January 26, 2007
By Sandy Wells
Talk radio, oldies and soft rock rebound in latest ratings
The redesigned oldies legend “K-Earth 101” (KRTH-FM 101.1) made impressive gains in the fall ratings period, going from a tie at No. 15 to a tie for No. 10 in the latest Arbitron survey of listeners 12 and up. It is vindication for new Program Director Jhani Kaye and indicates there are plenty of listeners ready for a more 70s-based mix of oldies. Kaye’s previous station, adult contemporary KOST-FM 103.5 which is now programmed by Stella Schwartz, also had a great book, jumping from 11th place to a tie for 4th.
The congressional elections were a boon for talk stations. Clear Channel’s conservative/populist KFI-AM 640 went from a tie at No. 8 to a tie a No. 4 and ABC Disney’s mostly conservative KABC-AM 790 moved up from No. 17 to 15. Liberal KTLK-AM 1150 (also owned by Clear Channel) inched up a tenth to No. 31, tied with Salem ’s very conservative KRLA-AM 870.
Country music fans found a new home across county lines. The Inland Empire ’s “K-Frog” (KFRG-FM 95.1) jumped from No. 40 in the LA Metro survey to No. 28, thanks to the “flip” of KZLA-FM 93.9 from country to rhythmic adult contemporary “Movin’ 93.9” (KMVN-FM) last August. We’ll have to wait for the next ratings results to find out how well newcomer Country AM 540 and 1260 succeeds in attracting the disenfranchised country music fans of LA and Orange Counties .
K-Earth 101 Morning Man Gary Bryan
The top rated stations overall were Spanish contemporary “K-Love” KLVE-FM 107.5, then Regional Mexican KSCA-FM 101.9 which tied at No. 2 with Clear Channel’s top 40 KIIS-FM 102.7. The No. 4 spot was shared by two other Clear Channel stations: KFI-AM and KOST-FM. Regional Mexican KLAX-FM 97.9 scored at No. 6, followed by CHR Rhythmic “Power 106” (KPWR-FM 105.9) at No. 7, alternative rock KROQ-FM 106.7 at No. 8 and smooth jazz “The Wave” (KTWV-FM 94.7) at No. 9. “K-Earth 101” and Regional Mexican KBUE-FM 105.5 tied at No. 10.
K-Earth 101's midday guy Jim Carson
Climbing back into the morning drive top ten were Mark and Kim on KOST-FM up from No. 12 in the summer to No. 8 and “K-Earth 101”’s Gary Brian, who shot up from No. 16 to tie at No. 9 with the adult hits format of “Jack FM” (KCBS-FM 93.1).
KSCA-FM’s “Piolín por la Mañana” held on to No. 1 in morning drive. English-speaking radio’s top performer was KFI’s Bill Handel at No. 2 overall, then at No. 3 KLAX-FM’s Renan Almendarez Coello, “American Idol” star Ryan Seacrest on KIIS-FM at No. 4, Omar and Algeria on KLVE-FM at No. 6, Kevin and Bean on KROQ-FM at No. 7 and Power 106’s big-voiced Big Boy at No. 8. In talk radio, KABC-AM’s Doug McIntyre, KRLA-AM’s Laura Ingraham and KTLK-AM’s Stephanie Miller all gained audience share. Notwithstanding LA’s need for straight forward news reporting and frequent traffic updates, news stations KNX-AM 1070 and KFWB-AM 980 lost audience share in the morning, down two tenths and one tenth respectively.
In the 7 p.m. to midnight period, Art Laboe, whose request and dedications show on “Hot 92 Jamz” (KHHT-FM 92.3) dominates the city with the No. 1 show on Sunday nights, did not improve the ratings picture for the urban AC station with his new weeknight show. KHHT-FM was down from No. 4 to No. 7. If listeners are missing the soft R&B of “The Quiet Storm” (now starts at midnight), the ratings suggest they weren’t going to “The Wave” which dropped down from No. 7 to No. 12 nor to “The Beat” KKBT-FM 100.3 - now KRVB-FM “V-100” – which dipped from No. 14 to 21. Night owls may be tuning to the 70s flavored hits on “K-Earth 101” (up from No. 19 to 15). In talk radio, KABC-AM gained 1.6 points, raising Al Rantel, Mark Levin and “Ask Mr. KABC” from No. 16 to No. 10. KFI-AM’s John Ziegler and George Noory also improved, growing nine tenths of a point from No, 10 to a tie at No. 5 with KOST-FM.
Ask Mr. KABC showed big gains in the evening ratings for KABC-AM 790
NPR news aims for younger audience
National Public Radio is getting set to launch a new news show for younger audiences patterned after “Morning Edition,” which has grown to be a daily habit for 13 million listeners since its inception in 1970. However, the young, college educated FM listeners of that time are now pushing 60. Even at the ultra politically correct NPR, the people in charge know they’ve got to cultivate the young to stay relevant in radio.
“Morning Edition is a tremendous success and a daily priority for millions of Americans, but one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to news and information,” said NPR Chief Executive Officer Ken Stern. “The 25-to-44 age group is underserved by the media and seeking smart, thoughtful content relevant to their lives. With more than seven million of them already embracing public radio and the public service it offers, this is a logical opportunity for NPR.”
A two-hour morning drive time radio show is planned for September through NPR radio stations, their digital HD radio multicast channels, the Internet and on satellite radio. No word yet on whether KPCC-FM 89.3 or KCRW-FM 89.9 will participate.