Thursday, July 21, 2016

Radio Waves Podcast #137

Radio July 22, 2016

 KIIS-FM has closed the gap, but is still out of the top spot it is used to dominating in the Los Angeles metro Nielsen ratings released last week. Not that owner iHeart Media is complaining ... co-owned sister station KOST held on to #1 as it has since December. Right behind was “My FM” KBIG which actually beat KIIS-FM in May. For the month of June, it was 5.3 for KOST, 5.1 for KIIS and 5.0 for KBIG.

 Not to be outdone, CBS claimed spots 4-6 just as iHeart claimed 1-3: CBS-owned The Wave KTWV was 4th at 4.7 followed by KRTH at 4.5 and Jack KCBS-FM at 3.9.

 Consolidation in ownership not a problem? Out of the top-14 stations, six are owned by iHeart, six are owned by CBS and two are owned by Univision. As a total market, iHeart has 26.1 percent of the listening audience, CBS has 22.6 and Univision has 9.9. That’s three companies controlling 58.6 percent of the radio listening in Los Angeles. I see that as a major problem. But I digress ...

 For the first time in recent memory, KFI was under a 3.0 share of the audience, albeit just barely, at 2.9. If this trend continues, KFI will find itself where it was back when it played soft rock music. The big winner for the AM band was KNX, with a 10th place finish and a tie with Real 92.3 KRRL at 3.1.

 Why is KFI dropping? Might be that it’s just going through an aging process, something that happened with former talk leader KABC as well ... which is what gave KFI an opening to pounce. The trick is figuring out a way to keep current listeners while attracting new ones, a difficult task indeed. Interestingly, though, the drop also coincides with a decision to remove the digital HD stream from the AM signal and while it probably is not related, I do find it interesting. The HD digital FM simulcast on a sideband of KOST just doesn’t work for me ... it cuts out way too often.

 Amp Radio KAMP has been on an upward swing since December and found itself in 9th place at 3.5, still below KIIS but perhaps the reason KIIS is no longer at the top. Amp started the year at a 2.7 share.

 The Sound KSWD was down from May’s ratings but KLOS was down as well making for a tie (along with Go Country KKGO and Spanish hits KLYY) at 17th place and a 2.3 share of the audience. The longterm trend is not looking good, though, as The Sound had a solid 3.0 share in January, back when KLOS had a 2.4. In the other hand, it may be nothing more than an example of the well-documented inaccuracies in the ratings system. Regardless, this could turn into a dog fight.

 A funny think happened in the alternative format competition. A little station with a sleeper morning show is making waves. Alt 98.7 KYSR has beaten perennial alternative leader KROQ for the 4th time this year. Many observers point to the buzz surrounding the Woody Show heard weekday mornings on Alt. Even competitors have given credit to the program. Overall, Alt was down for June to 3.0 from May’s 3.3, but KROQ was flat at 2.9.

For comparison, in January KROQ was ahead of Alt 3.0 - 2.6. Looks like another dog fight!

 Sports stations are beginning to make a statement .... finally (and I might add barely). Top-rated is KLAC at 28th place with a 1.3 share; not far behind is KSPN at 32nd with a 1.1. Still not as high as when each station played music, but at least above 1.0. KLAA is “below the line,” as they used to call it, at 0.4

 The top-rated public station is KPCC out os Pasadena City College, which came in at 24th place with a 1.7 share. Right behind was Santa Monica’s KCRW at 25th and 1.6, while KUSC was tied at 26th (with KBUE) at 1.5.

 Ratings are calculated using an algorithm involving the number of individual listeners tuning in and the time they spend listening. The station with the most listeners overall in June? My FM (KBIG), followed by KIIS-FM, KOST, KRTH and KCBS-FM

  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 a.m. and 12 midnight, as determined by Nielsen Ratings.

 1. KOST (5.3); 2. KIIS-FM (5.1); 3. KBIG (5.0); 4. KTWV (4.7); 5. KRTH (4.5); 6. KCBS-FM (3.9); 7. KLVE, KRCD (3.6); 9. KAMP (3.5); 10. KNX, KRRL (3.1)
 12. KYSR (3.0) 13. KFI, KROQ (2.9); 15. KPWR (2.8); 16. KSCA (2.4); 17. KKGO, KLOS, KLYY, KSWD (2.3)
 21. KLAX (2.1); 22. KXOS (2.0); 23. KXOL (1.9); 24. KPCC (1.7); 25. KCRW (1.6); 26. KBUE, KUSC (1.5); 28. KLAC (1.3); 29. KDAY, KJLH, KWIZ (1.2)
 32. KSPN (1.1); 33. KABC (0.8); 34. KRLA, KSSE (0.7); 36. KFSH, KKJZ (0.6); 38. KEIB, KLAA (0.4); 40. KTNQ (0.3); KKLA (0.2)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Radio Waves Podcast #136

