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KTU, Kiss Advance; Mega, Stern Decline in
Spring Radio Ratings

Friday, July 14, 2000

     The Spring, 2000 Arbitron radio ratings covering the months of April, May, and June were released today.

     Gaining momentum and moving into the #4 position overall, WKTU (103.5) moves from a 4.0 audience share in the Winter 2000 ratings to an impressive 4.6 share, its best quarter since the Fall of 1997.  Listenership was up in every daypart, including the once-problematic morning show, now hosted by Ralphie Marino. The numbers continue to demonstrate that some of KTU`s gains are derived from bilingual Hispanic listeners who had previously tuned in to Spanish-language stations.

     Another station with a strong showing this quarter is Kiss-FM (WRKS, 98.7 FM), which settles in at the #7 position with a 3.7 share, up from 3.1 in the Winter book.  While Kiss did run a "Million Dollar Birthday Game" on the Isaac Hayes morning show in April, the audience gain for this quarter cannot be attributed solely to the contest, as audience share increased in every daypart. One explanation for the audience gain is the fact that Kiss has been adding more current r&b material aimed at the 25+ listener.  Kiss outperformed its format competitor, WBLS (107.5 FM), which also gained listeners in the Spring, moving from a 2.5 share in the Winter to a 3.0 share.  The source of some of the added listeners to Kiss and WBLS may be Jammin` 105 (WTJM, 105.1 FM), which fell from a 2.9 share in the Winter to a 2.5 share.  Jammin` 105 is down in all dayparts, especially evenings, and in mornings, where the Jay Thomas show appears to be foundering.

     Howard Stern continues as the morning ratings leader, but also continues to exhibit ratings volatility.  Following a strong 8.7 share in the Winter, Stern`s share declined to 7.2 this quarter, helping to pull the overall K-Rock (WXRK, 92.3) rating down to 3.4 from a 4.0 share in the Winter.  Listeners may be tuning out New York`s long-time "shock jocks", as Don Imus` morning ratings at WFAN (660 AM) also declined from a 3.2 share in the Winter to a 2.6 share.  Morning talk fans appear to be giving their approval to the new WABC (770 AM) topical talk morning duo, Curtis Sliwa & Ron Kuby, who have brought WABC`s AM ratings up from a 1.4 share in the Winter to a 2.1 share this quarter.  Curtis & Kuby started on May 1st, and along with Yankees baseball, helped lift WABC`s overall rating from 2.4 in the Winter to a 2.8 share.  WABC has again pulled ahead of traditional talker WOR (710 AM), which earned a 2.7 share this quarter.

     In its third quarter as an "extreme talk" station, WNEW-FM (102.7) seems to be slowly climbing out of the cellar with a 1.9 share overall, up from 1.5 in the Winter.  The Opie & Anthony afternoon show continues to draw listeners, bringing in a 4.4 share, up from 3.9 in the Winter, and leading the Men 25-54 demographic with an 8.6 share.  WNEW`s midday show, Leslie "The Radio Chick" Gold, showed a significant gain this quarter, moving from a 1.7 share in the Winter to a 2.7 share, and moving to #3 in Men 25-54. WNEW`s other dayparts have yet to catch on with listeners.

     Spanish radio programming demonstrated weakness across the board this quarter. High-energy Mega 97.9 (WSKQ, 97.9 FM) fell to a 3.8 share, down from 4.5 in the Winter.  Also down is Spanish AC WPAT (93.1 FM), which fell from a 3.0 share to 2.5 in the Spring, and Latino Mix 105.9 (WCAA), which is down from a 2.1 share in the Winter to a 1.8 share.  As noted above, Hispanic listeners may be spending more hours listening to mainstream pop music stations such as WKTU, Z-100 (WHTZ, 100.3 FM) or Lite-FM (WLTW, 106.7 FM).

     In the hit music field, Z-100 and WPLJ (95.5 FM) both did well this quarter.  Z-100 took over the #3 spot overall, with a 4.8 share, up from 4.5 in the Winter book, and showing increases in every daypart.  WPLJ moved up a bit overall, from 2.5 to 2.6.

     Continuing its steady gains, Q104 (WAXQ, 104.3 FM) added a few more ratings points, ending up with a 2.6 share for the Spring, up from 2.4 in the Winter and 2.0 last Spring.  All dayparts on Q104 are up, except for mornings, in which Bob Buchmann holds steady in his first quarter on air at the station.

     For a more comprehensive look at the Spring 2000 Arbitron ratings, visit the NYRG Ratings Page.

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