Thu. Dec 13th, 2018
sports radio stations

Sports Radio’s Summer Ratings Report

The Summer ratings book was released in early October to sports stations across the nation, and we do our best here at BSM to provide a snapshot of how brands are performing in the format. Although we make attempts to track down information, not every station or market is cooperative. We’re always happy to help stations share their stories, but whether they choose to do so or not is their prerogative. Those interested in being included in future columns can reach us via email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

The reason we create this piece each quarter is to help educate members of the industry, and advertisers of some of the great success stories taking place inside the sports format. Since this format launched, many have perceived it as ‘niche’. Yet the local content can’t be duplicated, the personalities have stronger ties to their audiences than many in other formats do, and in every other form of media, sports is seen as a must-buy.

This matters because these stations and individuals have an ability to move product. That should make them top of mind for any business who’s looking to reach sports fans, especially those who are Male between the ages of 25 and 54. Why sports radio doesn’t receive a larger chunk of the advertising buy is up for debate, but if we can help change one or two minds by showcasing the format’s success, then it’s work worth doing.

Lastly, though we work with some brands on a professional level, numbers don’t lie. If a station performs well, it’s our responsibility to share that with you, regardless of our personal or professional allegiances. We also try to steer clear or praising one brand while damaging another. If that’s not your cup of tea, so be it, but that’s how we believe in presenting our information.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a look at how a number of sports radio brands performed during the summer book.

New York:

Usually when the ratings get released they’re in the New York newspapers within a matter of minutes. This quarter though for some strange reason not much was written about WFAN or ESPN NY’s performance. Nonetheless, we were able to gather a little bit of data to show how both are executing.

Starting with WFAN, the legendary NY sports talker finished 3rd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). The station produced the same share as it did in the spring, and was up seven tenths of a point year to year.

In mornings, Boomer and Gio delivered just under a 6 share to finish 2nd for the quarter. The show was up seven tenths from the spring book, but down a full point year to year.

Middays with Benigno and Roberts (despite Joe missing significant time during the book) tied for 5th with a 5 share. The program added five tenths of a point from the spring book, and three tenths of a point year to year.

The trio of Carlin, Bart, and Maggie received some positive signs this quarter. The ten month old show placed 5th with a 6.2, up three tenths of a point from the spring, and nine tenths of a point year to year. Their share was the best on the station for the summer book. One additional item worth pointing out, if you removed the Yankees games this quarter that affected CMB’s show, they only lost three tenths of a point which is pretty solid.

And last but not least, The Fan’s longtime cleanup hitter Mike Francesa finished the summer the same way he did the spring, in 3rd place. Francesa registered a 5.8, down two tenths from the spring, but up five tenths year to year. Once again if you pull away the Yankees games that cut into the show this book, there wasn’t much of a drop. The show goes from a 5.8 to 5.6 which is still very healthy.

On the other side, ESPN NY had to feel encouraged by the performance of Golic & Wingo. Though it’s harder to win in market #1 with a national show, Trey and Mike hit the top 10 this quarter with a 4 share. The show gained four tenths of a point book to book, and were up eight tenths of a point year to year. If they can hold steady in the top 10 in the nation’s largest market, that’s a good sign for the show.

In afternoons, The Michael Kay Show finished 7th with a 5 share. TMKS was down four tenths of a point book to book but up six tenths of a point year to year. Without an advantage from baseball play by play, that’s a nice showing from ESPN NY’s top rated show.

Overall, The Fan remained in front this quarter, but ESPN NY stayed in the hunt. What will be interesting to watch is how the two stations close out the fall. The Yankees should provide a little boost early in the book for WFAN due to advancing to the first round of the playoffs. Both stations carry NFL, NBA and NHL play by play so they’ll be close to even in that regard.

It was at this time last year that Francesa began his farewell tour, and The Fan was mired in controversy with Craig Carton’s exit. WFAN wound up finishing last fall 1st in mornings, and 2nd in afternoons. Michael Kay’s show despite no additional press or public sendoff placed 3rd, just one ranked spot away from the NY ratings king.

