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Classical music is No. 1! With some caveats...

September 3, 2009 |  1:15 pm

Baton L.A. classical music outlet KUSC-FM (91.5) had the largest audience of any public radio station in the country last spring.

The USC-operated station this week released Arbitron ratings figures compiled by the Radio Research Consortium showing that an average of 737,000 people tuned in for at least five minutes each week between April 2 and June 24, tops among all public radio outlets. 

Runner-up WNYC-FM in New York averaged 721,500 and San Francisco's KQED-FM had 704,300. Pasadena-based KPCC-FM (89.3) was fifth, with 548,600.

KUSC noted that the ratings only reflected listening to its broadcast signal in the Los Angeles-Orange County market. Adding in the audience from its simulcasts on stations in Palm Springs, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara and Morro Bay, its average weekly tune-in was 850,000, the station said.

But just for some perspective, this is still classical music we’re talking about. In the most recent Arbitron ratings for the L.A. market, covering July, KUSC ranked 28th overall in weekly listeners, with 703,200. Top-rated KIIS-FM (102.7), a Top 40 station, averaged 3,955,500.

-- Lee Margulies