Two months ago, when wildfires scorched hundreds of square miles
in Southern California,
forcing the evacuation of a half-million people, listenership spiked on KNX
Radio, the CBS-owned outlet in Los
Angeles. But the uptick wasn't for the station's on-air signal; listeners
had instead tuned into the station on the Internet.
Not surprisingly, audiences in the L.A. market were desperate for information
about the disaster, which destroyed more than a thousand homes and killed nine
people. The average daily listenership for the newscasts on the KNX audio stream
soared tenfold over the weeklong period that the fire dominated the headlines,
according to CBS radio division president Dan Mason. By contrast, the station's
over-the-air ratings won't come until January.