Los Angeles:

The nation’s 2nd largest market isn’t known for producing big sports radio numbers, but you’d think that the news of LeBron James joining the Lakers, the Dodgers landing Manny Machado and competing to win the NL West, and the Rams, Chargers, USC, and UCLA all returning to action would help.

Unfortunately it didn’t.

That raises two possibilities, either local people aren’t interested in sports or the market is under served from a ratings measurement standpoint. We’re betting on the latter.

Regardless, ESPN Los Angeles held head to head advantages over AM 570 LA Sports in mornings, afternoons, and 12p-3p among Men 25-54. 570 prevailed between 10a-12p and during evenings.

It’s worth noting that during this quarter, ESPN LA underwent changes in both drive times due to Marcellus Wiley leaving to join FOX Sports 1. How that will impact the fall book remains to be seen. What should help both stations during the fall is the advancement of the Dodgers to the NLCS, LeBron making his Lakers debut, and the Rams becoming a high powered attack and one of the best teams in the NFL.

Chicago:

The race between 670 The Score and ESPN 1000 has been tight over the past few years, but for this quarter, The Score enjoyed a comfortable win. The bad news for Adam Delevitt, that means he has to pick up the next lunch tab with Mitch Rosen.

Chicago Cubs baseball certainly helped The Score, but that’s not all of it. The Score took some shots for changing the majority of their shows during the spring. The moves weren’t popular, and the audience could’ve easily fled in other directions. Instead, they stuck with The Score during a period of transition, a testament to the trust the brand has built over the past few decades.

Starting with mornings, Mully and Hanley, and one month of Mully and Haugh, finished 2nd overall, cruising past ESPN 1000’s Golic and Wingo 7.5 to 2.8. Bernstein and McKnight continued the surge winning the 9a-1p timeslot 4.2 to 2.3. A similar story occurred between 1p-6p where Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins were 4th and ahead of 1000’s shows 5.5 to 4.1.

An important point to remember, the two stations structure their weekday lineups differently, thus the reason for not being able to list simple head to head comparisons.

Taking a look at things from 1000’s point of view, Kap and Company had a down quarter. The 9a-12p show produced an unusual 2.1, nearly 2 points lower than the first 3 hours of Bernstein and McKnight. Is that a meter issue or a case of the summer blues? It’s too early to tell. Kap’s certainly proven before he can generate numbers.

Things were better in afternoon drive for ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy. The station’s top rated show finished in the top 5 with a 4.4. Though their performance was strong, they trailed McNeil and Parkins by a little more than a point.

With the fall book including one month of Cubs baseball, the return of the Bears and arrival of Khalil Mack, and Bulls basketball and Blackhawks hockey, both stations should expect to see positive gains to wrap up the year.

San Francisco:

KNBR earned another quarterly victory, beating 95.7 The Game in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) by nearly a point and a half. They also prevailed for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) by just over a full point. However, it was the month of September which provided cause for concern for the Bay Area’s Sports Leader.

Before we get into that, let’s take a look at the weekday show comparisons. KNBR had to feel good about their collective performance, led by Murph and Mac who topped The Game’s Joe, Lo, and Dibs 5.2 to 3.9 in morning drive. Gary and Larry continued that momentum holding off Matt Steinmetz and Daryle “The Guru” Johnson 4.6 to 4.1. And similar results were achieved in afternoons by Tom Tolbert and John Lund finishing ahead of Damon Bruce 5.2 to 3.4. The Game’s Greg Papa and KNBR’s Fitz and Brooks battled to a draw during the hours that they matched up.

Although the majority of head to head matchups favored KNBR, the interesting part of the summer book that likely has both brands pushing even harder were the September results. The two stations tied for 5th for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid). KNBR also finished one spot in front of The Game in PM drive. However, The Game got the upper hand gaining victories in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), AM drive, 10a-12p, and 12p-3p. That’s something KNBR isn’t used to.

Looking ahead to the fall, neither station is likely to gain a huge ratings boost from the 49ers or Raiders. Each team plays once a week and are in the midst of bad seasons. In baseball, both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s were eliminated from postseason play, so there’s no advantage there either. But The Game is poised to gain a few ears from the return of the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.

