The city of Omaha may not have a professional sports team to call its own, but that doesn’t mean its passion for sports doesn’t run deep. It’s because of that desire that the market’s two top local sports radio brands are producing healthy ratings.
In the latest winter book, 1620 The Zone reaped the benefits by leading in all Men 25-54 categories. AM 590 ESPN turned in a respectable finish, but was the clear runner up. However, with 590 adding the rights to the Nebraska Cornhuskers last February, that momentum can change quickly.
What’s undeniable at this point in time is that local listeners have two great options to listen to and each provide a different style of programming. To get a better idea of how each brand stacks up, here’s a look at the individual show performances, and a couple of the traditional timeslots.
1620 THE ZONE (KOZN):
M-SU 6A-MID = 6.6 (3rd)
M-F 6A-7P = 8.1 (3rd)
M-F 7A-11A (Sharp & Benning) = 8.8 (2nd)
M-F 11A-2P (Game Time with Nick Bahe) = 8.8 (2nd)
M-F 2P-6P (Unsportsmanlike Conduct with John Bishop and Josh Peterson) = 8.9 (1st)
*** A big month for The Zone headlined by the afternoon show hitting #1. Overall the radio station won the head to head matchups in every timeslot which is huge, but even more importantly was the fact that they finished in the Top 3 in every category. That speaks to the station’s consistency and content/personality appeal.
AM 590 ESPN (KXSP):
M-SU 6A-MID = 3.8 (8th)
M-F 6A-7P = 4.4 (8th)
M-F 5A-9A (Mike and Mike) = 7.1 (3rd)
M-F 9A-12P (Dan Le Batard) = 2.4 (12th)
M-F 12P-2P (Russillo and Kanell) = 4.0 (8th)
M-F 2P-6P (The Drive with Joe Quinn and Nick Handley) = 4.3 (8th)
*** 590 is getting a GREAT performance from Mike and Mike. Russillo and Kanell and the afternoon show each turn in Top 10 finishes which is respectable. Le Batard right now is the one program which isn’t popping. We’ll have to see if that’s seasonal or a regular trend. Overall the station is in the Top 10 and during the Fall it’ll likely perform much higher with Huskers football on the station’s airwaves. The key is holding that audience over during the week.
TRADITIONAL DAYPART HEAD TO HEAD COMPARISONS:
- 1620 The Zone = 7.5 (2nd)
- AM 590 ESPN = 5.4 (5th)
- 1620 The Zone = 9.6 (2nd)
- AM 590 ESPN = 3.4 (10th)
- 1620 The Zone = 7.8 (2nd)
- AM 590 ESPN = 4.3 (7th)
One other item I was able to examine was the Men 18-49 category. Although this isn’t the focus for determining success, it is an area to keep an eye on because as older listeners age and exit the desired demo, younger listeners enter it for the first time, and judging by what I’ve seen, both brands are in good shape.
Similar to the Men 25-54 story, The Zone is in a stronger position with younger listeners. They gain an extra point on many of their key shows. For example, Sharp and Benning delivered a 9.8, Nick Bahe had a 9.9, and Unsportsmanlike Conduct turned in a 9.5. For AM 590 they lost a point on Mike and Mike, and two tenths with Le Batard. However, they gain three tenths with Russillo and Kanell, and one tenth with The Drive.
The interesting book to look at will be the Fall when 590 can leverage the power of Cornhuskers football, and use the increased attention to help drive additional tune ins to its weekday programs. At this point in time though, the market belongs to The Zone. The talent are consistent and providing exceptional programming, and based on the latest numbers, the audience agrees.