The month of January was very kind to Philadelphia sports radio. The termination of Chip Kelly, combined with the NFL Playoffs, led to increased listening, and a tight finish between the market’s two top sports stations. WIP closed the month narrowly eclipsing The Fanatic, 7.9 to 7.8 M-F 6a-7p with Men 25-54.
When you examine the performance of each station’s talk shows, there’s reason to celebrate on both ends.
First, in mornings, Angelo Cataldi continues to reign supreme for WIP. Cataldi recorded an impressive 9.6 to win the head to head battle. However, Anthony Gargano has held the morning slot on The Fanatic for less than a year, and he’s been rapidly climbing. This month’s 8.7 share was very strong, and it shows that Gargano has staying power in morning drive.
When you shift to the midday programs, Mike and Ike bring home the win for WIP over The Fanatic’s Rob Ellis and Harry Mayes. WIP holds a 6.6 to 5.6 advantage. They’ve consistently led the head to head midday battle.
Where things start to turn The Fanatic’s way are when you look to afternoons. Mike Missanelli has been on a roll as of late, and he delivered an 8.9 for the month, which not only beat Josh Innes’ program on WIP, but it placed him #1 in the market. Innes turned in a very solid 7.6 to place 3rd. It was the third straight month Missanelli has beaten Innes in afternoon drive.
One challenge that Innes’ show has faced is a lack of continuity. Tony Bruno left the program last summer, and then Spike Eskin removed himself from the show to focus on programming the radio station at the start of 2016. Innes currently hosts his show with former NFL player Hollis Thomas and Marc Farzetta.
Overall, WIP has a powerhouse in mornings, a consistent lead in middays and some catching up to do in afternoons. Winning two out of three dayparts should give them a reason to feel good.
For The Fanatic, they have the ratings leader in afternoons, a morning show which has the third highest performance of any show in the market (Cataldi and Missanelli were the only other shows with a higher number) and has made incredible strides in less than a year opposite a morning show which was thought to be unbeatable, and their main challenge is in middays, where they’re only 1 point behind. They also have reasons to feel optimistic.
With the Eagles not playing regular season games until September, the battle for weekday sports talk supremacy in Philadelphia over the next few months should be fierce and one worth keeping an eye on.