Last month, we noted that longtime morning-show host Peter Boyles, who was fired at KHOW following an incident involving longtime producer Greg Hollenback, won the ratings race with his old station in July, his first month at new outlet KNUS.
Granted, this achievement came with an asterisk: Mandy Connell, his replacement at KHOW, hadn't yet made her debut. But now we've got the August numbers, and in the first head-to-head match-up between Boyles and Connell, the results are the same -- a clear and convincing victory for the veteran.
First, some previously reported background: During a late June interview announcing his jump to KNUS, Boyles told us that he and Hollenbeck, who'd been friends and worked together for many years, got into a heated exchange during a high-profile June broadcast -- a 9News crew was on hand to watch Tom Tancredo announce his latest run for governor -- that ended with the host pulling the producer toward him by a lanyard around his neck, leaving red marks.
The scene was reported to KHOW management and Boyles was taken off the air while a decision was made about his fate. The suspension continued until the expiration of his contract, which had been under negotiation at the time of the incident. At that point, he was fired, but soon found a suitor in KNUS -- and after an unexpected delay that pushed back his debut, he took to the air amid congratulations from listeners who called the outlet in droves.
Cut to last month, when we obtained a document showing July ratings for three Clear Channel stations -- KOA, KHOW and KKZN -- plus KNUS in two demos: 12+ (listeners age twelve and older) and 6+ (listeners age six and over). True, most stations don't use these particular demos in their sales pitches to advertisers, preferring to concentrate on niche. But they do provide a broad sense of programs' popularity, and by that measure, Boyles got off to a good start, beating KHOW handily by both measures.
This time around, the station ranker that came into our possession is more detailed, showing ratings for 12+, 6+ and two separate demos -- persons 25-54 and persons 25-64. Moreover, the top twenty Denver-metro stations, talkers and music outlets alike, are listed in each of three Monday-Friday time blocks: 5 a.m.-6 a.m., 6 a.m.-7 a.m. and 6 a.m.-9 a.m. And while Boyles doesn't top any of the categories -- that honor goes to KOA and (on a couple of occasions) KCFR, also known as Colorado Public Radio -- he's consistently ahead of KHOW.
Examples? From 6 a.m.-9 a.m. (the hours of Boyles's shift) in 6+, KNUS finishes eleventh, while KHOW comes in fifteenth. In 12+ over the same span, KNUS is tenth, while KHOW ties for fifteenth. In persons 25-54 during those hours, KNUS finishes twelfth, KHOW sixteenth, and for 25-64, KNUS is thirteenth, KHOW sixteenth.
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As mentioned earlier, this roster pits music and talk signals against each other. When it comes to talk, though, KOA is tops, followed by KNUS, with KHOW and KKZN trailing.
The challenge for Boyles now will be to sustain his ratings and build on them over the long haul. For her part, Connell needs to cobble together a following -- a challenge given that much of KHOW's audience appears to have stopped listening to the station during morning drive as soon as Boyles split.
More from our Media archive circa August: "Peter Boyles beats ratings at station that fired him in first month at KNUS."