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Once again, a big KIIS from Arbitron rankings

April 27, 2006|Martin Miller | Times Staff Writer

KIIS-FM (102.7) rode its Top 40 playlist and a robust morning drive-time show starring the seemingly ubiquitous Ryan Seacrest back to the top of the ratings in Los Angeles radio, according to Arbitron ratings released Wednesday.

The station was knocked from its No. 1 perch -- a position it held for two consecutive ratings periods -- last quarter by KOST-FM (103.5), which scored a huge ratings gain with its annual switch to holiday music. This quarter KIIS-FM drew 4.9% of the audience of listeners older than 12, while KOST-FM dropped to sixth place with 3.8%.

"KIIS is back in a big way," said John Ivey, vice president of programming for KIIS and the Clear Channel Los Angeles chain of stations. "Seacrest is our pilot."

Seacrest, probably best known nationally for hosting the smash television show "American Idol," attracted 5.1% of the morning audience in the 12-plus category, according to the winter Arbitron ratings, which covered the period from Jan. 5 to March 29.

KIIS just edged out a trio of Spanish-language stations stacked at the top of the overall rankings. KLVE-FM (107.5) posted a 4.8% for second, while KLAX-FM (97.9) and KSCA-FM (101.9) placed third and fourth with a 4.3 and a 4.2, respectively.

Radio stations weren't sure what to expect this period, since Arbitron tinkered with its methods in collecting audience data. The goal was to better reflect the listening in ethnic households, and the move was expected to benefit Spanish-language stations -- but few were clear by how much.

Early analysis shows that most Spanish-language stations saw modest gains but none more than KBUE-FM (105.5) and KRCD-FM (103.9). KBUE-FM leapt from 14th to seventh place overall, adding a whole point to its audience share, taking it from 2.6 to 3.6. KRCD-FM rocketed up from 20th place to ninth and upped its numbers from a 2.1 to a 3.4.

One station that didn't seem to benefit much from the revised system was KXOL-FM (96.3), which continued to fall in the ratings after rocketing to second place overall last summer when it switched to a reggaeton format. The station slid to 12th place this quarter with a 3.2% share.

This quarter was also being closely watched because it was the first time in years that Howard Stern had been absent from Los Angeles. The shock jock's top-rated morning show left terrestrial radio in December for satellite, raising questions about where his sizable audience might go.

Stern's East Coast replacement, David Lee Roth, was fired last week because of poor ratings. His West Coast counterpart, Adam Carolla, is having his own problems. His KLSX-FM (97.1) morning show didn't place in the top 20 for morning drive time in key demographics.

Powerhouse KFI-AM (640) ranked fifth overall with a 4.0% and stood out as the lone AM station in the top 15. Its morning show with Bill Handel ranked No. 1 among English-language stations in the 12 and older category with a 5.2%.

"Our morning numbers were phenomenal," said Robin Bertolucci, KFI's program director. "I think we saw that Howard's audience likes Bill and is sticking around."

Meanwhile, KCBS-FM, better known as JACK-FM, continued to prove doubters wrong, again flexing its muscle in the highly coveted English-language demographic of listeners ages 25 to 54, where it ranked first. The station jumped from a 4.0 to a 4.9.

"We're still humbled that the station has taken off the way it has and been able to stay at this level for over a year," said Jeff Federman, general manager at KCBS-FM. "We're working as hard today as the day we launched."

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Radio Ratings

The area's top 20 stations and their average share of audience as measured by Arbitron for the winter months compared with the previous three-month period.

*--* Current Last Quarter 1 KIIS/KVVS-FM 4.9 4.1 2 KLVE-FM 4.8 4.3 3 KLAX-FM 4.3 3.3 4 KSCA-FM 4.2 3.8 5 KFI-AM 4.0 4.0 6 KOST-FM 3.8 4.4 7 KBUE-FM 3.6 2.6 8 KROQ-FM 3.5 3.9 9 KRCD-FM 3.4 2.1 KCBS-FM 3.4 2.9 11 KTWV-FM 3.3 3.2 12 KXOL-FM 3.2 3.6 KPWR-FM 3.2 3.5 14 KRTH-FM 2.7 2.7 15 KSSE-FM 2.4 2.2 KHHT-FM 2.4 2.8 17 KABC-AM 2.3 2.4 18 KBIG-FM 2.1 2.3 19 KKBT-FM 1.9 2.4 KLOS-FM 1.9 2.1

*--*

The ratings survey covers people 12 and older listening between 6 a.m. and midnight, from Jan. 5 through March 29.

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