Howard Stern ought to send a cookie basket to Congress and the FCC.
Thanks to the renewed controversy regarding content on Stern’s morning show, the shock jock has posted huge ratings gains in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
According to Arbitron, which on Friday released winter 2004 ratings in those three markets, Stern is back on top with listeners 12+ in New York, where he pulled a 7.2 share (up 22% from 5.9 in the fall).
His show, heard on WXRK-FM (92.3), was also No. 1 with listeners 18-34 and 25-54. That’s Stern’s best showing in the New York market since fall 2000.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Stern pulled a surprise by scoring the No. 1 slot among listeners 25-54, something his show hadn’t done in the market since 1995.
Overall, Stern’s show — which airs in L.A. on KLSX-FM (97.1) — moved up to fourth place (from sixth) among listeners 12+, behind only KFI’s Bill Handel (who remained in first), and KROQ’s Kevin & Bean and KPWR’s Big Boy (who tied for second).
Stern even saw a 23% gain in Chicago, where his show airs on WCKG-FM (105.9).
The ratings gains come as Stern continues to find himself under fire from both the FCC and politicos like Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Facing fines for alleged indecency, Clear Channel dropped Stern from the six markets where it was airing the jock.
Stern has been able to capitalize on the controversy, going as far as to warn listeners that Infinity Broadcasting may fire him if Washington’s content crusade continues.
“A few vocal prudes want to paint Howard Stern as not ‘mass appeal,’ when the King of All Media is No. 1 with adults in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago,” KLSX program director Jack Silver told Web site LARadio.com.
Meanwhile, Clear Channel’s soft adult contemporary WLTW-FM (106.7) continued to rule the 12+ ratings in New York, while Emmis’ hip-hop oriented KPWR remained tops in Los Angeles.
Talk outlets suffered the biggest declines this book in L.A.; KFI-AM dropped from a 4.7 share to a 3.9 share, while KABC-AM also saw drops. Radio observers said the drops were inevitable, given the huge news cycle last fall (recall election, wildfires, several high-profile legal cases). KLSX, which airs more entertainment-oriented talk, didn’t see the same declines.
A big shift is also afoot in the Spanish-lingo arena, where longtime ratings leader KSCA-FM continues to see declines. Univision-owned KSCA recently parted ways with Renan Almendarez Coello, the top-rated jock also known as “El Cucuy.”
Coello recently moved to SBS’ KLAX-FM, which is expected to see a huge bump next book, thanks to the DJ, who was No. 1 in L.A. morning drive for six years at KSCA.