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KOST-FM Rides the Soft Wave to the Top

October 04, 1989|CLAUDIA PUIG | Times Staff Writer

Easy-listening "soft hits" have supplanted teen dance music as Los Angeles' most popular radio format, with KPWR-FM "Power 106" losing its two-year stranglehold on the No. 1 position to KOST-FM (103), the Arbitron ratings showed Tuesday.

KPWR (105.5) dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 and KOST moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 in the ratings survey, which covered the 12-week period from June 22 to Sept. 13.

"We're ecstatic," KOST program director Jhani Kaye said Tuesday. "This has been a dream come true for everyone on the staff for a long time. We did it the hard way--without teens."

KOST's audience is primarily in the 25-54 age group, Kaye said. He attributed the station's success to consistency.

"Most of the (on-air personalities) you hear on KOST-103 have been on the radio station since 1982 and the audience has gotten to know 'em and love 'em because they're nice people and it comes across on the air," Kaye said.

KOST garnered 6.8% of the listening audience during the ratings period, up from 6.1% during the preceeding quarter.

Following KOST was KIIS-FM (102.7) with a 6.4 share of the audience. The station, known for its Top 40 playlist and big-money giveaways, had dropped in the last ratings period from its consistent No. 1 and No. 2 positions over the past few years to No. 4, with a 4.9 share. KIIS' morning-drive show, with Rick Dees, emerged as the top-rated morning program in the latest survey, replacing KPWR's Jay Thomas, who dropped dramatically from first to sixth.

"Basically I think that the last (ratings) book was a fluke and we had a wobble and we're back to where we're supposed to be," said KIIS promotions director Karen Tobin.

Finishing second behind Dees in the competitive morning ratings were the KLOS-FM (95.5) comedy duo of Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps. Overall, KLOS came in at No. 7 in the ratings, inching up from No. 8 in the previous quarter.

KQLZ-FM (100.3) "Pirate Radio," which debuted only last March and quickly made its way into the top 10, climbed from No. 5 to No. 4 in the ratings, followed by easy-listening station KJOI-FM (98.7).

For the first time in several years, Los Angeles' top five radio stations were all music stations. Perennial talk-radio favorite KABC-AM (790) fell from No. 2 in the previous quarter to No. 6.

One of the more significant ratings jumps this quarter was one by oldies station KODJ-FM (93.1), a relative newcomer that debuted earlier this year. It jumped from No. 19 to No. 15.

The ratings, which are based on information recorded by listeners in a personal diary over a seven-day period, do not take into account the most recent changes in local radio programming that occurred in mid-September. On Sept. 20, 58-year-old classical station KFAC-FM (92.3) was replaced by the urban rock format of KKBT-FM. Two days earlier, KKGO-FM (105.1) began adding classical music to what had been an all-jazz format. Here are the area's top 10 stations, followed by their ratings for the most recent summer quarter and the preceding spring quarter, as measured by Arbitron. One share point is said by Arbitron to represent about 10,000 listeners per average quarter-hour.

Summer Spring 1.KOST-FM 6.8 6.1 2.KIIS-FM 6.4 4.9 3.KPWR-FM 6.1 7.1 4.KQLZ-FM 5.5 4.3 5.KJOI-FM 4.6 4.1 6.KABC-AM 4.3 5.2 7.KLOS-FM 4.1 3.8 8.KBIG-FM 3.6 4.3 9.KLVE-FM 3.2. 1.8 10.KFWB-AM 3.1 3.0

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