KUMU-FM 94.7 toppled KSSK-FM 92.3 as Oahu’s top-rated radio station among listeners age 25 to 54 in the Spring 2010 Arbitron survey.
KSSK-FM’s adult contemporary sound is still No. 1 among listeners 12 and older, and Michael W. Perry and Larry Price are still the top-rated morning hosts among listeners 12 and older and among 25- to 54-year-olds, but KUMU is nevertheless soaring in rarefied air.
Since changing its format to old-school rhythm and blues from adult contemporary on April 7, audiences for KUMU morning hosts Frank B. Shaner, Mandy Suganuma, Devon Nekoba, Michael "T" and the uni-monikered Rico have steadily grown through all parts of the radio listening day.
Among 25- to 54-year-olds, KUMU’s new format is No. 1 with 12.6 percent of listeners, ahead of KSSK-FM’s rare second place, 11.4 share.
ON THE AIR
Honolulu radio ratings for Spring 2010 based on an Arbitron Inc. survey taken April 1 through June 23. A share is the percentage of audience listening (ages 12 and older):
No station has bested KSSK-FM as the top-rated adult station in at least a year, nor has any station even earned double-digit share points in the No. 2 slot in the adult demographic. Moreover, KUMU leapt 6.3 share points from its No. 5 position to the top rung since the Winter Arbitron survey.
Hawaii’s musical taste generally leans toward a rhythmic sound, so the format was created locally to cater to women who grew up listening to the R&B of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, said Rick Thomas, director of programming at Ohana Broadcasting Co. LLC, parent company of KUMU and other Oahu and neighbor island stations.
Since the format flip, listeners have told Thomas, "I love this radio station." Its ascent has been rocketlike, but Thomas said, "We’ve got to remain pono about it because we have a lot of work to do."
It is not uncommon for a new format to enjoy a huge spike in initial ratings and then fall several rungs over time.
Chuck Cotton, vice president and general manager of KSSK and other stations owned by Texas-based Clear Channel Communications Inc., is "pleased" with the performance of KSSK, KDDB-FM 98.5 and KUCD-FM 101.9 but acknowledged that KUMU "made an interesting change that’s obviously shaken up the market a little bit."