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Christmas songs bring holiday cheer to KOST

All-yule format helps the FM station climb from 11th place to fourth. KLVE remains in first.

January 11, 2007|Steve Carney | Special to The Times

SLEIGH bells rang; were you listening?

Enough people did to propel KOST-FM (103.5) to fourth place among local radio stations, after the adult-contemporary outlet switched to wall-to-wall holiday music on Nov. 17, according to the fall Arbitron ratings, released Wednesday.

It was the sixth consecutive year the station made the seasonal switch to all-Christmas music. Though the Frosty format was not as successful as in 2005, when it propelled the station to No. 1, it was still enough to boost KOST up from 11th place, according to the survey of Los Angeles and Orange County listeners from Sept. 21 to Dec. 13. KOST claimed 4.1% of the listening audience ages 12 and older, up from 3.3% in the summer.

Staying in first place from summer to fall was Spanish-language KLVE-FM (107.5), even though it took a slight dip from 5% to 4.9%. Rival KSCA-FM (101.9) stayed in second, dropping from 4.9% to 4.5% and tying pop station KIIS-FM (102.7), which had been third during the summer at 4.8%. Tying KOST at fourth, talk station KFI-AM (640) shook off its summer doldrums and garnered 4.1%, rebounding from an earlier eighth-place tie at 3.7%.

Also benefiting from adding Christmas music to its playlist was KRTH-FM (101.1), which sprinkled holiday chestnuts among its other oldies and shot from 2.4% to 3.1%, going from a 15th place tie up to 11th.

Another tradition of Southland airwaves returned during the quarter but fared about as well as Grandma versus the reindeer. Rick Dees made his debut on KMVN-FM (93.9) on Sept. 25 but claimed only .9% of the morning-radio audience. That's down from the summer, when the station's morning slot took 1.1% of the audience amid its transition from country-music outlet KZLA. Still, Dees fared better than the station as a whole, which dropped from 1.2% in the summer to .7%. He had been off the air since 2004, when KIIS dumped him after 23 years as the station's morning fixture.

The top morning host once again was Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo on KSCA, though his numbers fell somewhat after claiming an impressive 7.2% of listeners 6-10 a.m. in the summer. In the fall he garnered 6.5%, still well ahead of KFI's second-place tag-team of Bill Handel and Rush Limbaugh, who took 5% -- up from 4.5% and fifth place in the summer. Dropping from second to third was KLAX-FM (97.9) morning host Renan Almendarez Coello, "El Cucuy," who at 4.6% tied KIIS' Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest rose from sixth place and 4.3% in the summer. Kevin Ryder and Gene "Bean" Baxter on alternative station KROQ-FM (106.7) finished sixth, with 4.4%, down from fourth at 4.6%.

KABC-AM (790) joined rival talk station KFI in its resurgence, finishing 15th with 2.5% of the audience, after placing 17th in the summer with 2%. Meanwhile, news station KNX-AM (1070) fell from 20th place at 1.8% to 1.4% in the fall, while sister station KFWB-AM (980) also dipped, going from 1.4% to 1.3% from summer to fall.

A big beneficiary of KZLA's identity change was KFRG-FM (95.1). So many Southland listeners sought out the Inland Empire country station that its audience share leaped from .5% in the summer to 1.1% in the fall.

KKBT-FM (100.3) finished its last ratings book as "The Beat" with 1.1%, tied for 28th place. The urban adult-contemporary station changed names Dec. 29 -- becoming KRBV "V-100" -- and installed its fourth morning host in two years, in hopes of pulling out of the nose dive that has seen the former Top Five station drop from 2.4% a year ago and 3% two years ago.

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