He may be a long shot in the race for governor of New York, but Howard Stern definitely is in command of Los Angeles morning radio, according to the latest Arbitron ratings survey released Tuesday.
The ribald radio personality--heard on KLSX-FM (97.1) and in 15 other markets around the country--had been in the top spot early last year, then dropped to second place last summer, coming in behind Juan Carlos Hidalgo and El Peladillo (Jesus Garcia), the morning team on Spanish-radio phenomenon KLAX-FM (97.9). Stern had remained in second place until this survey, which covered the period from Jan. 6 through March 30.
"Now Stern is (on top) in all languages," KLSX program director Ken Anthony said Tuesday. "We're very pleased to see Howard take outright No. 1 in mornings."
Following Stern during the key morning period--when the radio audience is at its largest as people head for work and school--was the KABC-AM (790) team of Ken Minyard and Roger Barkley, with KLAX's Hidalgo and Garcia in third place.
Despite the morning drop, KLAX retains its almost 2-year-old lead for the full broadcast day, attracting, on average, 5.6% of the audience over the age of 12. With its upbeat format of banda and ranchera music and its broad appeal to young, middle-aged and older Latinos, KLAX has established itself as the most successful Spanish-language station in Los Angeles history and the first Spanish station ever to take the lead and keep it.
The top 10 stations overall remained very similar to the last survey period, with the notable exception of all-talk KABC, which jumped from 11th place to a tie for fifth.
Two stations tied for second place: KOST-FM (103.5)--which before the advent of KLAX had been coasting in the top spot--and hip-hop station KPWR-FM (105.9), which evidently was not hurt by its decision earlier this year to drop some popular rap songs that station executives felt had derogatory or offensive lyrics.
Talk station KFI-AM (640) came in fourth overall, followed by competitor KABC in a tie with alternative rock station KROQ-FM (106.7).
KIIS-FM (102.7) and AM (1150) dropped to seventh overall and its morning show starring Rick Dees was in fourth place.
Two other noteworthy ratings jumps involved the stations that tied for 11th place: Spanish rock station KLVE-FM (107.5), which in the previous three months had been 17th, and KCBS-FM (93.1), which changed its format last September from a broad range of oldies to "all rock 'n' roll oldies" and previously was 13th.
For almost a decade, KCBS (formerly KODJ-FM and KNX-FM) had appeared to be doomed with low ratings, but the station's luck has turned around with the retooling of its format. KCBS challenged and beat classic rock station KLSX (97.1)--which dropped from seventh to 14th place, despite the ascendancy of Stern--and also edged out veteran rock station KLOS-FM (95.5), now in the 16th spot. KLOS has experienced a dramatic drop in the past year, having been in seventh place last spring.
KLOS' morning team of Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps--who had been in the No. 1 spot for several years before Stern and KLAX came on the scene--were in fifth place.
The area's Top 15 stations and their Arbitron ratings for the winter quarter and the preceding fall quarter:
FALL WINTER 1. KLAX-FM 7.0 5.6 2. KPWR-FM 4.8 4.7 KOST-FM 4.4 4.7 4. KFI-AM 4.3 4.5 5. KABC-AM 3.0 3.8 KROQ-FM 4.2 3.8 7. KIIS-FM/AM 4.2 3.7 8. KRTH-FM 3.4 3.5 9. KBIG-FM 3.2 3.4 10. KKBT-FM 3.4 3.3 11. KCBS-AM 2.8 3.2 KLVE-FM 2.5 3.2 13. KFWB-AM 2.7 3.0 14. KLSX-FM 3.5 2.9 KTNQ-AM 2.9 2.9
The ratings survey covers the period from Jan. 6 though March 30, 1994, and reflects the listening habits of those over age 12 listening for 15-minute periods between 6 a.m. and midnight.