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Radio AM to FM: April 26, 2002

Winter Arbitrons

It's like deja vu all over again ...

The last time KIIS was on a downward Arbitron ratings trend, it was due to overconfidence on the part of management which felt it more important to make tons of money than to really program the station. That was 1986, the year that KPWR came to Power (pardon the intended pun). It took KIIS -- the dominant top-40 station in America from 1982 to 1985 -- literally years to recover.

Well its happening again, only this time it took longer for the effects of poor decisions -- temporarily syndicating morning star Rick Dees, having no DJ in late mornings, focussing on advertisers instead of listeners -- to manifest themselves into a ratings drop. And this time it is not just Power that's beating KIIS, it's KROQ. And KOST.

For the quarter, KROQ was the top station in Los Angeles once again, with a 5.1 share of the audience. Power followed close behind with a 5.0 -- a 1.0 increase from Fall, while KOST was third at 4.4. KIIS was tied with KFI (640 AM) and Spanish music leader KSCA at 4th with a 4.0 share. Rounding out the top 10 were KLVE (3.5), KTWV (3.4), KHHT (3.3) and KKBT (also 3.3).

To be fair, KIIS still has a great rating (I'm just still used to the 10+ shares they earned in the 1980s ... and I miss the jingles). But the station has declined from 4.6 and 4.7 shares last Winter and Spring, to its current 4.0 -- a half-point drop from Fall's 4.5. That doesn't look good; if I were in management, I wouldn't panic. But I would be concerned, especially since KIIS has no direct competition ... and yet it competes with everyone due to the nature of its top-40 playlist.

KHHT -- Hot 92.3 -- continued its upward swing and earned the frequency's highest ratings in recent memory. Same goes for KOST, which has been on an upward trend since it hit a 3.2 share bottom last Spring. Classic rock was the big downer for the book, as KCBS-FM was down a bit (2.0 from 2.1) and KLOS dropped to its lowest in recent memory (1.9 from 2.6). Outside of those already mentioned, however, everyone else was pretty much the same, as it usually is. When you have 80 stations all competing for listeners, things can move mighty slowly.

Each rating is an estimate of the percentage of listeners aged 12 and over tuned to a station between the hours of 6 am and 12 midnight, as determined by the Arbitron Company.

1. KROQ (5.1) 2. KPWR (5.0) 3. KOST (4.4) 4. KFI, KIIS, KSCA (4.0) 7. KLVE (3.5) 8. KTWV (3.4) 9. KHHT, KKBT (3.3)

11. KRTH (3.2) 12. KBUA/KBUE (2.7) 13. KBIG, KLAX, KLSX, KNX (2.5) 17. KYSR (2.4) 18. KABC (2.2) 19. KMZT (2.1) 20. KCBS-FM (2.0)

21. KLOS, KXOL, KZLA (1.9) 24. KFWB (1.7) 25. KRCD/KRCV (1.5) 26. KJLH (1.4) 27. KSSC/KSSE (1.3) 28. KLYY (1.2) 29. KLTX (1.1) 30. KHJ (1.0)

31. KBLA (0.9) 32. KLAC, KRLA, KWIZ (0.8) 35. KFSH, KKLA (0.7) 37. KTNQ, KXTA (0.6) 39. KWKW, KWVE, XTRA (0.5) 42. KGGI (0.4) 43. KDIS, KOLA (0.3) 45. KALI (0.0)

Ratings are Copyright © 2002 The Arbitron Company, and may not be quoted or reproduced without the express written permission of Arbitiron.

Short Takes

Don Burns, the voice and afternoon personality of KTWV for 14 years has left the station. Burns says it was the money and the atmosphere of radio in general that made him decide to leave.

Dennis Prager, heard locally on KRLA weekdays from 9 am to 12 noon, will broadcast from Jerusalem April 29th through May 3rd.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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