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D.C. Sports Radio Overcomes The Political Chaos

Jason Barrett

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A polarizing election featuring two of the most high profile and controversial personalities of our lifetime wasn’t enough to slow down sports radio in the nation’s capital during the November book. Although News/Talk still occupied the top of the ratings ladder, Chris Kinard and his team at 106.7 The Fan, and Chris Johnson and his staff at ESPN 980, the market’s two leading sports stations, have plenty to feel good about.

Starting with 106.7 The Fan, they retained bragging rights as the market’s top rated sports station, finishing in the top three with Men 25-54 6a-7p (5.9), and in the top 5 (5.0) with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. The station’s morning and midday shows also placed in the top 3, and the afternoon show was just four tenths of a point off of placing inside the top 5.

Another encouraging sign for The Fan is their year to year growth. Twelve months ago, the Sports Junkies produced a 4.8 and Chad Dukes’ afternoon show delivered a 4.5. Both shows have since increased their overall share. Grant and Danny, The Fan’s midday show, was slightly down in share year to year, but they’ve maintained strong consistency while fluctuating between 2nd and 3rd place.

Meanwhile at ESPN 980, there were also some very positive signs.

Year to year the station saw a huge gain in afternoons, soaring from a 2.7 to 4.4, which was good enough for 9th place. Inside The Locker Room which airs weekdays from 1p-4p, climbed from a 2.9 to 4.2 to finish 10th. And despite losing local icon Tony Kornheiser to the podcasting world in June, 980 lost little momentum in his timeslot, as Bram Weinstein produced a 3.9 and cemented a spot inside the top 10. Three of 980’s core four weekday programs were ranked in the top 10.

Another item that should have the 980 staff feeling hopeful is the progress being made in mornings. Chris Cooley and Kevin Sheehan took over the timeslot in April, and although they have more work to do in terms of growing the time slot’s overall share, the station is now local and stable in that position. Their ratings are also up year to year.

Given the turmoil that surrounded 980 last year (the station hired Jason Reid and Chris Paul, then pulled the show before it started, reversed course and let it debut, only to cancel the show for low ratings 7 months later) that progress is something the station can build upon.

At a time where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton captivated the country and fueled increased media attention and conversation, it would’ve been understandable if both stations experienced a decline, especially in a market where politics takes center stage. Fortunately though for both sports stations that wasn’t the case. They provided a much needed distraction for their local audiences, and that approach led them to a strong November, and healthy year to year gains.

One thing to take into account as you process the information below, the weekday lineups for these two stations are structured differently. To make it easier to consume, I’ve listed both brands individually so you can see how each show and daypart performed. From strictly a ratings perspective, The Fan is comfortably in front in the head to head battle. 980 though has done a nice job of making inroads.

106.7 The Fan:

  • M-F 6a-7p – 5.9 (3rd)
  • M-SU 6a-Mid – 5.0 (5th)
  • The Sports Junkies (5a-10a) – 6.7 (3rd)
  • Grant & Danny (10a-2p) – 6.3 (3rd)
  • Chad Dukes (2p-7p) – 5.1 (7th)
  • Evenings (7p-12a) – 3.6 (11th)

ESPN 980:

  • M-F 6a-7p – 3.7 (12th)
  • M-SU 6a-Mid – 3.4 (tied for 13th)
  • Al Galdi (5a-7a) – 2.3 (14th)
  • Cooley and Kevin (7a-11a) – 2.9 (13th)
  • Bram Weinstein (11a-1p) – 3.9 (tied for 10th)
  • Inside The Locker Room (1p-4p) – 4.2 (10th)
  • The Sports Reporters w/ Czaban/Pollin (4p-7p) – 4.4 (9th)
  • Evenings (7p-12a) – 1.4 (22nd)

Sports Radio News

Marc Bertrand Signs Contract Extension at 98.5 The Sports Hub

“I take great pride in having been a part of the station since its inception.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Mass Amherst via Facebook

Zolak & Bertrand co-host Marc Bertrand will remain on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub for the next several years.

According to All Access, Bertrand and parent company Beasley Media Group reached an agreement on a contract extension.

Bertrand said being a Sports Hub lifer is something he’s very fond of.

“I take great pride in having been a part of the station since its inception,” Bertrand said. “I’m fortunate to have great teammates on Zolak & Bertrand and as a group, we are incredibly thankful for our loyal listeners. It is their support and engagement that makes this job fun every single day.”

Bertrand and partner Scott Zolak have been on the air together since 2015.

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Sports Radio News

Gabe Kuhn To Take Over Afternoon Drive On 92.9 ESPN

“Kuhn, who had hosted at competitor Sports 56 the last two years, will host The Gabe Kuhn Show from 4-7 p.m. central starting Monday.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Former University of Memphis offensive lineman Gabe Kuhn will soon be making his debut on 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis.

Kuhn, who had hosted at competitor Sports 56 the last two years, will host The Gabe Kuhn Show from 4-7 p.m. central starting Monday.

Gabe Kuhn is a 2017 Memphis graduate with a degree in journalism. He played under Justin Fuente, Barry Odom and Ryan Silverfield.

“Love this city, can’t wait to talk to y’all everyday,” the newest addition to 92.9 ESPN tweeted. “Let’s get this thing going!”

92.9 ESPN is an Audacy station.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Thurn To Exit ESPN Sioux Falls To Join ESPN Radio

“I get to stay here and do it from here. Who gets to radio from Sioux Falls on a national level?”

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ESPN Sioux Falls host Jeff Thurn will depart the station for a new national position with ESPN Radio.

The host of Overtime from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM on ESPN Sioux Falls, Thurn has been with the station for more than a decade.

Thurn thanked executives at Results Radio — owner of ESPN Sioux Falls — as well as listeners and guests for being so supportive during his tenure with the show and station during a thread posted to Twitter.

Thurn joined ESPN Radio as a fill-in host in February of last year.

“I’m so pumped to get to go out there and do something on a national level,” Thurn told Dakota News Now last year. “I get to stay here and do it from here. Who gets to radio from Sioux Falls on a national level? I think it’s really cool just growing up here, having that opportunity, to now do that on ESPN Radio throughout 2022…that’s pretty cool for me personally.”

His final show on ESPN Sioux Falls will be on Friday, February 3rd.

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