Ratings Book Identifies Listener Favorites

ratings race Morton-Kevin August 10, 1975 / The Arbitron ratings, as mentioned a few weeks back, reported KOMO as the most popular radio station overall, but that Bob Hardwick, KVI morning personality, has the more listeners in his day-part than any other disc jockey in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area. Requests followed for information on other segments of the listening day. Prefacing with the reminder that ratings were designed to be used by advertisers to get an idea of the indefinable radio audience, here are some simplified answers.
Teen-agers, naturally, want to know who is the most popular in the “after school” timeslot. According to the April-May figures from the rating service, it was a neck-and-neck race.
KJRs Kevin O’Brien, since departed, had a full quarter (25.1 share) of the area teen-agers listening to him. KING AM’s Gary Lockwood had a close 24 share.
A 12 share of Seattle-Tacoma-Everett teens were listening to KTAC’s Robert O Smith, since defecting to KVI.
Decidedly lesser in teen listeners were KOL AM, KOL FM, and KZOK. Incidental teen listeners were reported on such stations as KISW, KLAY, KOMO, KUUU and KGDN.
The survey shows that teenagers, in this rating, at least, were not to be caught dead listening to such stations as KAYO, KBIQ, KETO, KMO, KWYZ, KXA and KYAC. The stations had no reported afterschool teens.
Adults in the afternoon drivetime (Same thing as afterschool–3-7PM) also like KJR but favored KOMO and KVI. KOMO had an 8.4 share of women and a 10.9 share of men listening to Don Cannon, ace afternoon announcer. KVI’s Jack Morton had an eight share of women and 11 share of men listeners–his best ratings ever.
Continuing a stereotyped demographic description: most men “driving home from work” were tuned to KVI or KOMO. But others were favoring KIRO FM (obviously the ones already home since FM car radios art that evident) and KJR (7.4 each) and KIRO AM (seven point). KIXI’s combined figures show that it’s News 90 news block drew a male audience of 7.9 compared to KIRO AM’s NewsRadio block with 7. — Both healthy figures for quantities of news-listeners. Women’s afternoon favorites were overwhelmingly KOMO, KVI, KIRO FM and KIXI AM and KIXI FM.
Back to total audience figures, nighttime radio saw KING AM get it’s only strong daypart. From 7 PM to midnight, KING AM’s 8.3 edged out KJR’s 8.1. The third most popular station at night was KVI with the 7.8 share. (KVI’s usual fare in that time included Theater of the Mind and soccer.) FM listeners massed faithfully around KIRO FM’s beautiful music to make it forth, beating out KOMO. KOMO Had a 6.9 Share, equal to combined 6.9 share of KIXI AM and KIXI FM at night.
With the exception of KING FM’s classical music toting up a respectable 4.6 share, the 32 other radio stations surveyed in the period ranged in the threes, twos and (gulp) less-than-ones at night.

KOL’s license-transfer to Hercules Broadcasting has been approved by the FCC and most folks expect that by September 1 you’ll be hearing the new format… Rich Erickson left KOL last week to take a midday disc jockey slot at WLCY Tampa…Bob Oxarat, KOL station manager, has moved to KPOK Portland… Roy H. Park has agreed to purchase KEZX, subject to approval of the Federal Communications Commission. Park Broadcasting properties include AM-FM-TV combinations in Tennessee and Virginia and two Portland stations, KWJJ and KJIB… Rick Evans from Salem, has joined the staff at KZOK. He’s on the air from 7 PM to midnight weekdays.

Unexpected interest in Wally Nelskog’s radio station call-letter tinkering finally got Nelskog himself into the act.
The president of KIXI, affirms that call-letter predecessors of his Renton station were both KQDE and KUDY.
Nelskog says his “cutie” radio stations were as follows-KUTI Yakima; KUDI Great Falls Montana; KQDY Minot, North Dakota; KQDI Bismarck North Dakota; KQTY Everett; KUDE Oceanside, California; KQDE and KUDY Renton.
KUDY became KIXI Seattle in the fall of 1961, after 2 1/2 years of litigation and 12 months zoning for towers in the Mercer Slough.
If KIXI AM gets permission to move to 880 on the dial there will be no call letter change.

