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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

Joy Taylor Says Aaron Rodgers Is More Likeable After Pardon My Take Appearance

“It makes him astronomically more likeable,” Taylor said.

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Joy Taylor

On Monday, the Pardon My Take podcast dropped their latest episode which featured an interview with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Big Cat, one of the show’s co-hosts, is a Chicago Bears fan and has spent a lot of time not liking Rodgers publicly.

Colin Cowherd saw one of the many clips that the show shared and brought up how much he thought that Rodgers took ribbing from Big Cat and the podcast in stride. That’s when Joy Taylor offered that the interview could help Rodgers in the long run.

“It makes him astronomically more likeable,” Taylor said. “When you can show that you don’t take yourself that seriously, all of the animosity that people have towards you just kind of starts to wither away.”

She added that the disarming quality helps if people don’t perceive Rodgers as thinking he has all the answers.

“When people feel like they are projecting ‘I know more than you’ and ‘I’ve got it all figured out’ energy, people are like: ‘you got to be the smartest guy on the room all time time? You’re not.’

This is so likeable,” Taylor said. “It’s really funny.”

Cowherd agreed and even said he is probably going to go listen to it after the show.

“Aaron is genuinely laughing as they make fun of him and that is an incredibly endearing quality.”

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Sports Radio News

WNSR Debuts ‘Power Hour’ with Sami Kincaid

Nashville’s WNSR debuted Power Hour with host Sami Kincaid.

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Power Hour with Sami Kincaid

Nashville has a brand new voice to listen to on WNSR and her name is Sami Kincaid. On Saturday, the station debuted Power Hour with host Sami Kincaid.

The debut show featured Associated Press writer Teresa Walker, Vanderbilt women’s basketball guard Jordyn Cambridge and North Georgia assistant softball coach Alea White. The show is focused on women that are operating inside sports.

The show airs Saturdays from 9-10a CT.

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Sports Radio News

Toucher and Rich: Dennis Eckersley’s Retirement a “Huge Loss”

“When Eckersley got in there (the booth),” Shertenlieb started, “he was great. It made all of them better when Dennis Eckersley was around. It’s going to be a huge loss.”

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Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley announced that he was going to retire from the Boston Red Sox television booth at the end of this season. The current NESN analyst is leaving after twenty years on the air with the team.

The news broke during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 the Sports Hub and it gave show co-host Rich Shertenlieb a chance to mention the news and praise the departing personality.

“When Eckersley got in there (the booth),” Shertenlieb started, “he was great. It made all of them better when Dennis Eckersley was around. It’s going to be a huge loss.”

The show spent the rest of the segment talking about what Eckersley offered that made him so unique. That’s when Matt McCarthy, fill-in for Fred Toucher, said that Eckersley was exactly what you wanted in an analyst.

“You want someone that’s going to give you an opinion,” McCarthy said. “Eck gave you an opinion. He’ll be missed.”

McCarthy also pointed out that this is the latest major shakeup that has happened to the television broadcast in recent years.

“There’s no doubt this is a blow,” McCarthy added. “This is a tremendous loss to that Red Sox broadcast to which has taken a lot of hits over the years with the loss of Jerry Remy, the decision to move on from Don Orsillo and now Dennis Eckersley retiring… they are going to have to find an entertainer in there. Matt McCarthy

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