Radio Waves: 10/11/13

September Ratings

For the most part, whenever I report on the latest Los Angeles radio ratings, things are pretty much the same. The top stations for the past few years (decade???) have essentially been KIIS-FM, KOST, KFI, KRTH and a few others. 

Today it’s still pretty much the same, with one exception. And for the life of me, I cannot figure out why one station that has been solid for almost as long as I have been writing this column is suddenly dropping like, well, flies.

That station is KFI. For years, the station has been the one station proving that AM can still compete. Yet, while I feel AM still can, KFI itself is having some issues. Consider:

• Since hitting a recent peak in the ratings for listeners aged 6 and over in March with a 4.2 share of the audience, the station has dropped in the most recent ratings – September – to a 2.8, a loss of 33 percent.

• For listeners aged 25-34, out of every show rated during the day, there has been a decline since January of 2013. Only Bill Handel’s morning show saw an increase since January, from 3.3 to 3.5.

• For Men aged 18 and over, the results were similar, with Handel being the only increase (5.9 from 5.5) since January; Limbaugh’s show saw a drop of over 2 points: 4.0 from January’s 6.2 and February’s 6.8.

• The dropoff in women aged 18 and over was even more dramatic with every daypart down compared with January, some cut as much as half.

What’s going on? Certainly listeners are not moving over to KABC … their ratings are flat at 0.7, about where they have settled over the past few months. Not to the sports talk stations either, with KLAC up and KSPN down compared with the same period. Considering the format, I doubt they switched to Spanish station KLAX, one of the few stations to show a large increase of about a point since January. Could still be a fluke, but I bet management is a little nervous.

It would appear, then, that they have dispersed to numerous stations, which brings up a related question: why? What has changed so much that a station perennially in the top five suddenly finds itself tied for 13th? Certainly that is not a bad position compared with others, and I most certainly am not trying to pick on the station (as an AM fan I actually want it to do well), but something is amiss and I can’t figure it out. It’s as if nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed. 

In other moves, KIIS-FM dominated with a 5.9 share, up a half point since August, KBIG dropped 0.2 to second at 5.7, and Amp Radio — starring local boy Kevin Schatz overnights — came in third holding steady at 4.5. 

KLOS reversed a downward slide with a nice increase over just last month: 2.3 from 2.0; KRTH moved up almost as much to 3.9 from 3.5, and The Wave might have just saved itself from extinction by jumping 0.3 to 3.3, which is 0.7 higher than it was in July.

The full story: Each rating is an estimate of the percentage of listeners aged 6 and over tuned to a station between the hours of 6 AM and 12 midnight, as determined by Nielsen (formerly Arbitron):

1. KIIS-FM (5.9) 2. KBIG (5.7) 3. KAMP (4.5) 4. KOST (4.1) 5. KPWR (4.0) 6. KLVE, KRTH (3.9) 8. KLAX (3.7) 9. KROQ, KTWV (3.3)

11.KHHT (3.2) 12. KSCA (3.0) 13. KFI, KRCD (2.8) 15. KKGO, KNX (2.5) 17. KCBS-FM, KYSR (2.4) 19. KLOS (2.3) 20. KBUE, KPPC (2.2)

22. KSWD (2.0) 23. KUSC (1.8) 24. KFSH, KLYY, KXOL (1.4) 27. KDAY (1.3) 28. KJLH, KLAC (1.2) 30. KHJ, KSPN (1.1)

32. KCRW (1.0) 33. KDLD, KWIZ (0.9) 35. KSSW (0.8) 36. KABC (0.7) 37. KKJZ, KXOS (0.6) 39. KFWB, KTNQ (0.4)

41. KRLA (0.3) 42. KCEL, KLAA, KTLK (0.2) 45. KCAQ, KGMX, KPFK, XEWW (0.1).