WAMU's HD-2 Bluegrass Country ranks in May Arbitrons


WAMU-FM DC’s Bluegrass Country (is the second HD Radio multicast station in the nation to place in an Arbitron monthly report, ranking 47th overall for the month of the May in the Washington market. Bluegrass Country is the first DC  multicast channel to rank in a monthly report (May 2010, Washington, 6+ PPM, M-Su 6A-12M).

The station fared even better in drive times, ranking 41st with 10,400 weekly listeners on weekday mornings (May 2010, Washington, 6+ PPM, M-F 7A-10A), during The Katy Daley Show, and 46th with 12,900 listeners on weekday afternoons (May 2010, Washington, 6+ PPM, M-F 3P-6P) during The Ray Davis Show.

“Bluegrass Country sets a high bar for other multicast stations, with live, robust content and a dedicated staff that loves and appreciates both the music and the audience,” said WAMU 88.5 and Bluegrass Country GM Caryn Mathes. “This ranker proves that there is a substantial audience both for this music and also for rich multicast content.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Perhaps DC is getting enough critical mass with HD Radio ownership to start showing up in the Arbs. But it goes to show you: Getting listeners psyched about an HD multicast music format is not going to be via a copycat, cookie-cutter redux of the main HD-1 signal. Bluegrass is different and listeners have shown they like it. On the other hand, DC has TWO Smooth Jazz formats (why offer two in one market?) and numerous repeats of AM stations. The market used to have a couple decent HD-2 standouts—eRockster on DC-101 (now a predictable copycat of the main signal) and WTOP-HD2, which was independent artists: i-Channel Music. Don’t get us wrong, there’s a bit of variety currently on HD here in DC (from Oldies to Crank) and WIAD-HD2/HFS2, which is a shade better than your typical Alternative format (but nothing like the old WHFS was, circa 1972-1996). So we’ll see if more HD formats start showing up in the ratings as well, however, unusual formats without all of the same songs we’ve all heard is the best advice we can give: Reggae, Psychedelic 60’s Rock, Techno/Rave, Indie Rock….you know the drill.