FM pop station KIIS and AM talk outlet KFI maintain top spots

In the battle for radio ratings, pop station KIIS and talk outlet KFI refused to budge as kings of their respective columns — each claimed exactly the same share of the Los Angeles-Orange County audience in July as they held the previous month, according to figures released Monday.

Meanwhile, after a slow start, morning-radio veteran Rick Dees increased his following at urban oldies station KHHT-FM (92.3), where he took over a.m. drive on May 4.

With more than 4 million people tuning in for at least five minutes a week, KIIS-FM (102.7) led the overall July ratings, grabbing on average 5.4% of all listeners aged 6 and older — the same share it held in May and June, according to Arbitron. And, also for the third straight month, KFI-AM (640) and adult-contemporary station KOST-FM (103.5) placed second and third, respectively, according to the survey of listening habits from June 23 to July 20.

KFI took the top spot in the crucial morning-drive time slot, from 6-10 a.m. weekdays, when broadcasters hope to snare listeners for the rest of the day. KFI, which at that time airs local host Bill Handel and then the first hour of Rush Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated program, attracted 7.3% of the morning audience — just as it did in June. Ryan Seacrest on KIIS repeated his second-place finish from June, but increased his audience share from 4.3% to 4.9%.


For 23 years, Dees was the morning host at KIIS, until the station replaced him with Seacrest in 2004. Dees initially struggled at his latest gig, KHHT. The station’s morning numbers declined from 14th place and 2.5% in April, the last month before Dees came on board, to 19th place and 2.3% in June, his first full month on the job. But in July, the onetime fixture at KIIS finished 13th, with a 3% audience share. The previous high for the KHHT morning show had been 2.6% in April 2010.

“I still feel like it’s building,” said John Ivey, Los Angeles programming head for Clear Channel, the radio chain that owns KHHT, KIIS, KOST, KFI and four other stations in the market. “Believe it or not, it does take a while. It has to get around that he’s back.”

The station’s overall numbers rose, as well. KHHT improved from 11th in June to a three-way tie for sixth. It was the highest monthly finish for “Hot 92.3" since the station placed sixth in January 2010.

Ivey said the station as a whole has been buoyed by Dees’ success — “the QB on the morning show is always really important, " he said — as well as some tweaks KHHT made to its playlist about the same time Dees arrived, such as cutting back on new songs in favor of oldies.


Spanish-language pop station KLVE-FM (107.5), after vaulting to third place in the morning in June, dropped back to almost the same spot it held in May. The station, which features the team of Omar Velasco and Argelia Atilano, fell to a 3.5% audience share in July — good for a sixth-place tie with alternative-music outlet KROQ-FM (106.7).