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Comedy radio station catches on with Austin listeners

Gary Dinges, Static

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Chris Rock can be heard on Comedy 102.7.

It's a gamble that paid off big time.

Comedy 102.7, which launched in late October, has wasted no time overtaking several of Austin's best-known radio stations in the monthly Arbitron ratings — even landing in the top 10 on a few occasions.

Looking at demographic data, the news is better, despite little promotion so far. One example: Among men ages 25 to 54, it ranks No. 1 in the afternoon drive spot, owner Emmis Communications reports.

Keep reading to see the latest ratings data for Austin broadcasters.

"We had no proof it was going to take off," said Chris Edge, the station's program director. "I haven't heard of any other comedy station having the success we're having."

Edge also serves as program director for sister station 93.3 KGSR-FM and director of digital media for the local Emmis stations.

Before Comedy 102.7 launched, its slot on the FM dial was occupied by a KGSR simulcast. Managers previously said they decided to pull the plug after determining it wasn't giving KGSR any sort of noticeable bump in the ratings.

The station's content, which comes from Dallas-based 24/7 Comedy, includes more than 10,000 clips from well-known comedians, including Chris Rock, Jeff Foxworthy, Steve Harvey, Billy Crystal and Jim Gaffigan.

Austin-area comics don't have a spot just yet, but that, fingers crossed, could soon change.

"I don't know that it could have been done any other way initially," Edge said, citing the manpower needed to collect clips, edit out any curse words and trim acts down to about two minutes each.

Emmis is, however, localizing the station with occasional contests and details on upcoming acts at local venues sprinkled in throughout the day.

"Anything we can do to help the comedy scene in Austin is great," Edge said.

The city's largest broadcaster, Emmis' other local stations include 93.7 KLBJ-FM, 101.5 KROX-FM, 103.5 KBPA-FM, 107.1 KLZT-FM and 590 KLBJ-AM.

KISS-FM No. 1 in ratings

KISS-FM remains unstoppable, dominating the Arbitron ratings for yet another month.

The rest of the list features the usual suspects, albeit in a slightly different order.

The above-mentioned Comedy 102.7 ranked 11th overall this time around.

Here are the latest average quarter-hour numbers as of Feb. 29, courtesy of Radio-Info.com (numbers in parentheses indicate rank as of Feb. 1):

1.) 96.7 KHFI-FM (1)

2.) 103.5 KBPA-FM (2)

3.) 95.5 KKMJ-FM (4)

4.) 107.1 KLZT-FM (6)

5.) 100.7 KASE-FM (3)

6.) 102.3 KPEZ-FM (5)

7.) 94.7 KAMX-FM (9)

8.) 590 KLBJ-AM (7)

9.) 90.5 KUT-FM (8)

10.) 104.3 KLQB-FM (11)

Awards for KLRU, KUT

A pair of Austin broadcasters have won some of the industry's most prestigious awards.

Over at 90.5 KUT-FM, Matt Largey was named best radio reporter in the Headliners Foundation's Charles E. Green Awards for Excellence in Journalism competition.

TV station KLRU nabbed a Peabody Award for its long-lasting "Austin City Limits" program.

The announcement from the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication cites the show's "eclectic taste and unflagging commitment to quality."

The Peabodys will be handed out May 21 at the Waldorf-Astoria New York Hotel.

Congrats to all.

Around the dial ...

Loris Lowe is handling the 6 to 10 a.m. shift at 93.3 KGSR-FM following the departure of morning host Bryan Beck. Program director Chris Edge is filling in for Lowe, who typically works 6 to 10 p.m. ... Read my blog at austin360.com/tvblog or follow @gdinges on Twitter to get the latest updates on local radio and TV stations.

Contact Gary Dinges at gdinges @statesman.com or 912-5987

Comedy 102.7