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Randy Krbechek's Metronews
Music Reviews

Randy's Buttons

August 14, 1996

What's the Score?

FugeesThe Fugees, The Score (Columbia 1996) - Hip-hoppers, The Fugees, with roots in Haiti, seek to dispel the stereotypical crotch-grabbing approach to making modern urban melodies. The band will be appearing at the CSUF amphitheater on August 30, 1996 as part of the Smokin' Grooves tour.

The Fugees (the name is short for "Refugees"), consist of Wyclef "Clef" Jean on vocals and guitar, Lauryn "L" Hill, a sweet sounding, African-American rapstress, and Prakazrel "Pras" Michel on vocals. (Pras is Wyclef's microphone-wielding cousin and the son of a church Deacon.)

The Score has helped the band achieve great success with such songs "Fu-Gee-La," and "The Score." For my tastes, it sounds a lot like rap.

Lauryn HillThe hit single is "Killing Me Softly," a remake of Roberta Flack's big-selling 1970's single. The Fugees do an admirable cover of the song, although the original remains a pop standard.

Smokin' Grooves Tour -- The complete line-up for the August 30th House of Blues show at the CSUF amphitheater is as follows:

5:00 p.m. Doors Open
6:00 p.m. Call O' Da Wild
6:10 p.m. Spearhead
6:40 p.m. Busta Rhymes
7:00 p.m. A Tribe Called Quest
7:45 p.m. Fugees
8:45 p.m. Cypress Hill
9:45 p.m. Ziggy Marley

Tickets are $22.50 in advance (contact Bass, CSUF, or your local record store) and $24.00 at the door.

Arbitron Radio Ratings -- According to the Spring 1996 Arbitron survey, the top ten radio stations in Fresno for March 28 through June 19, 1996 are as follows:

1. KBOS (FM 94.9) 9.8%
2. KMJ (AM 580) 9.5%
3. KJWL (FM 99.3) 7.5%
4. KLBN (FM 105.1) 7.4%
5. KRZR (FM 103.7) 4.9%
6. KFSO (FM 92.9) 4.2% (tie)
6. KEZL (FM 96.7) 4.2% (tie)
8. KTHT (FM 102.7) 3.8%
9. KJOI (FM 98.9) 3.7%
10. KSKS (FM 93.7) 3.5%

These numbers show that the Big Four (KBOS, KMJ, KJWL, and KLBN) still dominate the Fresno airwaves.

For the second time (and first since the Spring, 1995 book), KBOS (CHR -- "contemporary hit radio") finds itself at number one, ahead of the mighty KMJ (talk & news) at number two. KMJ is a tough competitor; you can expect it to return to number one in the next book.

KJWL (easy listening stars of the 40s and 50s) continues its meteoric rise, and now lands solidly at number three. KJWL went on the air less than two years ago, and has built impressive numbers around an easy-going format. Slipping one notch to number four is KLBN (Spanish), although its share increased from 7.0 to 7.4.

Unchanged are KRZR (AOR -- "album oriented rock") at number five and KFSO (oldie) at number six. Sharing sixth position is KEZL (more oldies), which makes its first appearance in the top ten since the Spring, 1995 book (apparently both KJWL and KEZL like the Spring ratings).

And here's the second conclusion you can reach about Fresno radio -- oldies are a big deal, as three of the top six stations employ an oldies format.

Down one position is KTHT (adult contemporary), which lands at number eight, while KJOI (adult contemporary) continues its flirtation with the top ten by returning at number nine. Rounding out the top ten is KSKS ("the new KISS country"), which has slipped badly (it was at number four just one year ago).

Departing from the top ten are KJFX ("classic rock 'n roll"), which had been at number 10, and KNAX ("Kickin' Country"), which has lost a lot of market share during the last year.

But then, KJFX (which enjoys a 3.4 share) is still sharper than KFRR ("New Rock 104"), with its anemic 3.0 share. I called KFRR's hotline the other night and asked for the Led Zeppelin song (is it the "The Bridge"?) that KFRR keeps featuring in its commercials. The testosterone-laced station representative advised me to tune in to KJFX for some Zeppelin. As if I were some kind of extremist. And despite the fact that KFRR had played Elvis Costello's "Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes" (from 1977) not ten minutes earlier.

Now, when Zeppelin doesn't fit into a rock format (and we can forget about the hackneyed term, "alternative rock," which has no meaning), then there's something wrong with rock radio. Or maybe there's just something wrong with KFRR.

Required Legend -- These ratings are copyrighted by Arbitron, and are based on the percentage of listening audience ages 12 and over tuned in during any 15-minute period from 6 A.M. to midnight on Monday through Sunday.

-- Randy Krbechek

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