to conservatives, YES NPR, to their ear, IS liberal. I don't think you'll find many "ditto heads" tuning in to NPR other than for possibly "Car Talk" on Saturday mornings.
That is exactly my point, if "ditto heads" would never tune into NPR, and regular NPR listeners avoid Rush like the plague than the stations are not in competition for the same audience any more than beautiful music stations, like WDVR or WWSH, were directly "competing" with Top-40 AMs like WFIL or WIBG back in the 60s or 70s. They have entirely different audiences, and just because one is up doesn't mean the other is down. I agree, one predictor of who goes where likely is political affiliation, but there are probably many other predictors including level of education, type of occupation etc. There are always exceptions, but NPR probably has more PhDs in its audience than Rush does.
The real competition for WPHT will be the new WWIQ, which will result in a kind of replay of the old WWDB, WCAU battles.
You apparently have access to the more detailed Philly numbers than just the general 12+ PPM numbers as you mention Rush's unimpressive numbers in Philly.
To be honest, I just have access to the 6+ PPM numbers like most of us here. If Rush's numbers were "impressive" CBS wouldn't be dumping his show. While the full-day ratings can't tell us how well an individual show is doing, an individual show can't have a better "cume" than the station cume. And there are 19 or 20 stations in the Philadelphia market with larger cumes than WPHT. While Rush may have some very loyal dittoheads who spend three-hours every day listening, for a full week they can't total more than 265,000 in a market of 4.5-million, and are probably far fewer. If Rush were really bringing lots of friends to the party, CBS would probably keep his show as a loss leader for the rest of the station.
Philadelphia is similar to other metro areas where the urban core is heavily Blue, and some of the surrounding suburban areas Red. It is likely WWIQ will find most of its new talk show audience, and possibly many of its advertisers, in the Red counties.
Clear Channel has gone a step further, than Merlin will be in Philly, by starting "Rush Radio" in Blue core markets like Boston, Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham. In Boston, possibly to avoid embarrassment, it's no longer called "Rush Radio" but it is still Conservative talk with Rush, Hannity, and Beck, among others. It has an average weekly cume of 90,000 listeners in a market of 4-million. While in Raleigh "Rush Radio" is on FM, and ranks #13. In Pittsburgh on FM, essentially the same lineup ranks #6.
Sure they'll pull in listeners, but by what you said, nothing impressive, but will WWIQ be able to sell those shows? After all, the bottom line IS the bottom line.
Just guessing, but WWIQ is mostly likely to do about as well in Philly, as FM "Rush Radio" does in Raleigh. That is below the top-10, but because of lower employee expenses it will have a much better shot at being quickly profitable than it would have had doing "all news." Most of the new station's potential listeners have been listening to WPHT, and the new station will divided and share that cume. It's not likely they will convert large numbers of NPR or music station listeners to move up the FM dial for Conservative talk for long. Still, they might see a way to duplicate the format's ratings success across the state in Pittsburgh, and have a real winner. We'll see!