According to Scarborough Research, which surveys the Mobile market every six months, Lagniappe’s readership has increased significantly in recent months.

The latest survey was released this past week and found that average readership per paper has increased to 73,110. The survey also found an average online readership of 18,972, giving Lagniappe a reach of more than 92,000 readers each issue.

In the last survey, total readership — print and online — was just over 81,000 weekly. That’s a 14 percent increase in weekly readership.
Scarborough also measures non-daily newspapers read over the past six months, and on that basis, including web readership, Lagniappe’s readership has climbed to more than 163,000. In the previous survey, readership over six months was at 131,114. That’s a 24 percent increase in readers who pick up the paper or check out the website over a six-month period.

The latest Scarborough survey ended in March. Scarborough is part of the Nielsen Local Insight Suite and surveys more than 200 markets in the United States.

Lagniappe prints 25,000 newspapers each week and they are distributed to more than 1,000 spots in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Spring radio numbers
Speaking of Nielsen, the radio numbers for spring are in, offering a look at listenership among the stations participating in the survey.

The company surveyed the average number of people ages 12 and up who listened during an average quarter hour from 6 a.m. until midnight in the Mobile Metro area. Among the nine stations participating in the survey, there wasn’t a tremendous amount of change, although there were a couple of big changes.

As usual, Cumulus Media stations WBLX-FM and WDLT-FM found themselves at the top of the heap. Both had 10.3 shares. For WDLT that was a fall from 11.1 in the winter survey and a fall from 10.5 for WBLX.

The big mover was WRKH-FM, which jumped from fourth place to third, with a move from 7.2 shares in the winter survey to 8.0. The classic rock station owned by iHeartMedia pulled a 4.2 share in fall of last year, so its improvement over the past two quarters has been impressive.

WKSJ-FM saw a small change to 7.2 this quarter versus 7.5 last quarter. The country juggernaut is owned by iHeartMedia and maintains pretty steady ratings.

WABD-FM landed in the fifth spot again this quarter, although ratings were up significantly, from 5.5 to 6.4 this spring.

The highest-rated AM radio station in the survey was gospel station WGOK owned by Cumulus, which pulled a 4.7 share after having a 5.2 in the previous quarter. It stays in the sixth position.

Adult contemporary station WMXC-FM maintained the seventh spot with a 4.5 share, down slightly from 4.7 in winter. It is owned by iHeartMedia. News/Talk format WNTM-AM followed with a 1.4 share, down from 1.8.

Rounding out the survey was WAVH-FM, a news/talk station owned by Bigler Broadcasting. Nielsen did not provide share information for WAVH in this survey. In the previous survey it drew a 2.5 share.

Several stations in the market, such as WZEW-FM, do not participate in the survey, therefore are not ranked. It must also be noted that since the survey is 12-plus, these rankings are not necessarily relevant to individual stations’ target audiences. For instance, talk radio stations’ rankings in 12-plus are not indicative of their performance among those who typically listen to talk radio.

And now for a word from our sponsors …
Perusing al.com lately, it seems more and more “sponsored content” is making its way onto the site — a troubling development for those who care about journalism.

Back when I was learning about journalism, what’s now called “sponsored content” was called “advertorial,” and it was considered one of journalism’s cardinal sins. Essentially sponsored content is allowing an advertiser to run what looks like a news story in the paper or online. While it may be marked as a paid advertisement, often it isn’t done very prominently. The obvious effort is to lend the newspaper’s journalistic credibility to the advertiser.

Al.com isn’t by any stretch the only media outlet to use sponsored content. In these tight times many media outlets have kissed their ethics goodbye and started running sponsored content.

I’ve sent messages to the al.com honchos asking them about their use of sponsored content, but as usual, they haven’t written back or contacted me in any way.

While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an advertiser running an ad containing an article, as long as it is very clear it’s not part of the newspaper’s editorial content, the use of advertorial or sponsored content by serious journalistic organizations can only erode trust.