If the September trend continues for The Game, and the addition of Warriors basketball delivers the usual spike that it has the past few years, The Game may finally have enough to pass KNBR in the ratings. Though The Game has reason to be optimistic, winning a book vs. a month is a tall order, and KNBR didn’t earn the name “the Bay Area’s sports leader” by accident. Best of luck to both brands in their pursuit for 4th quarter victory!

Dallas:

This is a market where both 105.3 The Fan, and Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket perform well. It’s easy to get caught up on who finished in front of who in the ratings, but each station has great talent, strong ratings, and should be on the radar of advertisers looking to reach male sports fans in the Dallas market.

For the summer book, The Ticket held steady in both drive times, winning the head to head battles, thanks to the stellar work of The Musers and The Hard Line. The Fan though had nothing to apologize for as both Shan & RJ and Ben & Skin were both inside the Top 4.

Where The Fan gained an advantage was in middays. G-Bag Nation prevailed this quarter over Norm & Donovan, and BaD Radio. It was the first head to head win for The Fan against The Ticket for a full book this year.

Overall, The Ticket is down a point and a half year to year, and has experienced a drop since May when they were in double digits. That said, they still won the overall book with Men 25-54 with a mid 7 share performance. The Fan holds the edge with Men 18-34. ESPN 103.3 has been a non-factor with ratings in the low 2’s.

Regardless of your rooting interest, it’s hard not to appreciate what both of these stations continue to produce on a consistent basis. Expect more of the same when the fall book rolls around.

Philadelphia:

Sports Radio 94 WIP was once again the primary choice for sports radio listening for the summer book in the city of brotherly love. The station placed 3rd with Men 25-54 with a 7.7, 3 full points ahead of 97.5 The Fanatic. Another positive sign for WIP was its nearly 5 and a half point lead over The Fanatic with Men 18+.

As usual, Angelo Cataldi dominated mornings, finishing 2nd with Men 25-54 with a 9.7. Cataldi was also 2nd with Adults 25-54 with a 6.7, and 3rd with Men 18+ with a 9.2. The Fanatic during the summer book featured Anthony Gargano in mornings, who registered a 5.2 with Men 25-54, and a 3.2 with Adults 25-54. He’s since moved to middays, leaving the gigantic task of taking down Cataldi to Marc Farzetta and Tra Thomas.

In middays, Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie led WIP to another win. The popular pair were ranked 4th with a 7.6 with Men 25-54. Year to year the show is up 20%. The Fanatic’s team of Harry Mayes and Jason Myrtetus generated a 5.1. Mayes has since left the station, replaced by Gargano.

Afternoon drive is where The Fanatic gained an edge, although the gap isn’t as wide as it once was. Mike Missanelli reigned supreme with a 7.4, besting WIP’s team of Jon Marks and Ike Reese who delivered a 6.7. The two shows finished tied with a 4.1 with Adults 25-54.

Houston:

The competition remained close between the market’s three key brands this period, but this time bragging rights for the full week belonged to SportsTalk 790 who won the quarter by six tenths of a point over Sports Radio 610 KILT, and by eight tenths of a point over ESPN 97.5 FM. In the weekday prime hours of M-F 6a-7p, 790 won again, except with a slightly larger lead.

Looking at the key weekday shows, it was another positive story for 790 as they prevailed in mornings, middays, and afternoons. KILT picked a win during evening hours.

The Houston Chronicle listed all of the top performing sports talk shows for the quarter which you can see by clicking here. We’ve posted the Top 5 below. Be advised that some programs may increase or decrease their standing depending on streaming and simulcast numbers being included. It is surprising to see none of 610’s programs cracking the top 5.

1. Fred Faour/A.J. Hoffman (4p-7p ESPN 97.5)
2. Sean Salisbury (3p-6p SportsTalk 790)
3. Josh Innes (6a-10a SportsTalk 790)
4. Matt Thomas (12p-3p SportsTalk 790)
5. Greg Koch/N.D. Kalu 10a-12p SportsTalk 790)

Atlanta:

Winning baseball by the Atlanta Braves, and the August buildup to the NFL and College Football seasons helped the market’s two top sports brands deliver a successful quarter.

