I didn’t have room for all the tidbits I learned while writing this opus about the decline of local talk radio in San Diego.

Here are a few details that got left on the cutting room floor:

  • Talk-radio listeners are anything but whippersnappers. The average age of KOGO listeners is 58, according to a recent Arbitron ratings report, and it’s 59 at KFMB-AM.

By contrast, San Diegans who listen to rock station FM 94/9 clock in at an average age of 34.

This matters to radio programmers because advertisers have less interest in 50-and-up listeners.

That’s why stations that play oldies and pop-standards (Sinatra, etc.) have been dying on the vine in recent years.

I wrote about this topic several years ago for the Christian Science Monitor.

  • Male listeners are the biggest fans of talk radio. At both KOGO and KFMB, men make up about 56 percent of the listening audience.
  • A few San Diego talk show hosts have a national profile. Talkers Magazine, a trade journal for the talk-radio industry, lists Roger Hedgecock (No. 48), Chip Franklin (No. 97) and new KOGO host Jack Rice (No. 34) in its latest list of the “100 most important radio talk show hosts.”

Rush Limbaugh, no surprise, is at No. 1

  • The San Diego radio dial is filled with political-oriented talk stations, but only three clean up in the ratings.

KOGO and KFMB-AM do very well, and KFI — a Los Angeles station — has a larger audience than quite a few local stations. But KCBQ-AM only attracted an average of 0.9 percent of the radio audience in fall of 2008, compared to KOGO’s commanding 5.0 percent. The station at Mexican frequency 540 AM, which simulcasts Los Angeles talk station KGIL, attracted even fewer listeners at 0.4 percent.

And what of KPRZ and San Diego 1700? They didn’t make the list of the

34 or so highest-rated stations in the county.

I couldn’t reach John Lynch, the top executive at San Diego 1700, for comment. But these very low ratings might explain why the station got rid of hosts Mark Larson and Stacy Taylor.

Do you have any questions about talk radio in San Diego? Curious about whatever happened to the liberal talk station? Drop me a line at rdotinga@aol.com and I’ll try to answer you in a future post.


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