Nearly six months after investing $250,000 to improve its signal penetration in the nearby market of Boston, ratings for hot AC WXLO Worcester, MA (104.5) are up by double-digits in the top 10 market. Boston is notorious for the density of buildings, tunnels and other environmental factors making signal penetration difficult. In January, WXLO – a 26,000-watt Class B licensed to Fitchburg, about 50 miles west of Boston – began using GeoBroadcast Solutions’ MaxxCasting technology. The system uses single-frequency network (SFN) booster sites to help boost radio signals in densely populated areas where there are a lot of tall buildings that can cause reception problems.
Now Nielsen’s January-April 2019 trend report shows WXLO ranked sixth among women 35-54 with weekly cume persons increasing from 61,500 in January to 70,200 in April and TSL up from two hours in January to 2 hours 30 minutes in April. Those are increases of 14% and 25%, respectively.
WXLO says the latest Nielsen numbers prove the system is delivering a more listenable signal through the city of Boston in Suffolk and Middlesex counties and making WXLO a competitive ratings force in Boston. “We’re excited that the 450,000+ listeners who tune into 104.5 XLO on a weekly basis, many of whom commute in and out of the city of Boston, will now be able to hear the radio station on their entire commute,” Regional VP Bob Goodell said. “MaxxCasting has also given us the opportunity to reach new listeners who live in the greater Boston area, giving us the opportunity to expand our footprint.”
WXLO’s single-frequency network includes three low-power transmission sites, or “nodes,” including a transmission node located on top of the John Hancock building in downtown Boston. All nodes are located in areas prone to weak signal coverage, using GBS’ predictive modeling software to eliminate interference in areas where signals overlap.
WXLO is the second Boston area station to use the system, which has also been implemented in Chicago, Washington state and Wisconsin. In March, GBS named veteran broadcaster Harvey Wells director of sales development and marketing for MaxxCasting.
Next Up: ZoneCasting
In a move with perhaps greater implications, WXLO plans to implement GBS’ ZoneCasting technology, which will allow a radio station to divide its signal based on a market’s geography. The technology, which is pending FCC approval and has only been tested in a handful of U.S. markets, will allow a radio station to air different news, traffic, weather, PSAs and commercials based on where a listener is located. WXLO says it plans to go live with Zonecasting in the near future, after receiving special permission from the FCC to test the system.
Speaking at last week’s Conclave Learning Conference in Minneapolis, former Cumulus VP John Dickey suggested broadcasters could quadruple their ad loads through the use of ZoneCasting. It offers a way to reduce the price of spot inventory and deliver more value to small business advertisers, Dickey told Conclavers.