LA’s classical station sees drop in reported listeners, rise in donations

Posted on: November 15, 2012

Wednesday (11/14) on the Los Angeles Times blog Culture Monster, Mike Boehm writes, “Music is the most mathematical art form, but for classical music station KUSC-FM (91.5), the radio world’s arithmetic has turned hostile, spelling nothing but trouble for its ratings. Arbitron, the company that surveys radio listeners to calculate how many tune in to each station, says KUSC has lost more than half its core audience over the last 20 months. Ratings declined moderately during 2010 and the first half of 2011, then went into a tailspin. According to Aribtron’s reports, KUSC’s average core audience has sunk from nearly 26,000 listeners in 2009 to 9,500 in its latest report—a 63% fall. … KUSC’s president, Brenda Barnes, says that as far as she can tell, the audience hasn’t gone anywhere, not to satellite radio or other musical streams. … To Barnes, KUSC’s ratings drop is a sign of an undercount, not a decline in listenership. But Arbitron stands by its findings. … KUSC officials also point to rising donor rolls during a period when ratings were sinking, from mid-2011 to mid-2012. … Overall, said Eric DeWeese, KUSC’s general manager, the station’s revenue rose slightly from about $7.1 million in 2009-10 to about $7.3 million the last two fiscal years.”

Posted November 15, 2012