Taking Taxi to the Top at WEMP

September marked WEMP’s first full month listed in the Arbitron survey. For the overall 6+ rating, the upstart newser dropped to a .5.

The ratings period began August 18, meaning Hurricane Irene coverage later that month was included.

WEMP had been part of the August ratings, but only five days worth at a 1.1.

WEMP/FM News COO Walter Sabo says a trend needs more than one month to establish itself.

Following the September PPM ratings, FishbowlNY spent some time with the Merlin Media executive.

Sabo hailed a cab following our Midtown meeting. Once in the taxi, the radio mastermind overheard his station filtering through the glass partition.

Sabo began rummaging through his pockets.

“I have a gift for him,” Sabo said.

The gift is a perfectly sized, perfectly placed, perfectly themed FM News 101.9 air freshener. He credits Liz Aiello, WEMP VP of programming, for creating the item.

Anytime a staffer hears a taxi tuned to WEMP the driver is awarded the air freshener. The marketing ploy makes the driver feel like a “winner.” More important, though, it’s large enough to act as an “advertisement” for back seat riders.

Unfortunately for the driver, Sabo didn’t come prepared with an air freshener.

Keeping his identity hidden, Sabo asked Hugo, the taxi driver, why he doesn’t listen to WCBS and WINS.

“They are boring.” Hugo said.

By contrast, the WEMP anchors and reporters are “having more fun.” Hugo also singled out the station’s comprehension traffic reports as another positive.

So perhaps it’s WEMP strategy–win the ratings, one taxi at a time.