It all depends how you look at the numbers.
The most recent Arbitron ratings of area radio stations for the summer period ended Sept. 22 showed modest moves at Infinity Broadcasting Corp.'s two news stations. But since they share the same parent, there were good things seen in both the slight decline at KNX-AM (1070) and the slender rise at KFWB-AM (980).
The ratings, released last week, show news and sports station KFWB climbed three spots into a tie with KMZT-FM (105.1) at No. 25, with a 1.5 percent share. The rise marked a 15.4 percent boost from the spring ratings period.
At the same time, KNX slipped to the No. 21 spot in the market with a 1.8 share, tying adult contemporary station KYSR-FM (98.7). In the spring ratings, KNX had a 2.1 share, tying with two other stations to rank 18th.
Pat Duffy, vice president and general manager for both KNX and KFWB, said that KNX, despite its decline, managed to boost its revenues in the period.
George Nadel Rivin, a partner at Miller Kaplan Arase & Co. LLP, an accounting firm specializing in broadcasting, attributed some of the decline at KNX to programming changes that included moving its popular weekday show "Food News With Melinda Lee" to weekends.
Meanwhile, Infinity executives were exuberant over KFWB's rise to No. 25 in the market a gain that was attributed to Dodgers broadcasts, as well as a new system for traffic reports that provides drive times between two points.
"We had more new listeners than the regular Dodgers fans tuning in, because they had some spectacular comebacks toward the end of the season, and we had a 2 share in September," said David Hall, Infinity's vice president for AM programming.
For all the intramural jockeying, both Infinity stations lag Clear Channel Communications Corp.'s KFI-AM (640), which finished the ratings period with a 4.3 share, the No. 3 station in the market and the top AM station.
KFI did drop slightly in the summer ratings into a tie with pop music station KROQ-FM (106.7).
"KFI continues to be a consistent force in the market and when you look at their lineup during the prime-time morning drive and afternoon drive, they've had tremendous stability," Rivin said. "KFI's 4.3 rating hasn't fluctuated one way or the other over the last couple of years."
Despite its dominant position in the market, Hall insisted that the distance between KFWB and KFI was not that great.
"KFI and KFWB are about equal in how many people listen, with just under a million each every week," said Hall, who used to be vice president of programming at KFI. "The difference is people listen to KFI longer, so that makes their share higher. So it's really neck-and-neck."
It's an assessment Robin Bertolucci, KFI's program director, did not share. "We don't consider KFWB our primary competition," she said. "We compete with each of the top 10 stations on the dial."
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