KRTR-FM pulls even
with KSSK for most
summer adult listeners
KSSK radio maintains its overall bragging rights for the most listeners and the highest-rated morning radio show on Oahu, but KRTR-FM 96.3 has bested its competitor in overall adult listening.
KRTR tied with KSSK, with each station garnering an average of 10.2 percent of 25- to 54-year-olds between 6 a.m. and midnight, Monday through Sunday, in the latest Arbitron ratings. Arbitron listed KRTR on top because its measurements showed KRTR's listeners tuned in for longer periods of time than do KSSK's.
The summer 2003 Arbitron survey measured triumph and tumult in the Honolulu radio industry between June 26 and Sept. 17.
It is a typical summer ratings survey in that many stations geared toward younger listeners enjoyed an uptick in ratings.
"Traditionally the kids are out of school, hanging out at the mall and playing the radio," said John Aeto, director of sales for Cox Radio Hawaii.
The number of people in younger demographics listening to the radio has been on the decline, however. Aeto quoted an industry-estimated 12 percent drop in the past three to four years.
One theory has more young people listening to music downloaded from the Internet, a practice which also has hacked away CD sales.
"We're pretty sure they're on the Web, playing computer games, using X-Box, Playstation as their entertainment of choice," he said.
They're not replacing radio with television. As reported yesterday by MediaWeek.com, Nielsen Media Research found that with the exception of baseball on Fox, the broadcast networks had suffered a "huge tuneout" by 18- to 24-year-old men during the first three weeks of the new TV season.
Analysts believe a change in Nielsen's statistical weighting technique may be a factor in the drop-off, but Nielsen does not believe the practice is to blame, MediaWeek said.
Research techniques between Nielsen and Arbitron are similar in some markets. Arbitron sends out diaries that recipients fill out according to their listening. If the company sends 100 diaries to 18- to 24-year-old men and only 6 percent are returned, but that age group makes up 10 percent of the population, the value of those diaries will be increased to become equal to the percentage of 18- to 24-year-old men in the market, said Jeff Coelho, general manager of Maverick Media Hawaii. He oversees KUMU-FM 94.7/AM 1500.
Rhythmic KDDB-FM 102.7 "Da Bomb" jumped from its ninth-place 4.0 share to fifth place with 6.2 percent of the audience between the winter and summer survey. KXME-FM 104.3, with its competing format, jumped to No. 8 with a 4.6 share, up from its 3.8 share, 11th-place showing last time. The other combatant in the hip-hop race, KIKI-FM 93.9, crept back into the top 10 with a 4.4, up from a 3.8 and a tie with KXME and KQMQ-FM 93.1 in the last survey. KIKI changed its slogan from the circa 1980s "Hot I-94" to "Hot 93.9" to more accurately reflect its dial position and the tendency of listeners to report frequency over call letters in Arbitron diaries.
Tumult has marked the June 26 to Sept. 17 rating period for some adult-oriented stations, some of which is not reflected in this ratings survey.
Connecticut-based Maverick Media Inc. terminated its time-brokerage agreement with Georgia-based Real Radio of America LLC in May, after Real Radio's agreement to purchase KUMU-FM/AM and KAHA-FM failed to close.
Coelho called the five-month, January through May period "disastrous."
"So for us it was a rebuilding summer and now we look forward to renewed growth and audience buildup over the next six months," he said.
New Wave Broadcasting LP changed the format of KHUI-FM 99.5 "The Breeze" to "Bob-FM" in mid-September, to coincide with the start of the fall 2003 Arbitron survey.
Station officials at the time said they expected Bob would cannibalize no more than 9 percent of the audiences of its sister stations, such as '80s-formatted KQMQ-FM or modern rock KPOI-FM 97.5, but the hope was the format would heartily gobble from competitors' audiences.
The format change eliminated the job of the station's program director, and since the format flip, other staff members at that and other New Wave stations have become unemployed.
New Wave President Dex Allen last week sold all 24 stations belonging to his separately incorporated San Diego-based Commonwealth Communications LLC for $41 million.
The change of an underperforming format and downsizing of staff is often a sign that a radio group is for sale, but Allen last week denied that New Wave properties are on the block.
"Are we shopping them, or listing them, do we want to sell them? No," he said. "We're not trying to sell these radio stations."
KRTR, which has been a consistent top-five station, replaced long-time morning man Chris Reiser with Dan Cooke on Sept. 15. The personnel change came too late in the survey to have contributed to the station's fist-place tie with KSSK.
What is significant is that KRTR is a stand-alone FM station where KSSK-FM/AM simulcast from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. during the week and to 11 a.m. on Saturdays.
Chuck Cotton had received a briefing on the ratings of KSSK and the rest of the seven stations he oversees for Texas-based Clear Channel Communications Inc., but had not physically seen the Arbitron survey results. He said he was pleased with the stations' performance.
Radio broadcasters downplay the importance of the summer Arbitron survey because of the younger-skewing summer audience.
Stations aimed at older, higher-spending audiences concentrate advertising sales efforts on the fall and spring surveys.