Ryan Seascrest's morning show lands at the top of the radio ratings. (Jordan Strauss / Invision…)
Pop station KIIS-FM (102.7) regained sole possession of first place in the local radio ratings for March, and its Ryan Seacrest-hosted morning show also jumped into the top spot, according to figures released by Arbitron.
In February, KIIS had been tied for first with sister station KBIG-FM (104.3), the soft-rock station known as "MyFM." And even though KBIG improved in March, increasing its share of the Los Angeles-Orange County audience from 5.4% to 5.5%, KIIS jumped even further and claimed 5.8% of all listeners ages 6 and older, Arbitron said Monday.
Adult-contemporary station KOST-FM (103.5) held on to third, even though it dipped from 4.8% to 4.6%.
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Top-40 station KAMP-FM (97.1) and talk station KFI-AM (640) rounded out the Top Five in overall rankings. The pair switched their respective positions from February, with KAMP increasing its audience share from 4.1% to 4.3%, while KFI slipped from 4.6% to 4.2%, based on the survey of listeners from Feb. 28 to March 27.
Morning drive, from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays, is a critical time slot in radio because so many people are listening while preparing for work or school, and broadcasters hope to capture and hold them, or at least their pre-set buttons, for the rest of the day. Seacrest and co-host Ellen K claimed first place there in March, jumping from 5.4% to 5.7%, and reclaiming the perch they held in January.
They displaced KFI, which during that stretch features local host Bill Handel and the first hour of Rush Limbaugh's national show — a combination that has enjoyed a near-permanent claim on the No. 1 position. March, when KFI dropped from 5.8% to 5.5% and slipped to second place, was only the fifth time in more than four years that KFI did not top the morning ratings. As recently as November, KFI led KIIS in morning drive by 7.5% to 5.1% — though that was during election season, prime fodder for the talk station. But this time last year, KFI won the morning race 7% to 4.3% over Spanish-language pop-music station KLVE-FM (107.5).
Meanwhile, KBIG continued its climb in the morning ratings, jumping from fifth to third since the beginning of the year. Host Sean Valentine and his show increased their audience share from 4.2% in January to 4.7% in February to 5% in March, the month in which it added co-host Liz Hernandez, E! News correspondent and former entertainment reporter for "Big Boy's Neighborhood," the morning show on rhythmic-hit station KPWR-FM (105.9).
KBIG tied February's third-place station, alternative rock outlet KROQ-FM (106.7), where hosts Kevin Ryder and Gene "Bean" Baxter increased their audience share from 4.9% to 5%.
Regional Mexican music station KLAX-FM (97.9) took fifth, with Ricardo "El Mandril" Sanchez and his program dipping from 4.1% in February to 3.9%.
Former fifth-place KOST, with its duo of Mark Wallengren and Kristin Cruz, fell further, dropping from 4.2% to 3.8% and into sixth place in the morning.
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