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KFI talks itself back down to 8th

AM station's reign atop the Arbitron rankings doesn't last. KLVE-FM has No. 1 spot to itself.

October 17, 2006|Lee Margulies | Times Staff Writer

The return of AM radio to the top of the local ratings was short-lived.

Three months after vaulting into a tie for first place -- the first time in nearly 20 years that an AM station had finished there -- KFI-AM (640) found itself tied for eighth Monday in the Arbitron rankings for summer. The talk station attracted an average of 3.7% of the audience in Los Angeles and Orange counties between June 29 and Sept. 20, compared to the 4.8% it had registered in the spring.

KLVE-FM (107.5), which had been tied with KFI then, had the No. 1 spot all to itself this time -- and three other Spanish-language stations also finished among the top seven. KSCA-FM (101.9) -- like KLVE, owned by Univision -- finished second, powered by the dominating performance of its weekday morning show.

Top 40 station KIIS-FM (102.7) was the top-rated English-language outlet, finishing third overall in the survey of listeners 12 and older. Rocker KROQ-FM (106.7) and hip-hop KPWR-FM (105.9) tied for fifth.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 20, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 70 words Type of Material: Correction
Radio ratings: An article in Tuesday's Calendar section about the Arbitron radio ratings said that KROQ-FM's "Kevin and Bean Show" was the top English-language program on weekdays between 6 and 10 a.m., followed by Bill Handel of KFI-AM. It should have said it was followed by KFI's combination of Bill Handel (who is on from 5 to 9 a.m.) and Rush Limbaugh (who is on from 9 a.m. to noon).

Robin Bertolucci, KFI's program director, said she wasn't surprised by the station's downturn. "That's very typical for summer," she said, noting that talk radio generally isn't as strong then, when many of its adult listeners are on vacation and music stations get a boost from teenagers who are out of school. KPWR, for example, saw its audience share jump from 3.1 in the spring to 3.8 in the summer, while KIIS and KROQ registered smaller gains.

"I never like to go down, but I'm aware of where we live and I'm not concerned about it," Bertolucci said.

She also took comfort in the fact that KFI continued to show a commanding lead over its principal rivals, talk stations KABC-AM (17th place), KRLA-AM (tied for 32nd) and KTLK-AM (tied for 35th) and news outlets KNX-AM (tied for 19th) and KFWB-AM (tied for 24th).

Country music fans who were upset at being jilted when KZLA-FM (93.9) switched to a pop format may get some satisfaction at seeing the renamed KMVN-FM's first ratings: a 1.2% share of audience, down from the previous quarter's 1.7%, putting it in a tie for 29th place with classical outlet KMZT-FM (105.1). But the change occurred a few weeks into the summer survey period, well before the station's new morning host, Rick Dees, started a few weeks ago.

The most popular host in the important morning-drive time period this summer, by a wide margin, was KSCA's Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, who attracted an amazing 7.2% of the audience on weekdays between 6 and 10 a.m. KLVE's "Omar and Argelia" and KLAX's former No. 1 morning man, Renan Almendarez Coello ("El Cucuy"), tied for second with a 4.9% share.

KROQ's "Kevin and Bean Show" was the top English-language morning program, finishing fourth with 4.6% of the audience. They were followed by Bill Handel of KFI and Ryan Seacrest of KIIS.

Although it only registered 12th in the overall ratings, the "Jack FM" music programming of KCBS-FM (93.1) was No. 1 among English-language stations in the competition for listeners age 25 to 54, a key demographic for many advertisers.

"We work very hard here to achieve that success; we're very happy," said Jeff Federman, general manager at KCBS and KROQ. The latter station trailed only KCBS and KIIS in the 25-54 ratings among English-language stations, while KLVE, KSCA, KLAX-FM (97.9) and KBUE-FM (105.5) topped them all.

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lee.margulies@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Radio Ratings

The area's top 25 stations and their average share of audience as measured by Arbitron for the summer months, compared with the previous three-month period.

*--* Current Last Quarter 1 KLVE-FM 5.0 4.8 2 KSCA-FM 4.9 4.6 3 KIIS-FM 4.8 4.6 4 KLAX-FM 3.9 3.5 5 KBUE-FM 3.8 3.1 KROQ-FM 3.8 3.7 KPWR-FM 3.8 3.1 8 KFI-AM 3.7 4.8 KXOL-FM 3.7 2.6 10 KTWV-FM 3.6 4.3 11 KOST-FM 3.3 3.6 12 KCBS-FM 3.2 3.1 13 KHHT-FM 3.0 2.7 14 KRCD-FM 2.6 3.3 15 KLOS-FM 2.4 2.3 KRTH-FM 2.4 2.7 17 KABC-AM 2.0 2.2 18 KSSE-FM 1.9 2.1 19 KYSR-FM 1.8 1.4 KNX-AM 1.8 1.5 21 KBIG-FM 1.7 1.9 22 KJLH-FM 1.5 1.5 KKBT-FM 1.5 1.6 24 KHJ-AM 1.4 0.9 KFWB-AM 1.4 1.4

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The ratings survey covers people 12 and older listening between 6 a.m. and midnight, June 29 to Sept. 20.

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