The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

09 May 2007

Los Angeles Talk Radio, KABC, KFI


What Can Be Done To Fix This Once-Proud Talker?

Though it certainly isn't as important as a wildfire threatening longtime Los Angeles landmarks, a blaze of a different sort may have put an end to the Southland's longtime talk radio ratings war.

And with a major corporate merger underway, changes are certain to be the result.

In a way, the race between longtime heritage talker KABC and Clear Channel's KFI ended several years ago, with the latter taking full control of the market. At the same time, KABC held on to enough of its audience to maintain itself as an ongoing concern.

Now, however, the ABC- owned outlet is dead in the water, with a ratings plunge so severe that a major revamp now seems one hundred percent likely. For the station's current leadership, the timing couldn't be worse, as the merger between ABC Radio and Citadel Communications is soon expected to close.

With new managers at the top, there's no doubt they'll take a stab at saving KABC, but is it already too late?

The numbers paint an ugly picture: according to recently released Winter 2007 Arbitron Ratings figures, KABC has lost 40% of its overall audience in the key 25-54 audience demographic.

Worse, every show on the schedule took huge hits, starting with McIntyre In The Morning, which fell 50%. Now below a 1.0 share of the audience, it is pulling in just a quarter of rival Bill Handel's KFI listenership.

From there, it's nothing but carnage, extending to the late night hours, which was down 86%. Afternoon drive host Larry Elder took the smallest hit, down just 8%.

Meanwhile, KFI's Rush Limbaugh was up 11%, while morning host Handel and Dr Laura (noon-3pm) saw single- digit increases. The station's afternoon drive and evening programs fell slightly.

While KABC has been in trouble for a number of years, the damage is now so severe that one has to wonder what Citadel might do in order to salvage its new investment.

It's not as though KABC has stayed out of the headlines: its hosts have been targeted by hate groups and sued, while recent lineup changes have angered longtime fans.

Given this background, what do you believe could be done to save KABC from total collapse? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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  • There are not enough rednecks, or doublewide truckers driving through L.A., to support two radio stations with political views that less than 5% of the people who live here believe. They should look north and program like the ABC affiliate there does, bucking the national Mickey Mouse rightwing nutjob drool with fiery progressives like Bernie Ward (the left's toughest radio puncher) and Ray Taliafero.

    Or they could pull a major coup and pull Randi Rhodes over onto a strong signal from KTLK, which is looking for pay-to-play and apparently started to get it from the billionaire Greens.

    Start the day with Stephanie Miller, who got good ratings on KABC but was driven off by grotesquely fat pasty white men who thought they owned the AM dial until they won it all and now we see what they have to offer the world! Plus they all moved to Idaho to fit in better.

    Ed Schultz could follow Steph in a Jones deal, then when the KTLK light bulb flickers out they could put Mr. K back on after Randi and have a full program day of proven talkers on a strong signal, offering views in perfect synch with Cool Cat California, not Doublewide Barcolounger Hicksville.

    By Blogger gregrocker, at 10 May, 2007 02:42  

  • "There are not enough rednecks, or doublewide truckers driving through L.A."

    Spin it all you want, the bottom line is the ongoing liberal yearning for a successful position on the radio just will not happen.

    The left has tried and tried, but continue to fail. It's great to see talk shows like Limbaugh continuing to come through with double digit increases. The marketplace has spoken!

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 10 May, 2007 08:40  

  • There are not enough rednecks, or doublewide truckers driving through L.A.

    Not familiar with Orange County, I see...

