAQ-FM Seattle.
Bridge Ratings was founded in 2003
by former CBS Vice President, Dave Van Dyke. The service offers
statistical quantitative and behavioral audience measurement
data for the radio industry. Its telephone methodology generates
immediate results and reflects current listening trends. Bridge
Ratings is also known for its audience migration studies which
have been helping clients better understand the impact of on-demand
1200 person per market sample 25-54
Adults. Sample error +/- 2.9% per market. Total sample = 9600
Adults 25-54. Total sample error +/- .5%