Breaking free of an abusive relationship with radio

InsideRadio reports: “Two of New York’s biggest ratings gainers in Nielsen’s June survey are stations that went commercial-free for three of the survey’s four weekends, further validating the power of commercial-free as a ratings driver.” Seattle talk stations should do the same, next ratings period. The stations should cancel all infomercials and play non-stop “best of” recordings of their top talk shows. Once the ratings book drops, take a look at the outcome. Do this until it becomes clear to the bean counters that the station should either change format or go to a non-stop infomercial format 24/7.
Do you know of anyone who ever came out on top by always being a follower and never a leader? Leaders win. To lead, stations have to step across that line in the sand and boldly go where no stations choose to go. Forget commercial-free weekends. Just change the format!
If you have taken a road trip lately, you know that stations in Portland program the same formats, syndicated talk and sports as do stations in San Francisco and Denver. A LEADER will step out of the box. KIRO FM is a leader. KIRO sounds better than many major market talk stations. Not every market has a Dori Monson. [Let’s start with Dori because, for some unknown reason, Dori irritates so many listeners] Ron & Don are not cookie cutter talent, they stand alone. Dave Ross has few, if any equals. Even Dori-haters listen to the Dori Monson show. Don O’Neil is so obnoxious you’ll sometimes have to tune away. You’ll be back. It’s compelling radio, most of the time. Name a talk radio station that sounds better than KIRO FM. WGN? Certainly not KGO.
You can transplant Phoenix music stations into Seattle and the ratings leader would sound the same as the current #1 music station in Seattle, and so on down the list. Only the call letters would be different. Weekend radio in Seattle is the same as weekend radio in Phoenix – INFOMERCIALS. So, music stations, syndicated programming and religion are called “cookie cutter” radio. That means these stations are cut from the same mold. Or, to put it another way, the executives there are stuffing dough in their briefcases, same as the executives are doing here. Stations cut back on talent so that corporate execs can skim profits. If a company has to file bankruptcy, no big deal.
Corporate radio has given stations such a beat down that the stations no longer resemble themselves. It has gotten ugly. The air talent is gone, the station is interchangeable with any station of same format in any market, the stations have 18 minutes of commercials each hour and the love is gone. It’s like a drunken, wife-beating husband. The kids (listeners) hang on, only because it’s all they’ve got. Until…Mac Daddy Pandora comes to town. Now, you are offered continuous music. Exactly the music you want to hear after being disappointed by radio time after time. No more of those 6-minute-long punches being thrown at you three times every hour. While radio sleeps it off on the front lawn, you pack your smart phone and ear buds. Now, the kids can choose their candy, and you get your fill of romantic sounds or 24/7 rump-shaking speaker blasters. Life is better! And Pandora has radio giving up it’s weekend income trying to get you back.

Good Luck, Alexis!

As reported here last month, KIRO 7 traffic reporter and weekend rocker at KISW FM, ALEXIS SMITH, will be moving up in the world of broadcasting as she moves down to KGO TV San Francisco this month. Her experience as a Boss Jock goes way back, including time at “The Bone” in Dallas.

Symbolic of the changes in broadcasting

Work is underway to demolish the old KING Broadcasting complex. Broadcast history was made there. Great radio and television programming was born there. The station served the public interest under the ownership of the Bullitt family. Now, owned by a national corporation called TEGNA, there is no sense of pride, service or creativity. TEGNA even wants to use the video and snapshots from the phones of the public [volunteers] rather than continue to pay Union video techs. The citizen videographer would receive $50 from TEGNA if the company purchased one of their pictures. CHEAP! That is the corporate way these days.

Photo from FELIKS BANEL, Northwest broadcast historian. [Northwest Hall of Radio History]

Freedom Fair observations

A few Puget Sound radio stations brought their remote gear to the Tacoma Freedom Fair this year. Movin’ 92.5 had a DJ in a tower above the station van. It drew a crowd, mostly kids fitting the demographic of the pop, hip hop, alternative, and dance station. While many of the stations offered prizes to be awarded in drawings, 570 KVI and Spirit 105.3 gave out BUMPER STICKERS!!! Plenty of radio station swag was collected by excited listeners, and others who just like free things. See sample – CLICK HERE KVI and KOMO also gave out ink pens with station logos. The point here is that several radio stations were in attendance, doing what radio does best when such local events occur. Showing up and giving free stuff to keep the station name in front of the listener, or broadcasting LIVE from the fair, like KLAY and Movin’ 92.5 FM. Other stations that would not bring the on-air talent to the Freedom Fair due to cost, delivered cardboard cut-outs.

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