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KPWR Hangs On to No. 1 Spot, Edging KIIS

Times Staff Writer

Despite an expensive, high-profile battle challenging KPWR-FM’s dominance over the airwaves, Power 106 hangs on to its title as the most listened-to station in Los Angeles. According to radio’s latest quarterly audience survey, released Tuesday by Arbitron Ratings Service, KPWR holds a slim margin over second-ranked arch-rival KIIS-FM (102.7).

The rest of the Top 10 most popular stations remain virtually unchanged since last fall, with soft rock KOST-FM (103.5) in third place followed by all-talk KABC-AM (790) and its sister station, album rock KLOS-FM (95.5).

The Arbitron survey covers a 12-week period from the beginning of January to the middle of March.

The ratings for the winter quarter do not reflect the number of listeners garnered by the newest rocker in Southern California radio, KQLZ-FM (100.3). The station was formerly known as “K-LITE” (KIQQ-FM) under its old ownership, but began characterizing itself in a large-scale TV and billboard advertising blitz as “Pirate Radio” when the new owners, Westwood One, bought the station March 17.

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Ironically, as K-LITE, the station finished 13th in the highly competitive L.A.-area market that serves its 9 million listeners with more than 80 radio stations.

Pirate Radio’s program director and morning drive-time personality, Scott Shannon, has made no secret of his pitched battle with morning rivals Rick Dees on KIIS and Jay Thomas on KPWR. All three deejays have mounted campaigns to upstage one another, including big money giveaway contests in the case of KPWR and KIIS and out-and-out on-the-air sniping by Shannon who regularly refers to Dees in derogatory terms.

“This shows you sometimes that the trends are not very accurate and that the rumors that were flying around that Rick (Dees) was falling . . . are not necessarily true,” said Karen Tobin, promotions director for KIIS-FM and its sister station, KIIS-AM (1150).

After a brief stint as a separately programmed station featuring more hard rock in its music mix, KIIS-AM switched back to a straight simulcast of KIIS-FM’s format at the beginning of the year. That tactic helped boost the combined ratings of the two stations above even that of KPWR-FM. When selling their advertising time, the Gannett-owned KIIS stations boast of being the top-rated station in Southern California based on those combined ratings.

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In all-important morning drive-time, the top personalities remain, in order: KIIS’ Rick Dees, KABC’s Ken Minyard and Bob Arthur, KPWR’s Jay Thomas and KLOS’ Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps.

In another area of contention--all-talk radio--KABC remains the undisputed leader despite a tough public relations and promotional assault from KFI-AM (640). The powerful AM station, whose 50,000 watts of power make it one of the most far-reaching beacons in the western United States, remains deep in the ratings cellar at No. 23, according to Arbitron.

The Top 10 stations in Los Angeles, followed by their rating share (one share point equals about 10,000 listeners per average quarter hour), are:

1. KPWR-FM (105.9): 6.4

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2. KIIS-FM (102.7): 6.2

3. KOST-FM (103.5): 5.6

4. KABC-AM (790): 4.9

5. KLOS-FM (95.5): 4.6

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6. KJOI-FM (98.7): 4.5

7. KBIG-FM (104.3): 4.0

8. KNX-AM (1070): 3.6

9. KTWV-FM (94.7): 3.4

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10. KRTH-FM (101.1): 3.3


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