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KLSX concedes Arb win to KLAX

KLSX-FM has belatedly, and perhaps a little begrudgingly, paid KLAX-FM its due by acknowledging the spectacular ascension of the Spanish-language station to the top of the Los Angeles radio ratings charts.

The classic rocker, home of top-rated morning shock jock Howard Stern, extended its plaudits only after examining diaries at Arbitron’s Maryland diary processing facility.

KLSX general manager Jim Freeman said yesterday that outside analysts found some errors between the handwritten diaries and the keypunch printout sheets, but the mistakes were not enough to change the rankings in the key seven-day category of listeners 12-plus from 6 a.m.-midnight.

Arbitron and KLAX management have steadfastly maintained that L.A.’s fall ratings book was “clean,” despite protests from Stern and KLSX. The day after the ratings were released, Stern began ranting about possible mistakes that led KLAX to an unprecedented surge from 29th to first place in four months. KLAX leaped from a 2 share in August to a top-ranked 5.3 share in December.

After examining the books, however, Freeman had changed his tune. “KLAX is definitely a strong station,” he said.

During the middle of the summer book, KLAX changed its format from Caribbean dance music to an uptempo Central American dance sound. By the end of the summer book, KLAX had jumped eight notches to 21st place and, throughout the fall, its popularity exploded in the Southland.

Freeman noted, however, that Diary Experts, a firm hired by the station to analyze the ratings books, found that an “unprecedented” 37 diaries mentioned Stern in the comments section but never recorded any listening time for his show.

Until now, Diary Experts had found no more than five mentions of a host without the diary keepers listening to the program, according to Freeman.

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