New York radio station WKTU, which had the first airing of ‘You Rock My World’ in 2001, had an influx of calls for Michael’s music on the night he died and decided to go on with it until midnight. When the calls showed no sign of decreasing they thought they would risk taking it over the weekend. It would be either a ratings hit or a mistake. Obviously, it was a big hit.
At some point during the seven days that included that weekend, Arbitron calculated that 6.43 million people tuned into WKTU. That’s about 1.3 million more than in an average week, and it’s the highest weekly total recorded since WLTW scored 6.6 million during the 2007 holiday season.
Other stations played Michael’s music heavily as well that weekend, including WRKS (98.7 FM) and WBLS (107.5 FM) and they also had an increase in listenership.
“People came to radio for the positive side of Michael,” says program director Rob Miller. “Michael’s music lasts. I hear ‘Beat It’ or ‘Billie Jean’ and it takes me back to sixth grade and kids break-dancing on cardboard on the playground. And the music sounds just as good now. His early records still sound amazing, too. He made it to be timeless, and it is.”