After three straight months of zero ratings growth with a falling listenership, things finally took a turn for the better in January for 95.7 “The Game.”

The Game posted it’s best month since October 2012, with the second highest recorded ratings and total listenership and held up its end to make this monthly post more interesting. KNBR still rules the sports radio world, but that lead shrunk for the first time in months.

Here are the ratings numbers updated through the January period, which runs from Jan. 3 through Jan. 30 (numbers on demographics or specific shows aren’t available to the general public):

San Francisco

December

Holiday

January

Station

AQH%

Reach

AQH%

Reach

AQH%

Reach

Owner

KNBR-AM 4.2 713,400 3.8 686,600 4.3 738,300 Cumulus
KGMZ-FM 0.7 225,700 0.7 189,200 1.3 317,200 Entercom
KTCT-AM 0.8 365,600 0.6 211,800 0.6 215,800 Cumulus

*AQH is Average Quarter-Hour Share or the average share during any quarter-hour during the course of the day. Reach is the total number of people that tuned in during the course of the week.

For those who are more visually oriented, here are the ratings in graphical form for the last year:

Radio Ratings through January 2013

With the 49ers on their way to the Super Bowl, both stations went all out covering the playoffs and the Super Bowl. KNBR obviously covered the game as the flagship station for one of the teams in the game, but 95.7 also sent a presence to Radio Row and carried the national broadcast of the game (as they did for each playoff game). Looking at the high level numbers it seems that the 49ers’ success was helpful for both stations.

The Game treaded water for months, but that came to an end in January — 95.7’s second highest rated month on record behind only October last year. January also marked the fourth time that the station eclipsed the 1.0 barrier. For the first time since last winter, my cautiously optimistic thought that 95.7 might start chipping away at KNBR’s listenership lead hasn’t looked like a fools bet. One month does not make a trend, however, and it will be interesting to see if this is another one-month blip or something that can be sustained.

The news wasn’t horrible for KNBR — ratings and listenership were up month-over-month at 680 but flat at KNBR 1050. The 49ers playing into February and having the Super Bowl talk carry the station almost to Fan Fest must have been a dream come true. The fact the Warriors have done better than expected is icing on the cake.

YOY Changes:

January 2012 – January 2013
Ratings Listeners
KNBR 14% -0.8%
KNBR 1050 0% -19.4%
KGMZ (the Game) 23.1% 37.9%

KNBR saw a bump in the ratings from this time last year, but drew about the same number of total listeners. KNBR 1050 failed to reverse its slide, with no change in cumulative ratings and close to a 20% drop in listeners. I guess the CBS Sports Radio content hasn’t been an instant panacea. At The Game, ratings were up nearly 25% and listeners were up nearly 40%.

Looking forward, February is by far the slowest sports month and it will probably be among the lowest rated months of the year. Can both stations hold onto listeners without many compelling sporting events to drive the conversation?