Channel Surfing
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
March 4, 2004

WPVI is the winner of the 11 p.m. weeknight February sweeps race with a 13 rating/21 share of the audience.  WCAU came in second place with an 11 rating/17 share, and KYW was in third with a 9 rating/15 share.  KYW's ratings are up 21% from last year with new 11 p.m. anchor Larry Mendte and WCAU's ratings are down 12% without Mendte.  WPVI continues to lead with or without Mendte.

WTXF's "Ten O'clock News" was unable to duplicate last year's 8 rating as it ended with a 6 rating/9 share - down 23% from last year.   WPHL's half hour news improved to a 3 rating/4 share - up 20% from last year.

In some of the other news races, WPVI leads at 6 p.m. with a 14 rating/23 share.  WCAU is in second place with a 7 rating/12 share and KYW is in third place with a 6 rating/11 share.  At 5 p.m. "Action News" leads with a 12 rating/22 share but "Dr. Phil" is the "big story" with an incredible 103% increase in the timeslot from last year with a 7 rating/ to beat the WCAU news at 5 p.m.  Dr. Phil's mentor "Oprah" also had a great book with an 11 rating/22 share at 4 p.m. to beat the WCAU news, "Judge Judy" on WTXF, and the KYW news in that order.

Each rating point equals 28,743 local households.  The next sweeps period is in May.

KYW will be shuffling its weekend morning anchors.  Carol Erickson will only do weather instead of news and weather and Robin Rieger will be reassigned.  Though a new team hasn't been officially announced yet, a likely scenario is that weekend evening anchors Tom Negovan and Colette Cassidy will move to mornings or reporters Calvin Hughes and Karen Scullin will become anchors.

According to the winter Arbitron ratings, there is a new number one radio station in town - WDAS 105.3-FM.  For listeners ages 12 and up, Urban AC WDAS leads with a 7.3 share of the Philadelphia audience.  Fall ratings winner WBEB 101.1-FM dropped to second place with a 7.2 share, and KYW 1060-AM remained in third place with a 7.1 share. Here is the rest of the top ten - WUSL 98.9-FM (5.7 share), WYSP 94.1 (4.4 share), WJJZ 106.1-FM,  (4.1 share), WIOQ 102.1-FM (4.0 share), WSNI 104.5-FM (4.0 share), WOGL 98.1-FM (3.7 share), and WPHI 103.9-FM (3.6 share). The Philadelphia listening audience is 4,291,700 people. 

Thankfully, WYSP 94.1-FM isn't one of the six stations across the country that pulled Howard Stern's show off the air in the aftermath of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl debacle.  I have listened to Howard since the day he came on the air here in August of 1986.  Howard and Robin Quivers are the best radio team on the air.

For WMGK 102.9-FM weekend personality Marilyn Russell, who left her high profile position on the morning show at Y-100 to spend more time with her family a couple of years ago, "Choosing my personal life over her my professional life was the best decision I ever made."

Russell was part of the "Preston, Marilyn, and Steve" show on Y-100 for five years, but when she got married, she wanted to spend more time at home to ease the transition between her then 10-year-old son and new husband. 

She moved to weekends on Y-100, but last year switched to WMGK 102.9-FM.  Like many of the other personalities on the station, Russell has shared her love of her favorite musical artist, Led Zeppelin with the listeners.

Now that things are settled with the family, Russell is hoping to work full-time again.  Though the lineup at WMGK is set in stone with John DeBella, Debbie Calton, Andre Gardner, and Ray Coob, Russell hopes she can eventually get a full-time position at one of WMGK's sister stations (WMMR 93.3-FM, WMWX 95.7-FM, or WPEN 950-AM).