106's staying power

Special to The Times

Rap outlet KPWR-FM (105.9) widened its lead as the Southland's top radio station, placing first in the ratings for the third straight quarter, while Christmas came early to KOST-FM (103.5), and so did listeners, according to the fall Arbitron ratings released Wednesday.

KPWR, known as Power 106, grabbed 5.4% of the audience age 12 and older, up from 5.1% in the summer, according to the survey that chronicled listeners' choices from Sept. 19 to Dec. 11.

Meanwhile, KOST, which saw a ratings bump when it began playing wall-to-wall Christmas music in November 2001, got the same results in 2002. The station, which switched from adult contemporary to all-carols, all-the-time, from mid-November through Christmas, climbed from sixth place in the summer to a tie for third in the fall, boosting its audience share from 3.4% to 3.9%.

Alternative rocker KROQ-FM (106.7) remained in second place overall, but its audience share slipped from 4.9% to 4.4% from summer to fall.

And Spanish-language station KSCA-FM (101.9) rebounded from dismal summer numbers, rising to third place from eighth, increasing its audience share from 3.2% to 3.9%.

It led similar gains by the area's other Spanish stations, whose numbers dropped precipitously in the summer. Station executives blamed the decline on an aberration with the survey, and Arbitron admitted that its sample audience of Latino listeners included more English speakers than usual. They tuned into a higher percentage of English-language stations than their counterparts in previous surveys, to the detriment of the Spanish outlets. Arbitron promised to tweak its screening process to ensure the problem doesn't happen again.

The gains by Power 106 reflect the growing popularity and acceptance of rap and hip-hop, a phenomenon highlighted by the Grammy Award nominations earlier this week, which featured strong showings by KPWR regulars Eminem and Nelly. For the first time, two rap records, "The Eminem Show" and "Nellyville," received album of the year nominations. The former was the best-selling album of 2002, while the soundtrack to Eminem's semi-autobiographical movie debut, "8 Mile," was fifth in sales for the year.

In the battle for morning drive-time listeners, KSCA's Renan Almendarez Coello, known as "El Cucuy," maintained his grip on the top spot, garnering 6.8% of the area's audience from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays. That's an increase from the 6% he had in the summer, but still far below the 7.9% share of the audience he held in the spring.

The English-language morning shows fell in behind Coello. KPWR's Big Boy rose from fifth place in the summer to return to the No. 3 spot he held in the spring, taking 3.8% of the audience, while comedian Steve Harvey on KKBT-FM (100.3) regained his longtime position as the top English-language morning show, taking 5% of the audience. KROQ's Kevin & Bean fell a notch to fourth, going from 5% of the audience to 4.7%. And Bill Handel at talk station KFI-AM (640) fell from second to fifth as his audience share plunged from 5.5% in the summer to 4.3% in the fall.

KFI also dropped overall, falling from fourth to a sixth-place tie with KKBT "The Beat." KFI's audience share declined from 4.5% to 3.6%. Rival talk station KABC-AM (790) also dipped, falling three spots to 17th as its audience share declined from 2.5% to 2.4%, while FM talker KLSX (97.1) boosted its numbers, rising from 18th to 15th as its audience increased from 2.3% to 2.5%.

The area's two all-news stations both gained a few listeners from the summer. KNX-AM (1070) increased its audience from 2.1% to 2.2%, nudging it from 21st to 18th place. And although KFWB-AM (980) dropped from 24th to 25th place, it gained in audience share, increasing from 1.6% to 1.8%.


Radio ratings

The area's Top 25 stations and their average share of audience as measured by Arbitron for the final quarter of 2002 compared with the previous three-month period.

*--* Current Last Quarter 1 KPWR-FM 5.4 5.1 2 KROQ-FM 4.4 4.9 3 KSCA-FM 3.9 3.2 KOST-FM 3.9 3.4 KIIS-FM 3.9 4.6 6 KFI-AM 3.6 4.5 KKBT-FM 3.6 3.3 8 KTWV-FM 3.4 3.6 KLVE-FM 3.4 3.0 10 KRTH-FM 3.1 3.2 11 KLAX-FM 2.9 2.3 12 KBUE-FM 2.7 2.6 13 KHHT-FM 2.6 2.5 KBIG-FM 2.6 2.2 15 KLSX-FM 2.5 2.3 KXOL-FM 2.5 1.9 17 KABC-AM 2.4 2.5 18 KNX-AM 2.2 2.1 19 KCBS-FM 2.1 2.4 KYSR-FM 2.1 2.6 21 KMZT-FM 2.0 2.0 KLOS-FM 2.0 2.7 23 KJLH-FM 1.9 1.5 KZLA-FM 1.9 2.4 25 KFWB-AM 1.8 1.6


The ratings survey covers people 12 and older listening between 6 a.m. and midnight, from Sept. 19 to Dec. 11

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