The ratings wars in local radio remained pretty much a stalemate during the summer, even with the controversial arrival in August of a new format on KLSX-FM (97.1), which went from classic rock to light talk.
According to the quarterly audience measurement released Tuesday by Arbitron, the national radio ratings service, KLSX increased its audience share only one-tenth of a point to 2.3%, tying for the 18th spot among the 80-plus stations in the Los Angeles market.
Meanwhile, hip-hop music station KPWR-FM (105.9) retained its No. 1 ranking overall, moving from a 5.2% share in the spring to 5.3% for the summer quarter (June 22 to Sept. 13). Spanish-language KLVE-FM (107.5) was second again and hard-rocking KROQ-FM (106.7) was third.
In the important morning drive period of 6 to 10 a.m., New York-based talkmeister Howard Stern moved back into the top spot for KLSX with a 5.4% audience share, displacing Pepe Barretto and Lupita Pena at KLVE. KFI-AM (640) was third with the combination of Bill Handel (5 to 9 a.m.) and the first hour of Rush Limbaugh.
Despite the official ranking, KLSX officials proclaimed victory. "We're all very pleased here," said promotions manager Scott Segelbaum.
Warren Williams, KLSX operations manager, said the average listening time over the course of a week increased by an hour and 15 minutes since the last ratings book, from five hours and 15 minutes to six hours and 30 minutes.
Segelbaum noted that the expanding listening time is particularly important to advertisers.
Williams added that the station essentially exchanged audiences. "We did just fine," he said. "The music listeners have found other places to listen to music. People interested in a new breed of talk have found Real Radio 97.1."
He noted that "if the music listeners had gone away and not been replaced, we would have crashed and burned."
Station officials said they had expected the changeover from one audience to the other to be a six-month process.
Among other talk stations, KFI again had the best numbers but stayed the same with a 3.9% share of the audience, moving from seventh place to a tie for sixth. KABC-AM (790) moved from 13th to a tie for ninth place.
The O.J. Simpson double murder trial did not seem to have helped KNX-AM (1070) very much in this quarter. It dropped from 3.3% share of the audience and a tie for 10th place last spring to a 3% in 12th place this summer.
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The area's Top 25 stations and their Arbitron ratings for the summer months compared with the spring quarter of the year:
CURRENT LAST QUARTER 1. KPWR-FM 5.3 5.2 2. KLVE-FM 4.8 4.7 3. KROQ-FM 4.5 4.5 4. KKBT-FM 4.2 4.2 KIIS-AM/FM 4.2 4.5 6. KFI-AM 3.9 3.9 KRTH-FM 3.9 3.8 8. KLAX-FM 3.3 3.4 9. KBIG-FM 3.2 3.2 KOST-FM 3.2 4.3 KABC-AM 3.2 3.1 12. KNX-AM 3.0 3.3 13. KLOS-FM 2.9 3.3 KTWV-FM 2.9 3.0 15. KKHJ-AM 2.8 1.9 16. KCBS-FM 2.7 2.4 17. KFWB-AM 2.4 2.4 18. KLSX-FM 2.3 2.2 KZLA-FM 2.3 2.3 20. KYSR-FM 2.2 2.9 21. KLAC-AM 2.1 2.1 22. KKGO-FM 1.9 1.4 23. KRLA-AM 1.7 1.0 KXEZ-FM 1.7 1.9 25. KSCA-FM 1.4 1.0
The ratings survey covers people 12 and older listening between 6 a.m. and midnight, from June 22 through Sept. 13.