Radio Waves: February 4, 2022

Holiday Season Ratings

As per usual, the holiday ratings season was especially kind to KOST (103.5 FM) … for years LA’s “official” holiday station. Sure others have tried to steal the station’s Christmas thunder, but none have thus far succeeded … and KOST once again walked away with the top-spot by a long shot, earning a 13.4 share of the ratings for the holiday period covering roughly the last four weeks of 2021. This was almost three times the 4.4 share earned by second-place KRTH (101.1 FM). 

Interestingly, the 13.4 was slightly down from the same period in 2020, when KOST earned a whopping 13.9. But it was still a remarkable feat, and the slight decline — well within the typical margin of error — is likely due to supply chain problems. Yes, that was a joke. 

The only other full-time holiday station in town, which got a much later start with the music than did KOST, was Go Country 105. It’s an interesting competition, but Go Country just can’t get the huge numbers KOST does, and was in 18th place with a 2.1 share. Is that bad? Well, not really. The 2.1 is in line with Go Country’s normal ratings, and Holiday 2021 was about a half point above the station’s Holiday 2020 share of 1.5 … perhaps it’s beginning to catch on. I personally like the extra choice.

As stated, KRTH was in second place at 4.4; right behind was KLVE (107.5 FM) at 4.3, My FM KBIG (104.3 FM) at 4.2, and rounding out the top-5, The Wave KTWV (94.7 FM) at 3.9. Funny thing about the way … I think their slogan should be along the lines of “always just minutes away from a Michael Jackson song.” But I digress.

Alt 98.7 was the top-rated alternative rock station with a 2.2 share, handily beating KROQ’s 1.5 and adding fuel to the rumor of KROQ sliding into an active rock format. This would actually be a good move for KROQ, as alternative is somewhat of a dying format and very restrictive in what can be played. Active rock encompasses alternative, but is open to far more … and is closer to what made KROQ “world famous” in the first place. It will be interesting to see if the rumor becomes reality.

Adding an FM signal to KNX (1070 AM, 97.1 FM) didn’t help attract a larger audience, at least not yet. The station earned a 2.8 share, up slightly from the previous month’s 2.6, but down from the month before that, when it had a 2.9. Last year during the holiday season it had a 3.2. Make of that what you want, but I still believe in AM radio, and I just can’t help think that it is the content that drives listening more than the band … I am still not convinced that news on FM will be any more popular than on AM. Time will tell.

KFI (640 AM) was the top talker once again, something it has been able to claim for years. Decades, actually. 8th place with a 3.0 share, compared with KEIB’s (1150 AM) 1.1 KRLA’s (870 AM) 1.0, or KABC’s (790 AM) 0.7. Sports talkers KLAC (570 AM) and KSPN (710 AM) earned shares of 1.1 and 0.6, respectively. Outside of KFI, every one of the talk and sports-formatted stations earned better ratings playing music. In some cases, not that long ago.

The one surprise? I can’t find satellite syndicated Christian rocker KKLQ (100.3 FM) … it’s gone, ratings-wise. Last year it was tied for 16th with a 2.1 share of the ratings; this year it’s just … gone. Weird.

Each rating is an estimate of the percentage of listeners aged 6 and over tuned to a station between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight, as determined by Nielsen.

1. KOST (13.4) 2. KRTH (4.4) 3. KLVE (4.3) 4. My FM KBIG (4.2) 5. The Wave KTWV (3.9) 6. KIIS-FM (3.6) 7. KLAX (3.1) 8. KFI (3.0) 9. KRCD, KSCA (2.9)

11. KNX (2.8) 12. Real 92.3 KRRL (2.6) 13. Jack KCBS-FM, KLYY, KXOL (2.5) 16. KBUE, Alt 98.7 KYSR (2.2) 18. Go Country KKGO (2.1) 19. KLOS, KPCC, Power 106 KPWR (1.9)

22. KJLH, KLLI, KUSC, (1.8) 25. KCRW, KROQ (1.5) 27. KDAY (1.4) 28. KEIB, KLAC (1.1) 30. KDLD, KKJZ, KRLA (1.0)

33. KFWB (0.9) 34. KABC, 88.5 FM KCSN, The Fish KFSH (0.7) 37. KSPN, KWIZ (0.6) 39. KKLA, KPFK, KTNQ (0.2) 42. KHJ, KTWV Stream, KWKW (0.1)

(Ratings are © 2022 Nielsen. May not be quoted or reproduced without prior written permission from Nielsen.)

HD Changes at 105.1 FM

Classical and oldies have changed places on the digital HD stream, something you may want to note if you own an HD Radio.  Effective immediately, the simulcast of classical music heard on KMZT (1260 AM) is found on 105.1 HD2, while oldies on K-Surf are on HD4. Sinatra remains on HD3, and all of the online streams remain the same as well.

Why the switch? From a technical standpoint, it doesn’t really matter – owner Saul Levine and his engineering staff have always been able to get good sound out of the limited digital bandwidth, even splitting out among four station streams. It likely has more to do with making the classical music easier to find on HD radios. Again, the online streams won’t change, nor will any station heard through smartphone apps.

There are minor changes to the K-Surf playlist, however. The focus will remain on music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but you may hear some more current music … “if it fits the feel of the station,” says Levine.