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Spanish-Language Radio Gains Market Share


Spanish-language radio gained substantial market share in Los Angeles and Orange counties in the spring quarter, driven by the top two stations in the market, the Arbitron ratings service reported Wednesday.

Spanish adult contemporary music station KLVE-FM (107.5) returned to first place, where it had been for the previous 27 months, and sister station KSCA-FM (101.9), playing Mexican regional music, fell back to second.

From April 2 to June 24, the two stations accounted for 12.1% of the overall audience age 12 and over between 6 a.m. and midnight. In the previous quarter they had a 10.7% share. KLVE moved up a full percentage point, to 6.3%, while KSCA, which was in first place last time, went from a 5.4% share to 5.8%.

Overall, the eight Spanish-language stations in the market (out of 47 that Arbitron monitors), went from a 20.5% to a 22.4% share of the audience. The share is the percentage of the listening audience that tunes in for at least five minutes in any continuous 15-minute period.

"This is an absolute home run for us," said Richard Heftel, president and general manager of KLVE and of Spanish news, talk and sports station KTNQ-AM (1020), as well as manager of "La Nueva" programming for KSCA. He said the stations have responded to what listeners want. "I credit it to implementation of research," he said. Also, "Arbitron might be doing a better job in polling bilingual Hispanics."

Another Mexican regional music station, KLAX-FM (97.9), inched higher to 3.5%, from eighth to sixth place, while KTNQ went from 1.8% and 24th place to 2.2% and a tie for 20th place.

The news was also good for an English-language station with a mostly Latino audience. KCMG-FM (100.3), which began playing R&B oldies in November, aimed mainly at Latinas, moved up for the second quarter in a row to 3.1% and 12th place. Last fall under its old dance music format, it had been at 1.4% and tied for 25th place.

Tied for third place and top position in English-language radio are hip hop music station KPWR-FM (105.9) and talk station KFI-AM (640), both with a 3.9% share of the audience. KPWR had 4% last time, but KFI dropped from 4.4%.

Faring better than last time, talk station KABC-AM (790) moved out of the basement at 2.6%--the lowest it had been in three years--to 2.9% and a 13th-place tie. Indeed, it was the only major general market talk station to go up. KLSX-FM (97.1) fell from 2.4% and 18th place to 2.2% and a 20th-place tie.

In the highly competitive morning drive arena from 6 to 10 a.m., KSCA's Renan Almendarez Coello got an even better hold on first place, moving up from a 7.3% share to 8.1%. KLVE's Pepe Baretto, still in second place, had an even better leap from 5.6% to 6.8%. That placed Howard Stern on KLSX a distant third with 5.1%, while KFI--with three hours of Bill Handel and an hour of Rush Limbaugh--stayed in fourth place, dropping from 5% to 4.3%.

Among listeners 25 to 54 years old, which many advertisers target, KLVE and KSCA, which were tied last time at 6.8%, were in first and second place, with 7.8% and 6.6%, respectively. Smooth jazz station KTWV-FM (94.7) remained the top-rated English-language station in that demographic, with a 4.2% share.

With 1.5 million listeners, top 40 station KIIS-FM (102.7) ranked first in cumulative listening, holding the lead position for a full year, while KPWR was second with 1.4 million. This is the number of people who tune to the station for at least five continuous minutes during an average week of Arbitron's survey.


Times staff writer Kevin Baxter contributed to this report.


Radio Ratings

The Southland's top 26 stations and their Arbitron ratings for the spring quarter compared with the preceding three months of 1998:


Station Current Last qtr. KLVE-FM 6.3% 5.3% KSCA-FM 5.8 5.4 KPWR-FM 3.9 4.0 KFI-AM 3.9 KKBT-FM 3.8 3.9 KLAX-FM 3.5 3.4 KTWV-FM 3.3 3.3 KIIS-FM 3.3 3.8 KOST-FM 3.3 3.8 KROQ-FM 3.3 3.4 KRTH-FM 3.3 3.4 KCMG-FM 3.1 2.7 KABC-AM 2.9 2.6 KYSR-FM 2.9 2.9 KBIG-FM 2.6 3.0 KLOS-FM 2.6 2.3 KCBS-FM 2.4 2.5 KNX-AM 2.4 2.5 KZLA-FM 2.3 2.3 KTNQ-AM 2.2 1.8 KSLX-FM 2.2 2.4 KLAC-AM 2.2 2.2 KFWB-AM 1.9 2.1 KKGO-FM 1.9 1.9 KBUE-FM 1.6 1.7 KJLH-FM 1.5 1.2


Note: The survey covers people 12 and older listening between 6 a.m. and midnight, from April 2 through June 24.

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