Sports radio stations in the northeast warrant a lot of industry respect and admiration. They dominate the headlines, receive consideration for awards, and are viewed as the gold standard in the sports format. Much of it is well deserved. But, some of it is the result of the industry not paying close enough attention to the successes that take place in other parts of the country.
Case in point, check out what 104.5 The Zone in Nashville has done. The station is one of the true success stories in the sports format.
In 2015, The Zone finished as the #1 rated station with Men 25-54. They were 5th best station among Persons 25-54, and the number one billing station in the Nashville market. They may not receive the headlines nationally that others do, but they belong in the same conversation.
In the latest April book, the radio station once again dominated. They popped double digit numbers across the board, and were so strong that they finished inside the Top 5 with Persons 25-54.
When you analyze the individual show breakdowns it’s even more impressive. The Zone’s morning, and afternoon shows, were each 1st with Men 25-54 with a little more than a twelve share. The same was true Monday-Friday 6a-7p. They slipped to second M-SU 6a-Mid, but even then they produced one tenth of a point less than a ten share.
If you thought that was powerful, sit down for a second. The Midday 180 which airs M-F 12p-3p, and features Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, and Paul Kuharsky, were slightly above a sixteen share. That’s not a typo, a 16 share! That could be the highest number in middays anywhere in the nation this month. If it’s not, I want to see evidence.
The station’s weakest performance came from the nationally syndicated Dan Patrick Show which airs weekdays from 10a-12p. However, even D.P generated a nine share, and was rated 2nd. That’s an outstanding performance by a national show in a local market.
By comparison, The Game in Nashville which also offers sports in the market was slightly under a two share M-SU 6a-Mid. To be fair, The Game have some quality talent and programming on their airwaves too, and not everything should be judged by ratings performance alone. However, when numbers are taken into account, it’s very much a one horse race.
The real test moving forward for The Zone is moving up the ladder in the Persons 25-54 category. They’ve reached the point where they are judged by the way they compete against music brands. The other challenge is to gain industry recognition for the story they’ve developed.
To keep their own people on their toes, internal competition between shows is a must. For April, those bragging rights belong to the Midday 180. 3HL, and the Wakeup Zone now have to figure out how to turn a twelve share into a sixteen share. If only every sports radio station in America had such a problem.