The new elites of Los Angeles-Orange County radio raised their stature even further in August, as both KBIG-FM (104.3) and KLAX-FM (97.9) widened their leads against rivals, according to ratings released Tuesday by
KBIG — the "hot adult-contemporary" station that mixes pop and rock, new and not-so-recent, and features artists such as Katy Perry, Peter Gabriel and
KIIS actually increased its audience share from July, when only one-tenth of a point separated it from first, but lagged far behind surging KBIG with 5.4% in what Arbitron labels its August survey, but which actually charted people's listening habits from July 18 to Aug. 14.
Meanwhile, KLAX, the regional-Mexican-music station that features Ricardo "El Mandril" Sanchez during morning drive, once again led that all-important 6-10 a.m. weekday slot, when millions of people are turning to the radio as they begin their day.
Sanchez first leapt to the top spot in June, when he bested talk station KFI-AM (640) by 5.3% to 5%. He pulled farther ahead in July, beating KFI and alternative rock station KROQ-FM (106.7) by 5.9% to 4.7%. Then Sanchez really hit the gas in August. While KFI and KROQ — the latter featuring Kevin Ryder and Gene "Bean" Baxter — remained tied at second, inching ahead to 4.8%, Sanchez pulled away with a 6.5% share of the audience.
KFI, whose morning lineup features local host Bill Handel, followed by the first hour of
The August survey was the last to feature onetime ratings leader Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo on regional-Mexican-music station KSCA-FM (101.9) — albeit for only his last three weekdays on the air. The station's parent company,
From 2005 to 2008, Sotelo was the one with the stranglehold on morning ratings, but lately he had resided in the lower ranks of the Top 10. But after placing 12th in January, he had been on a steady rebound, and in July, his last full month on the air, he placed fourth with a 4.3% share. In August, with Sotelo gone for most of the survey, KSCA and its morning show fell to a fifth-place tie at 3.9%, the same as KBIG's morning host, Sean Valentine. All-news station KNX-AM (1070) placed fourth at 4%, up from ninth in July.
Sanchez's dominance is remarkable because he had been in seventh place as recently as April, and was 10th in January.
Also, his success is noteworthy because when Arbitron changed the way it compiled ratings at the end of 2008, switching from listener diaries to automated meters that were supposed to be more objective, foreign-language stations protested, predicting their numbers would suffer. One claim: Non-English speakers carrying the Arbitron meters, which automatically detect stations within earshot of the wearer, would register English-language stations that happened to be playing wherever they went. With the old diaries, those listeners would likely have marked down only the native-tongue stations they sought out, and not inflate the numbers for the other stations they weren't intentionally consuming.
In fact, many stations did suffer among those with the audiences considered most loyal — urban, country and foreign-language. KSCA dropped from first to sixth after the changeover, for example. Spanish broadcasters filed suit against Arbitron to halt its rollout of the new metering system, and last year the company settled a consumer-protection suit filed by California Atty. Gen.
In August's overall ratings, the Top Five remained the same from July. Following KBIG and KIIS were pop station KAMP-FM (97.1) at 4.5%, adult-contemporary KOST-FM (103.) at 4.4% and hip-hop outlet KPWR-FM (105.9) at 4%.