92.9 The Game remained the top performer, finishing the summer book in 3rd place with a near mid 7 share. That ranking was the same, but the number was slightly higher in mornings thanks to John Fricke and Hugh Douglas.

The Game’s Carl Dukes and Mike Bell produced the station’s biggest number this book, finishing 2nd in afternoon drive with just under a 9 share. They were also 1st overall for the final month.

Nights on The Game also produced positive results. The station was 2nd in the timeslot with a low 6 share.

Meanwhile for The Fan, they enjoyed their best quarter in years. Most of the station’s weekday programs were in or near the Top 10 with Men 25-54. Their 55+ numbers also provided some positive signs.

Washington DC:

106.7 The Fan continued to establish itself as the market’s dominant sports voice, led by an outstanding summer book. The momentum gained from the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup during the spring book carried forward, as The Fan grew from 7.4 to 7.5 M-SU 6a-Mid with Men 25-54. For weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) the station dipped slightly from an 8.8 to 8.3.

Where things were especially positive for The Fan were in their weekday dayparts. Grant and Danny delivered the best ranking on the station finishing 1st in middays. The Sports Junkies remained strong with a 2nd place finish in mornings. And Chad Dukes secured 3rd place in the highly competitive afternoon drive timeslot.

A few other interesting tidbits to pass along.

The Fan is up over a full point year to year with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. They’re also up seven to eight tenths of a point during that same period with Adults 25-54 in M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid, as well as with Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p.

The biggest ratings gainer over the past twelve months has been M-F 10a-3p (Grant & Danny + 1-hour of Chad Dukes) which has increased from a 6.9 to 9.0. The Fan has also received an impressive 6.3 number from the Junkies in mornings with Adults 25-54.

Boston:

The story remained the same in New England where 98.5 The Sports Hub won the overall week, and WEEI emerged victorious in a few head to head battles. In M-SU 6a-Mid, The Hub produced an 8.4 with Men 25-54, which was enough to finish first. WEEI placed 2nd with a 7.2. The station also received a .4 from WVEI which broadcasts WEEI’s programming out of Providence and registers in the market.

In mornings, WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan finished 1st with a 8.9. The Hub’s Toucher and Rich came in 2nd with an 8.4. An interesting note to point out, Kirk Minihane missed a number of programs during the summer book. He took an indefinite leave from the station in September so that should make the fall book interesting as well.

Turning to middays, WEEI’s combination of OMF (moved to PM Drive in August) and Dale and Keefe bested The Hub’s team of Scott Zolak and Marc Bertrand 8.8 to 7.5. That allowed WEEI to finish 2nd in the daypart. The Hub placed third.

The Hub bounced back claiming victory in afternoons where Felger and Massarotti doubled WEEI’s Dale and Keefe and a few weeks of OMF 13.3 to 6.5. The Hub also won the 6p-7p hour when both stations typically host baseball pre-game shows, 10.8 to 5.0.

Closing things out at night, WEEI’s combination of Boston Red Sox baseball and Mut at Night earned a 9.5 to emerge victorious over The Hub’s Adam Jones who generated a 6.5.

Phoenix:

Arizona Sports had reason to celebrate, finishing as the highest rated spoken word station in the market for the quarter. Leading the way were the station’s drive time programs, Doug and Wolf, and Burns and Gambo, which both ranked 4th overall with Men 25-54. Doug and Wolf also finished 8th for the quarter with P25-54.

Turning to middays, Bickley and Marotta came in 7th during their daypart. The station’s combination of Diamondbacks baseball and The Rundown with Luke Lapinski also received a 7th place ranking during evening hours.

One additional positive for the brand, among Men 18-34, Arizona Sports finished 6th.

Seattle:

The quarter once again belonged to Bonneville’s 710 ESPN. The team of Brock and Salk enjoyed three straight months inside the To 10 to earn bragging rights as the market’s preferred choice for sports in morning drive.

Switching to middays, John Clayton, and Bob, Groz, and Tom saw their numbers increase during the three month stretch from the high 2’s to the mid to high 3’s. With football season now underway, that momentum should help their programs gain even more ground during the fall book.