    By Blogger BF, at 10 May, 2007 09:00  

  • Easy, Get Hugh Hewitt for afternoon drive. Right now, he is on two stations and his signal is hard to track. He would be able to go against the bomb throwers on KFI. I switch between the two, but I keep with Hewitt more then John and Ken. I do not bother with Larry Elder. Doug McIntyre is supposed to be a conservative but I do not see it. He does not do his homework. He has said several things that were untrue and could be shown as such. He keeps giving the left of Center viewpoint, but then he states that he is a "conservative." Why can he not get so guest from the right of center, and at least ask hard questions to both sides. He was much better as the late night person. I do not buy it, he should just be himself. Handel I cannot stand as I do not want to hear about his genitals any more. The sad part is I like his show, and turn it on at 5:00AM to see if I will like the rest. I then go to Bill Bennett's show when I get the signal or if I am still in the car at 6:00, Laura Ingram. KRLA would kick ass if they had the same coverage as KABC.

    By Blogger Frank in Fontana, at 10 May, 2007 10:33  

  • I was happy to see Hugh get his Salem Radio gig. I think he has more than 2 stations, but I don't have one locally and don't like tying up the computer for the internet feed.

    I know Prager was former KABC.

    I remember other KFI retreads over at KABC, but they really didn't last. Joe Crummey is in Phoenix with KFYI.

    By Blogger PCD, at 10 May, 2007 11:15  

  • He does not do his homework. He has said several things that were untrue and could be shown as such.

    Excuse me, can you find a single rigt wing host who des his homework? If they did their homewrk they would not be desperatly clinging to Bush, as te entire GOP run from Bush, as 80% of America runs from Bush, on RNC radio Bush is still KING and could do no wrong. i wonder how bad Hannity and Levin's numbers 2, 2 of the bggest Bush ass kssers in te world.

    If right wing radio keeps up the pathetic Bush kissing these numbers will be standard for LL right wing talk. Thefew hosts like Savage will be he only oneswth an audience, at least Savage (for all his desire to exterminate muslims and queers) jumped off the Bush kissing boat.

    listenin to Jerry Agar was hysterical, this clown is insulting the vast majority of America about the Iraqi spendng bill, trashing Democrats, and trashing 60-70% of this countr. this is why RNC rado is dropping,totally ou of tuch with reaity, Rove talking points, wll n longer be rsating winners

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 10 May, 2007 13:25  

  • Looks like Benson Report finally recovered from the midterm ass kicking that the Democrats gave to the Cons.

    Don't worry Benson. We are going to give another ass kicking in 2008.

    By Blogger elmonica, at 10 May, 2007 18:31  

  • "listenin to Jerry Agar was hysterical, this clown is insulting the vast majority of America about the Iraqi spendng bill, trashing Democrats, and trashing 60-70% of this countr...."

    if an original idea ever entered into jerry agar's head, it would have to leave the neighborhood, or die of its own loneliness

    what rightard radio actually resembles now, is the 70s-era soviet newscasts with a picture of a tractor in a cornfield and a graphic that always said "UP 73%",
    when the farmers knew full well the crops were a bust that year

    i consider this to be a harbinger of things to come for wabc....their highest-ranked hosts are slipping (joy!!) from popularity and the local programs are, without exception, abysmal in quality

    i even believe george noory will take a hit, as the quality of that very popular offbeat program's guests continue to take a nosedive

    will this be a permanent, but you'll see changes in the lineup, no question about it

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 10 May, 2007 21:39  

  • MoPoop and Hash, a pair that never do their homework, but plagarize from others.

    I worked for Warren Duffy in LA and know Hugh Hewitt. They do their homework, unlike liberal hosts who just spew the latest Soros paid for propaganda.

    Again, people like Hewitt gets great guests. Here Hugh interviews Joh Voight.

    By Blogger PCD, at 11 May, 2007 14:04  

  • PCD,
    Why didn't Hugh ask Voight why his children despise him?

    First Maloney with that rag Dr. Laura and now you with another loser.


    By Blogger elmonica, at 11 May, 2007 14:27  

  • fudgepacker dan and hugh hewitt have MANY issues (born of repression, of course) in common, and, i am sure, see MANY things through the same lens...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 11 May, 2007 14:54  

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