FARGO — News and talk station KFGO is back on top of Fargo-Moorhead radio dials after one ratings period in the No. 2 spot, according to the latest radio ratings released Wednesday, Jan. 30.

KFGO 790 AM had a share of 7.8 in the fall of 2018, down from 8.9 last spring, according to Nielsen. Top 40 music station Y94 was up slightly from 6.9 last spring to a share of 7.0 this past fall, claiming the No. 2 spot. Both stations are owned by Midwest Communications Inc.

A share is the percentage of listeners 12 and older tuned to a station from 6 a.m. to midnight.

"We're overjoyed," said Dan Cash, Vice President and Market Manager for Midwest Radio. "We had excellent performance from all six of our stations."

Last spring, KFGO's more than decadelong streak as the top station in the Fargo-Moorhead market was broken by a classic rock station when it dipped to the second spot with an 8.9 share, compared to The FOX 107.9's 9.7 share.

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But The Fox dropped to No. 7 in the latest ratings book with a 5.2 share, tying with country station Bob 95 FM.

Cash said the fall 2018 ratings period, which covered mid-September to early December, was dominated with political news and information.

"I think the numbers prove that KFGO is the true leader for the market," he said.

He credits Y94's strong performance in part to the consistency of the Top 40 station's morning show.

"'The Morning Playhouse' has been there for the long haul, and that makes a difference," he said.

Rock station Q 105.1 FM finished in third place overall with a share of 6.5, up dramatically from 3.6 during the spring ratings period. The station is owned by Radio Fargo-Moorhead. Another Radio Fargo-Moorhead property, adult contemporary station Big 98.7 FM, finished fourth overall with a 6. 1 share, up from 5.7 last spring.

Radio Fargo-Moorhead Operations Manager John Austin said he's very happy with this recent snapshot of radio listening.

"Our sales team is elated as they have five of the top seven stations to offer to their advertising clients," Austin said. "When you combine this survey with larger pool of data from over the last year, our stations continue to deliver wins in all of the key demographics. "

Radio Fargo-Moorhead also owns Bob 95 FM, 107.9 The FOX, The City at 94.5 FM, 96.9 Hits FM and Bison 1660 AM.

Nonetheless, Austin said his confidence in Nielsen's process and results is lessening because the ratings firm is surveying fewer and fewer people. In this survey period, for example, he said the adults 18-34 demographic was undersampled by half and did not meet Nielsen’s own minimum reporting standards.

"This most recent survey shows us the largest survey-to-survey swings we have ever seen. Considering that there have been no format or personality changes in the past year and yet we continue to see large swings in the results is a problem. It simply doesn’t add up," he said.

Some broadcast companies are no longer using the service because of that decline in accuracy.

WDAY 970 AM, which is owned by Forum Communications Co. that also owns The Forum, no longer subscribes to Nielsen ratings, for example. Stations that don't subscribe aren't included in topline radio ratings, which are the only publicly released ratings by Nielsen each period.

Top 10

Here are Fargo-Moorhead's Top 10 radio stations and their subsequent market share, which is the percentage of listeners 12 and older tuned to a particular station from 6 a.m. to midnight, according to fall 2018 ratings released Jan. 30 by Nielsen.

  1. KFGO 790 AM, 7.8
  2. Y94, 7.0
  3. Q105.1 Rocks, 6.5
  4. Big 98.7, 6.1
  5. 106.9 The Eagle, 5.7
  6. Bob 95 FM, 5.2
  7. 107.9 The Fox, 5.2
  8. 104.7 Duke FM, 4.8
  9. Froggy 99.9, 4.8
  10. 740 The Fan, 4.3