Finishing up in afternoons, the trio of Danny, Dave, and Moore had the best overall three month performance of the station’s key weekday shows, finishing between 5th and 9th for each month of the book. The only timeslot to perform better was evenings, led by Seattle Mariners baseball, which ranked between 4th and 7th.

Tampa:

There may not be a ton of sports radio competition in the market for WDAE, but Tampa’s leading sports station did what it’s supposed to do, build upon its own success.

For the summer book, Ronnie and TKras led the way in mornings, gaining a full share increase with Men 25-54. JP Peterson doubled the station’s share in PM drive, a huge feat given that Peterson has been holding down the fort for Steve Duemig who’s been battling health issues.

Also worth noting, all of WDAE’s weekday shows recorded Top 8 finishes with Men 35+.

St. Louis:

Another quarter, another dominant performance from St. Louis’ leading sports brand. 101 ESPN remained powerful, crushing the market’s sports competition and establishing a stronger presence against top brands from other formats.

The station finished 3rd with a 9.1 M-F 6a-7p, and 3rd with a 7.0 M-SU 6a-Mid.

Looking at the weekday shows, Bernie Miklasz produced an 8.1 to place 3rd in morning drive. Kevin Wheeler and The Turn also finished 3rd in middays. In fact, The Turn was just four tenths of a point under a ten share, which is especially remarkable considering Chris Duncan was away from the show for the entire quarter.

Rounding things out in afternoons, The Fast Lane cruised to another 1st place finish with a 12.1. Randy Karraker, Brad Thompson, and Chris Rongey have been at or near the top of the ratings ladder for nearly two years.

Baltimore:

It was another strong quarter for 105.7 The Fan. Baltimore’s sports voice was above a 10 share in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), helping the station finish 1st in the market for its third straight book. That’s the first time in station history that The Fan has accomplished this feat.

A few other notes worth sharing.

The Big Bad Morning Show with Rob Long, Ed Norris, and Jerry Coleman continued to dominate with Men 25-54, while also moving into the top 4 with Adults 25-54.

The station’s midday show featuring Bob Haynie and Vinny Cerrato came in 1st with Men 25-54, while registering a 6th place finish with Adults 25-54.

The afternoon show with Scott Garceau and Jeremy Conn provided a similar story, generating above a 10 share with Men 25-54.

Charlotte:

The transformation of WFNZ in Charlotte over the past eighteen months has been fun to watch, and the summer book continued to highlight the way the brand’s programming has connected with local listeners.

For starters, Mac and T-Bone climbed from a 2.1 last year to a 2.7 this year in morning drive, a performance which helped them jump 7 positions in the summer book. Even more noteworthy has been their appeal to Men 18-34 where they produced a 6th place ranking for the month of September.

Middays also provided some positive signs thanks to the arrival of Nick Wilson and Josh Parcell. Though the new midday crew didn’t start until August 6th, their first month in the ratings produced a Top 10 finish (3.8). The overall quarter for middays was lower (2.8) due to the station going thru a search for a new show. With Wilson and Parcell now firmly entrenched, further growth should be expected.

In afternoons, the talented team of Kyle Bailey and Frank Garcia kept things steady, delivering a 2.7 to remain just outside of the Top 10. The show began to see excellent growth signs with Men 18-34 in September, leading all shows on the station with a 5th place finish and 5.6 share.

Considering that the summer months in Charlotte are devoid of local sports driving frequent listening occasions, WFNZ had a pretty good book, and is set up well for the fall ratings period when Panthers Mania floods the airwaves.

Memphis:

92.9 ESPN has been on quite the roll over the past year. During the past twelve months, the radio station has generated a 9.1 rating. That’s been good enough to lock up 2nd place in the market during that time period.

As far as the summer book was concerned, it was more of the same. Memphis’ leading sports brand received its best performance from Jason & John who finished the quarter 1st overall with a 10.7. During the month of September alone, the program produced just under an 11 and a half share.

Second on the list was Geoff Calkins who came in 2nd during his mid-morning slot with a 10 and a half share. Calkins’ September performance was even more impressive, registering a low 13 share.

The rest of the lineup saw Gary Parrish soar in with just under a 9 share to place 2nd in afternoon drive. Eric Hasseltine’s midday program was ranked 6th during its daypart with a low 8 share.