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The Addition of Bernie Miklasz Is Paying Off For 101 ESPN

Jason Barrett

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The Rams’ season was just about to kick off when Bernie Miklasz made his major move, leaving the Post-Dispatch after 26 years as a high-profile sports columnist to go full-time into the radio business.

And the football season is a key time — arguably the most important time — for his new employer, WXOS (101.1 FM). It has been the Rams’ flagship radio outlet since joining the local sports-talk fray in 2009 and has much programming related to the team and NFL.

Miklasz was hired to bring listeners to the station and eyeballs to its website, and adding him was a major investment for parent company Hubbard Radio. The stake was more than financial — it also involved revising the lineup by reducing the amount of time allotted to ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show and pushing existing local shows back an hour.

The Rams’ season now is over, and the bottom line reads thusly: Ratings for the time slot he occupies, 7-10 a.m. weekdays, were flat at first with comparable months last year but rose significantly in December. The station’s overall ratings have improved and its website traffic has increased.

Arbitron measures radio listenership and for the first two full months he was on in which ratings are applicable (October-November), it says he was being heard by 6.9 percent of men in the market ages 25-54. That’s the target audience of sports-talk radio. In those months in 2014, when the station filled the 7-9 a.m. slot with “Mike & Mike” and the 9-10 hour with Kevin Wheeler’s local program, the average was virtually the same.

Then in December, Miklasz’s rating was 27 percent better than what the station drew in same block a year earlier. And his market share has grown each month.

In the bigger picture, the station’s overall rating for the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekday slot, in which it now airs its key local shows, was 9 percent higher than the October-December quarter last year.

And Compete.com, which measures web traffic, says the station’s site was drawing about 15,000 “unique” visitors in November 2014 and the number jumped to about 53,700 in November 2015 — the most recent month for which figures are available.

The trend is upward, but is it a strong enough start for the return on a huge investment for Hubbard, especially at a time when it is in danger of losing its anchor property, as the Rams have applied to the NFL to move to the Los Angeles area?

“As talented as he is, and as well-known as he is, it takes time for people to find out he’s here, and here on a full-time basis,’’ said John Kijowski, who runs Hubbard’s local business. “It actually exploded several months quicker than I thought, to a higher degree than I thought. From a ratings point of view, it actuality is exceeding where I though it would be this quickly.”

Radio stations loaded with local talk shows and high-profile and well-compensated hosts, as 101.1 has, exist in an expensive format — much more so than music stations that have much less overhead. The acquisition of Miklasz and associated costs has created talk in the industry that 101.1 is overextending itself financially, with cutbacks inevitable.

Kijowski scoffs at that notion, saying the station is “100 percent better off” than it was six months ago and that no reductions are in the works. In fact, he said there have been additions to the digital side of the operation and that an editor will be hired for the website because of its growth fueled by Miklasz’s presence.

“Those are some things we didn’t have before on the digital side that we now can sell,” Kijowski said.

 

Overall, Kijowski said he is pleased with the early returns.

 

To read more of this article visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Sports “The Buzz” Changes Signals in Raleigh/Durham

Capitol Broadcasting has moved “The Buzz” from 96.5 W243DK Durham and 99.3 W257CS Morrisville/Raleigh to 620 WDNC Durham and 1550 WCLY Raleigh.

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The Buzz

Sports “The Buzz” has moved from FM to AM in the Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina markets.

Capitol Broadcasting has moved “The Buzz” from 96.5 W243DK Durham and 99.3 W257CS Morrisville/Raleigh to 620 WDNC Durham and 1550 WCLY Raleigh. The brand’s programming can still be heard on 99.9 WCMC-HD2 in Holly Springs.

“The Buzz” features local morning show The Sports Shop with Reese and KMac hosted by Kevin McClendon and Erroll Reese from 7-10am. The remainder of their lineup is hosted by ESPN Radio’s national lineup.

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Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich: Local Media Should ‘Always’ Go After National Media

“Look, everybody has to be in everybody else’s business.”

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93.5/107.5 The Fan’s Dan Dakich told listeners Thursday that local media should “always” defend their markets against national media members.

A viewer claiming to be from Cleveland was watching Dakich’s show on YouTube and asked the former college basketball coach if local media should “go after” national media, referencing Ken Carman and Anthony Lima defending Browns fans from criticism from national outlets.

“Always,” Dakich said confidently. “I’m for me going after all media. They can come at me, too. Which they have. Which you’ve seen. Who cares? Look, everybody has to be in everybody else’s business.

“One thing I’ve learned is people don’t care as much as you think they do. People don’t even care a little bit as much as you think they do. ‘Oh my god, this was written about you!’ People don’t care. ‘Oh my god, you’re asking Deshaun Watson for an autograph?’ Yeah, people don’t care. We act like we do, and we’re supposed to, and we can do all the things that are supposed to make ourselves look good but people don’t care. People honestly don’t care.”

Dakich then went into a larger conversation about the ease with which media members can, and have, criticized the talk show host.

“There’s nothing easier than calling me out. I mean, damn. I mean, I’m low-hanging fruit,” Dakich said. “I’m a 60-year-old white dude. That has an opinion. That’s not liberal. It’s not conservative, either. It’s common sense. I’m the easiest guy in the world. Guys make their careers ripping on me. And they have. They jump-started a newspaper ripping on me,” Dakich said, alluding to the Indianapolis Star.

Star columnist Gregg Doyel recently wrote a scathing report ripping Dakich, who the writer called his former friend, saying the host has been “revealing his true character, one episode at a time” during the last few months.

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Sports Radio News

Gregg Giannotti Mocks Mad Dog For Mispronunciations

The clip ended with Giannotti, guest host Sal Licata, and update anchor Chris Lopresti cackling with laughter.

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Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has a penchant for mispronouncing athlete names, and Thursday morning during Boomer & Gio, Gregg Giannotti poked fun at Mad Dog for a recent clip.

“The Yankees traded for Bentendi from the Royals,” Russo said in the clip, referencing Andrew Benintendi. “I’m assuming he got his vaccination shot because the Yankees wouldn’t have traded for him unless he did. A guy like Bentendi, who’s got a lot of guys around him, is a good useful baseball player.

“Galloway is outta there,” Mad Dog continued, referring to former Yankee Joey Gallo. “He’ll be better than Galloway. If he’s blind, he’ll be better than Galloway. From that perspective you’ll get Bentendi up here.”

The clip ended with Giannotti, guest host Sal Licata, and update anchor Chris Lopresti cackling with laughter.

“Galloway stinks,” Giannotti said as he impersonated Russo. “We all know it. You know it. I know it. Get Galloway outta here.”

Radio Hall of Fame, right there,” guest host Sal Licata said.

“The year you’re getting out of Aaron Bayliff is off the charts,” Giannotti said tongue-in-cheek, meaning Aaron Judge.

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