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Steve Harvey's Show Jumps to No. 2 in Ratings

Radio * Comic strengthens morning position, but Spanish-language KSCA reclaims top spot overall.

April 24, 2001|DANA CALVO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The "Beat" is the one to beat--at least in the mornings. Arbitron ratings released Monday for the winter quarter showed comic Steve Harvey and his morning show on KKBT-FM (100.3) jumping to No. 2 among all stations in the Los Angeles-Orange County radio market, and to the top spot among English-language competitors during the critical morning drive time of 6-10 a.m. weekdays.

Barely six months into Harvey's stint at the station, he has more than doubled the ratings of a year ago, with a 4.8% audience share and a cumulative weekly listening audience of more than 643,000.

"Steve's a superstar. He and the morning show have taken L.A. by storm," said KKBT vice president and general manager Nancy Leichter. "We believe 'The Beat' is on its way back to reclaiming the dominate position that we held for many, many years here."

Even competitor Roy Laughlin, co-market manager of the eight L.A.-area Clear Channel stations--a position that includes oversight of KIIS-FM (102.7), which landed at No. 2 overall and No. 1 among English-language stations--termed Harvey's impact as "massive."

Meanwhile, for executives at KSCA-FM (101.9), all is right in the world again. The Spanish-language radio station has regained its long-held overall top spot in the market, after slipping to fourth place last fall.

"We're encouraged," said Don Davis, vice president of programming for Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., a Dallas-based company that owns KSCA and more Spanish-language radio stations than any other company in the country. "One of the big gainers was Renan Almendarez Coello, our morning guy. We believe he's the straw that stirs the drink."

Almendarez, a fast-talking deejay during morning drive time, is the undisputed star of the Spanish-language market here.

Last fall, KSCA's general manager, Gary Stone, blamed Arbitron's poor bookkeeping for the aberration in ratings, but an Arbitron spokesman disputed the theory.

Another L.A. Spanish-language property is KLVE-FM (107.5), which plays romantic music. The station tied for second place in the market with KIIS after occupying the No. 1 spot last quarter. Davis said the station's programming won't change because it effectively targets Latino listeners ages 25-54 with softer, easy tunes.

On the heels of KIIS in the race for dominance of the English-language market overall was KROQ-FM (106.7), which landed in third place, just a hair behind KIIS, which kept its tenth-of-a-point ratings margin (4.6 to 4.5) thanks to its simulcast with KVVS-FM.

"The margins of victory any more are very, very narrow. The numbers become condensed as there are more competitors in the marketplace," Laughlin said. "As narrow as those margins have become, the simulcast [with KVVS] has become more important."

The other new comic on the scene, George Lopez, who took over the morning show at KCMG-FM (92.3) in November, has helped his station move its morning ratings to the 18th spot from 20th in the fall quarter, but the "Mega" station is running a bit below last year overall, averaging 2% of the audience compared to 2.1% for the same period in 2000. Still, most in the market expect Lopez to build over time.

News station KNX-AM (1070), which saw an increase in its ratings due to the extended presidential election last fall, managed to build on its position, moving up again to No. 13 in the market from its previous spot at No. 15. Its morning drive ratings ranked No. 6--better than Howard Stern's showing on KLSX-FM (97.1).

Meanwhile, the change by KRLA-AM (1110) from talk to all-sports outlet KSPN-AM in December seems to have been a good one. The station moved to 28th in the market from 32nd last fall, and has more than doubled its ratings when compared to a year ago with a 1.3 share of market this winter versus a .5 share in 2000.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Radio Ratings

The area's Top 25 stations and their average share of audience as measured by Arbitron for the winter months compared with the fall quarter of the year:

*--*

CURRENT LAST QUARTER 1. KSCA-FM 4.8 4.3 2. KIIS/KVVS-FM 4.6 4.8 KLVE-FM 4.6 4.9 4. KROQ-FM 4.5 4.4 5. KPRW-FM 3.9 4.3 6. KOST-FM 3.7 3.8 7. KKBT-FM 3.6 3.6 8. KTWV-FM 3.4 3.7 9. KRTH-FM 3.1 3.1 KFI-AM 3.1 3.0 11. KZLA-FM 2.9 2.6 12. KBUE-FM 2.8 2.5 13. KLOS-FM 2.7 2.6 KNX-AM 2.7 2.5 15. KYSR-FM 2.5 2.7 KBIG-FM 2.5 2.3 17. KCMG-FM 2.3 2.2 18. KCBS-FM 2.2 2.6 19. KLSX-FM 2.1 2.1 KLAX-FM 2.1 1.8 KFWB-AM 2.1 1.8 22. KABC-AM 1.8 2.3 23. KJLH-FM 1.7 1.5 24. KMZT-FM 1.6 1.3 KLYY-FM 1.6 1.4

*--*

The ratings survey covers people 12 and older listening between 6 a.m. and midnight as measured by Arbitron for winter 2001 as compared to the previous three-month period.

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