Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ratings Roundup Fall 2006: Part 3

Hello again! It's time for part 3 of the Ratings Roundup for this past fall's Arbitron ratings books. In the first two parts, we looked at the Midwest and the West Coast. Today, we'll look at how liberal talk fared in the mountain states and the south central part of the United States. The ratings cited, unless otherwise specified, are the overall numbers, reflecting all listeners ages 12 and older. These are the only ratings numbers released by Arbitron to the public. The more valuable numbers, the 'breakdowns' of daypart, gender, age and other demographics groups, are considered even more important, and are sold for rather large sums of money to subscribers.

Nova M Radio's KPHX is holding steady with a 0.7 in Phoenix (#15), a market filled with low-powered AM talk stations, in addition to a relatively new FM talker, KZON (Free FM) and a move of top-rated news station KTAR to FM. In Reno (#124), little 820 watt KJFK is doing well, holding at a 2.1 share, despite the lack of an online presence (the website's been under construction for over a year). They are currently the #2 overall talk station in the market, behind top-rated KKOH, the local Limbaugh/Hannity/Savage station, and ahead of sports talk KPLY, 'hot talk' sister KBZZ and FM conservotalker KKFT, which airs a FOX 'News'-branded format and the motto "Anybody But Hillary." They finish at the bottom of the ratings, ahead of only a couple little Spanish language stations. Nice. I could go on about how much of a colossal joke the FOX 'News' Radio network is, but I'll save it for another day, another article. Let's put it this way: The next time any nimble-minded wingnut ridicules Air America, you can easily shut them down by using these three words: FOX 'News' Radio. That should work.

In New Mexico, liberal talk is doing fairly well, with Albuquerque's (#70) KABQ jumps to a 1.8 for the fall book. And longtime liberal talk stalwart KTRC (which was an I.E. America affiliate years ago) has shown considerable growth as of late in Santa Fe (#236), rising to a 2.1 share, even without much promotion or a web presence. They have more than doubled their audience since last fall. Over the past few months, they have become more aggressive with their on-air lineup, recently adding Stephanie Miller's show to mornings, as angry Sam Seder fans furiously emailed LTR to voice their, umm, opinions.

KKZN is up in the Denver (#22) book with a 1.9, good for a tie for 16th place. In nearby Fort Collins (#124), the station is tied with conservative sister KHOW with a 1.2 share.

Down in Texas, liberal talk has struggled in the past six months, with stations in Dallas and San Antonio (actually, Victoria) either being sold or flipping to different formats. In El Paso (#76), a market who's residential makeup is roughly 81% Hispanic, Entravision-owned KHRO is hovering near the bottom of the ratings, with a 0.3 share. The station has virtually no local presence, and seems to just run the straight Air America Radio feed over it's expanded AM band signal (1630AM). Its website consists solely of a link to Air America Radio (hopefully they didn't pay a webmaster to do that). KCCT in Corpus Christi (#139) is dealing with many of the same issues. They are a no-show in the current book, have no internet presence, and don't really seem to care. Listeners have informed LTR that the station occasionally disrupts Air America programming to run a shopping show (or something loosely resembling a shopping show) during the weekday. To their credit, they do have a few local talkers, although they reportedly come off as a bit amateurish.

KOKE in Austin (#42) is a much better-run station, though its formerly three-station Texas Pro Radio network is no more, since KXEG in Dallas was sold off and KTXX-FM (which allegedly serves San Antonio but has a signal too far away to really make any kind of impression in the market) was flipped to a different format. The remaining station, KOKE, is holding steady at a 0.7, amid rumors of future changes, which reportedly will include more local liberal hosts being added to the schedule in place of Air America shows. A new website will debut soon in place of the one for the former Texas Pro Radio. Sister station KTXX, now carrying a Spanish-language music format, is a no-show in the San Antonio book, but the station's signal really doesn't hit the market well. It's more of a Victoria, TX station. In Houston, where there is no commercial liberal talk station, non-commercial Pacifica's KPFT registers a 0.5 share.

In New Orleans (#57), WSMB drops to a 0.5 share in a bratings period that saw a format change halfway through. In November, the station dropped progressive talk and became WWWL, currently airing reruns of shows from its sister station, the AM-FM simulcast of WWL.

Next time, we'll look at how liberal talk did south of the Mason-Dixon line, or what the Republicans call 'the base.' And we'll finish up with the upper East Coast and northeastern states.


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