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Who’s Really No. 1 in Arbitron Radio Ratings? — L.A.’s KLSX-FM Thinks KLAX-FM’s Surprise Rise From 21st to No. 1 Is a Case of Mistaken Identity By Kathy Tyre

LOS ANGELES – KLSX-FM, the classic rock station that b

KLSX, at 97.1 on the dial, is claiming that Arbitron may have credited KLAX-FM, at 97.7, with some of its listeners. During the summer, KLAX only ranked 21st with a 2.0 rating, when its call letters were KSKQ. In the fall, after the station switched its call letters to KLAX, it skyrocketed to No. 1 and a 5.3 KLSX, which tied for fourth place in the summer with a 4.0, fell to ninth place with a 3.6 in the fall. Now KLSX is so sure Arbitron’s data is wrong it has hired an independent auditor to investigate.
‘They were surprised they had gone down,’ said Todd Doren, president of Diary Experts, Haddon Heights, N.J., who is conducting the inquiry. ‘Stern was even in L.A. around Thanksgiving and it was a major press event. You would expect that to be the crown jewel in their ratings performance.’
Todd believes there was some ‘diary-keeper confusion,’ referring to the books Arbitron households keep to record their listening. The whole incident confirms some long-held suspicions about the Arbitron system. ‘If you’ve ever seen an Arbitron system. ‘If you’ve ever seen an Arbitron diary, a lot of them aren’t nicely printed out with exact call letters,’ Todd said. ‘There’s an Arbitron process called ascription, and when Arbitron gets a diary back and it says ’97,’ it’s a guess as to who gets credit.’
KLAX meanwhile, is claiming that its switch from a format featuring music from various Hispanic cultures to a Mexican rancheras music format is responsible for the jump.
Observer George Green, gm of KABC-AM, thinks KLAX’s numbers were probably much closer than KLSX would like people to believe, though he added that a jump from 21st to 1st place is impossible. ‘The numbers are too high because of the way Arbitron samples and weighs the Hispanic marketplace. By the same token, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of that music within the Hispanic community, and I don’t think KLSX has a lot to do with it.’
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