Airwaves: July 15, 2016
One of the best books I have ever read on personal experiences in the radio world is J. J. Johnson’s “Aircheck: Life in music Radio.” Formerly available only as a Kindle download, the book is now available in paperback form from Planet 3 Publishing at bookstores and Amazon.Com for about $20.
Content is essentially the same, as you would expect since it is the same book, as the Kindle edition. It is an amazing travel through time written by one of radio’s great personalities. But it’s not a “radio” book; it is the life story of Johnson and reads very much like he’s sitting right next to you telling stories of his life. Not only what stations he worked at, but the personalities and stars that he met along the way.
As you might expect, Johnson is a great story-teller.
What separates the paperback from the Kindle edition are some minor tweaks. “I smoothed out the writing,” he explained. “And there’s a list of stations and markets I worked in order to make it easier for non-radio people to follow.” And photos!
Johnson started his radio career while still in high school back when many stations would put at least one teenager on the air in order to attract young listeners. He moved from Ohio to Texas to San Francisco and more, learning from the best of the best along the way. In Los Angeles he was on the legendary R&B (late Hip-Hop) 1580/KDAY (now KBLA) from 1974 until the station changed formats in 1991. Then it was on to others including the late-great KACE (now KRCD, 103.9 FM).
But it is not really a radio book in the traditional sense. Yes, radio obviously plays a large part. Instead, Johnson focusses on life, lessons learned, people he met, and what he took from it all. Lessons including what he learned and observed staying on the air at KJLH (102.3 FM) during the 1992 Los Angeles riots ... in studios that were right near the flashpoint.
If you haven’t read it yet, get it. As I said, it is one of the best radio books you’ll find.
CBS Spin-Off
As expected by many, CBS is spinning off its radio business into a separate publicly-traded company. The company filed plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week detailing the plan.
CBS owns 117 radio stations nationwide including KRTH (101.1 FM), KNX (1070 AM), KROQ (106.7 FM), KTWV (94.7 FM) and KCBS-FM (93.1) locally.
According to the plan, the company plans to first spin off the division, and then sell-off the common stock. What happens after that is unknown; while CBS is one of the stronger large radio group owners, large group owners have tended to drag radio down since consolidation began in force in the 1990s. The performance of radio in general during this era has been abysmal almost every way you look at it: stock price, ad revenue ... even listenership. At the same time, independent stations are moving up.
The best thing that could happen to radio as an industry would be the re-regulation in the form of limits on station ownership to no more than 20 stations nationwide.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Radio Waves Podcast #135

Airwaves: July 8, 2016
Former General manager of KIIS-FM (102.7) and KPRZ (now KEIB, 1150 AM) Wally Clark was honored with a Diamond Circle Award by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters on June 29.
The mild-mannered, highly-respected Clark oversaw the operations during the record-setting ratings era of the 1980s, when KIIS-FM attracted an audience share of over 10 in the Arbitron Ratings -- about double what they earn now -- and KIIS-FM was the top-40 trendsetter throughout the nation. So popular was KIIS that the station was able to charge a full $2000 per commercial for advertising time during prime hours while most other stations were charging about one-quarter of that amount.
Under Clark, KIIS-FM became the highest revenue-producing station in the entire world.
And it wasn’t just KIIS. Playing adult standards, KPRZ was earning ratings for the AM side of things into the high 2 and low 3 shares, something the station has not done since dropping the format ... ironically also under Clark. That change was rumored to be related to allowing Clark to break the salary cap then-station owner Gannett had in order to keep Rick Dees at the station.
He was named Gannett’s top-10 manager, was recognized by Billboard Magazine as a Trendsetter of the Year, co-created Rick Dees’ Weekly Top-40, and created the Satellite Comedy Network, which among other things supplies material for morning shows throughout the country.
Less Everything, More Ads
I’ve been liking the sound of Heidi and Frank on KLOS (95.5 FM); it seems the addition of Lisa May last year and the addition of music to the morning show have made a decidedly positive change to the program. Overall the show is more entertaining and fun than in the recent past.
The only problem? It is dogged by commercials. In a recent morning, I sat through eight minutes of commercials at the 9 0‘clock hour. Eight minutes! And it was at the start of the hour, traditionally when most stations generally try to avoid commercials.
Imagine being the 6th, 7th or 8th advertiser during that block ... how much is your ad worth? How many listeners tuned away about that time? KLOS needs to learn from the past -- limit the total number of commercials so you can charge more for each (each commercial has far more value to advertisers) and stop with the long commercial sets ... that’s been “yesterday” since ... forever.
Rhodes-Sandler Connection
Former KTLK (now KEIB) talk host Randi Rhodes will team up with programmer-turned-host Nicole Sandler (remember her form Channel 103.1?) to co-host four hours of talk available on their respective web pages.
Running live 11-1 p.m. locally on NicoleSandler.Com and live 1-3 p.m. at RandiRhodes.Com, the free shows will also be available as podcasts on both sites. 
Perfect 10
Go Country 105 now ranks as the #1 most weighted Country station in America.
What this means is that, due to the continued success and influence Go Country has seen over the past years, every time the station plays a song, the “spin” is counted for ten points on the Mediabase Country Charts, which tracks radio station airplay. 
Think of it like surveys in which each person surveyed represents a much larger portion of the general population. Go Country’s “perfect 10” for Mediabase makes it the #1 station in the panel.