Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ratings Roundup Fall 2006: Part 2

In part one of this report, LTR analyzed how progressive talk radio stations did in in the recent Arbitron ratings book in the midwest. In this installment, you'll see how stations on the 'Left Coast' did.

KTLK in Los Angeles is still holding steady with a 0.8, up a tenth of a point from the Summer book. They are tied with Salem's conservotalk KRLA, ESPN's KSPN and KTNQ, a Spanish-language news/talk station. Los Angeles, like many other large markets, is a highly competitive market. The news/talk competition is very fierce, with even larger players such as CBS' Free FM affiliate KLSX and their two all-news stations (KCBS and KFWB) not very far ahead of KTLK. San Diego's KLSD is on the rise again after sliding a bit since last fall. In market #17, it moves up almost half a point to a 1.9 share.

Up the coast in Santa Barbara (market #211), KIST, which was recently sold to a local group, is doing very well, tied for 7th place overall with a 3.4 share. Further north, in San Luis Obispo (#172), KYNS, a well-run small market liberal talker that will soon add Mike Malloy to the lineup, holds steady tied for 16th place with a 1.7 share. KFPT in Fresno (#66), recently sold by CBS to local Peak Broadcasting, holds steady with a 1.0, no change since Summer, but more than double what they had last Fall. According to radio industry site AllAccess, KFPT could soon be sold again, with former general manager Chris Pacheco rumored as the buyer. Whether this sale will go through, or if this means a change in format remains to be seen (thanks for the tip, Jim).

In the Monterey Bay area (#80), a market whose sole dominant talk station is high-powered KGO, located roughly a hundred miles away in San Francisco, KRXA is relatively unchanged in the book, as it drops a tenth of a point to a 0.6. They are up a fifth of a point since last Fall. Low-powered KOMY, which carries a mash-up of several Air America Radio shows, infomercials, and whatever else, and recently switched to oldies, is a no-show in the book. Incidently, in response to my article from last week regarding KOMY and their format switch, I got an email from owner Michael Zwerling, which will be posted here shortly. Trust me, you don't want to miss this!

Speaking of the Bay Area, KGO maintains its two decade grip as the top overall station in the market with a rather centrist-leaning talk format. Liberal talker KQKE is tied at #26 overall in the San Francisco (#4) book, and holding at 1.1, which is just a tenth of a point lower than its conservative sister, KNEW. The Quake also has a 1.1 share in neighboring San Jose (#35). In the North Bay, the station has a very strong showing in the Santa Rosa (#119) book jumping all the way up to #12 overall, rising from a 1.0 in the Spring to a 2.5 for the Fall.

In the battle of the Sacramento (#27) liberal talk stations, KCTC, the Air America affiliate, drops slightly to a 0.8 share. KSAC, which airs a mostly liberal talk format, slides to the near bottom of the ranked stations with a 0.4.

The northwestern has been one of the strongest areas for the liberal talk format. Portland, OR (#23) is no exception. Since its debut almost three years ago, KPOJ has been one of the strongest stations in the format. Fall was especially good for them, as they rise all the way up to #5 with a gain of almost a full point, at a 3.7 share. In Seattle (#14), KPTK, a strong performer in some daypart breakdowns, holds at a 2.0 from the summer in this highly competitive talk market. They are down slightly in comparison to last fall. BlatherWatch, a Seattle talk radio blog, claims that conservotalk station KTTH got a huge boost in the recent book, thanks mostly to Rush Limbaugh, who doubled his local ratings from over a year ago (and I assume BlatherWatch's Michael Hood is using last fall as a comparison). Thom Hartmann, who had dominated the 9AM-Noon timeslot in comparison to all other area talk stations throughout the past year, dropped to #2 behind Limbaugh. Hartmann is still the most-listened to host on KPTK. Ed Schultz tied with Sean Hannity among all listeners in the recent Seattle book, though he did reportedly beat him in some demographic breakdowns. In general, conservotalk fared rather poorly in Seattle this past fall, with Limbaugh being the sole exception.

On the other side of the state, KPTQ in Spokane (#93) holds somewhat steady, rising from a 1.0 to a 1.3 share. In Eugene, OR (#150), KOPT continues its rollercoaster ride, from a 2.4 last fall to 3.4 this past spring and back down to a 1.9 for this past fall. Whether this has to do with the erratic nature of twice-yearly Arbitron ratings reports in small markets (in Duluth, MN, KQDS jumped from 0.9 to 2.1) is unknown.

In Anchorage, AK (#172), KUDO, which is owned and backed by IBEW Local 1547, comes in with a 1.3 share. KUMU in Honolulu (#63), which carries a hodgepodge of mostly delayed talk programming including Air America, Stephanie Miller, Schultz, and various non-political talk shows, rises slightly to grab a 0.7 share.

Coming soon, we'll give you the lowdown on other parts of the country. As always, stay tuned!


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