Lex and Terry's wet dream

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Even though the show has relocated to Dallas, Rock 105 President and General Manager Mark Schwartz says Lex and Terry have improved their ratings and maintained their local rock star status. Last month, Schwartz says, Lex and Terry returned to the show's hometown for a fundraiser and were mobbed by fans.

"When they were done with the event, they were signing autographs for an hour and a half," Schwartz says. "We couldn't get them out of the venue."

Once they got used to Lex and Terry, Schwartz says, listeners became loyal converts and helped the show evolve into a successful call-in program that mixes the callers' relationship problems with sports talk, news updates, and the occasional Danzig song.

"Unlike a lot of other morning shows that rely on tired bits and material that's stolen from other radio stations, these guys are 100 percent unique," Schwartz contends. "They don't rely on joke services. They're extraordinarily topical."

While Schwartz's description of the show may cause Lex and Terry's Dallas competitors to spit up their coffee, there is no denying that their five years on the air have been a success. The question now is whether they can repeat their Jacksonville ratings victory in Dallas.

"It was a major step in their career path for them to be in a market the size of Dallas," Schwartz says. "I would be shocked if they weren't wildly successful in Dallas within a reasonable amount of time. In Jacksonville, it took six months. In a market like Dallas, it could take a year or two years."

So far, Lex and Terry are repeating the initial nosedive they made in Jacksonville. When the last quarterly Arbitron book was published, the show tied for 18th place overall with two other stations and lodged a sorry 20th ranking in the men 25-54 category.

In that quarter, KHKS-FM's Kidd Kraddick swept the morning ratings categories, and the mighty Howard Stern, whose New York-based show aired for most of the quarter before it was pulled from the Eagle, fell from 3rd to 6th place overall.

But the low ratings were expected, and the last two "Arbitrends" (one-month ratings samples) indicate that Lex and Terry may be catching on in Dallas. After their sixth month on the air, one trend ranked the show No. 3 in adults aged 18-34, No. 5 for men over 18 years old, and tied for 10th overall. A second trend published Friday produced similar results.

While the latest trends are good news, Lex and Terry say they're expecting a slow, uphill battle that may take a year or two before the show takes off.

"A trend is a meaningless thing," Staley says. "The bottom could fall out in the next two, or it could go even higher. You don't know. All that is, is a positive indicator for us."

Jaymes, who has a tendency to cut off his partner and cut to the chase, is more blunt in his assessment of their situation.

"Realistically, on the streets, we're still sucking."

While Lex and Terry's union on the air and their success in Jacksonville may have been unexpected events, there was absolutely nothing unplanned about their arrival in Dallas in May and the launch of their syndication effort in September.

The rollout of The Lex and Terry Show for syndication, which was announced during a live broadcast at the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in New Orleans, was a small part of a head-spinning consolidation of the radio and concert-promotion industries during the first nine months of 1997.

Two months before Staley and Jaymes headed west from Jacksonville, SFX Broadcasting acquired Dallas' KTXQ-FM and KRRW-FM (which later changed its call letters to KBFB-FM) from CBS in exchange for a station serving the Baltimore and Washington markets. The deal increased SFX's presence in Texas, where it now owns four Houston FM stations and easily dominates the nation's 6th-ranked market.

At the same time, SFX also sealed up the Indianapolis market by acquiring three FM stations from Secret Communications. As part of the March deal, SFX also acquired the Indianapolis-based Bob and Tom Network, a syndicated morning show that, at the time, was broadcast in 20 affiliates.

In addition to Lex and Terry, and Bob and Tom, SFX also owns the Charlotte, North Carolina-based John Boy and Billy Show, which airs on 54 stations, including Dallas' classic rock station KZPS-FM (92.5).

Before the dust could settle on those transactions, SFX announced in August that the Dallas-based firm of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst--along with Capstar Broadcasting--signed an agreement in which the two corporations would acquire SFX in a transaction valued at $2.1 billion, according to company press releases and Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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Rose Farley
Contact: Rose Farley