The spring book is officially over and for some sports radio stations, it’s time to celebrate. For others, it’s an opportunity to analyze, adjust, and turn the attention to improving during the summer ratings period.
Although most brands examine a number of different demographics and base their success and revenue potential off of a variety of factors, the focus of this column revolves around Men 25-54. That’s the demographic that most sports stations analyze most.
One last note to pass along, not every major market has forwarded their latest quarterly performance. I anticipate a few others becoming available in the next day or two so keep an eye out for additional stories.
In the meantime, here are how a couple of top cities performed during the months of April, May and June.
No market has fueled sports radio’s success better in recent years than Boston. WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub have consistently generated double digit performances, but it’s been The Hub who have been in the driver’s seat during recent years. However, the tide appears to be turning in WEEI’s direction.
In the competitive daypart of morning drive, WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan won the spring book, beating The Hub’s Toucher and Rich. K&C finished a point and a half in front of their counterparts and were the top rated morning show in the market in multiple categories including Men 18+, Men 25-54, Men 35-64 and Adults 25-54. An even more impressive statistic was the head to head performance during the month of June. K&C’s share was slightly above a fifteen share, nearly six points higher than T&R who were in the low nine’s. You can read more on the morning show’s success by clicking here.
The news was also positive for WEEI’s midday show featuring Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria. OMF finished in 2nd, beating Zolak and Bertrand of The Hub who came in 4th. The month of June specifically saw WEEI hold a 3 point advantage in middays.
The Hub did claim victory in afternoons, thanks to a solid performance from Felger and Massarotti. The show finished in 1st, 2 full points ahead of Dale and Holley with Keefe who were 2nd. However, keep your eye on this race moving forward. During the month of June, DHK were within one tenth of point of F&M. Will that continue or is it a one month aberration? Only time will tell but each side had reason to feel optimistic.
Overall, The Hub won the spring book among Men 25-54 by one tenth of a point during the weekday prime hours of M-F 6a-7p. They were also five tenths of a point in front M-SU 6a-Mid. But June saw WEEI begin to separate itself from the Hub, winning M-F 6a-7p by three and a half points and M-SU 6a-Mid by two and a half points.
Will that continue going forward? It’ll be an interesting story worth following.
In the city of brotherly love, WIP is back on track. The radio station finished the quarter in 3rd place among Men 25-54. The Fanatic experienced a minor setback, dropping to 11th.
As usual, Angelo Cataldli dominated in morning drive. The 66-year old WIP morning man has been a steady force for the radio station over two decades. The only question is whether or not he’ll continue to lead the way beyond 2017. Cataldi’s contract is set to expire at the end of this year.
Aside from Cataldi’s win, WIP also received some positive news in middays. Despite being together for less than a year, Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie passed 97.5 The Fanatic’s Harry Mayes and Rob Ellis. DeCamara and Ritchie finished 4th, which was up from 9th last year when Michael Barkann and Ike Reese were WIP’s midday program. Mayes and Ellis on The Fanatic came in 11th. They were in 8th during the same period twelve months ago. Ellis has since announced he’s leaving The Fanatic which will make the midday battle even more intriguing going forward.
Not all of the news was bad though for The Fanatic. The radio station recorded another win in afternoons thanks to Mike Missanelli. However, WIP’s Chris Carlin and Ike Reese have been making strides and are within striking distance of The Fanatic’s ratings king. For the spring book, Missanelli placed 3rd. Carlin and Reese came in 4th.
Political chaos wasn’t enough to slow down 106.7 The Fan’s momentum. The CBS sports radio station finished 3rd with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid and M-F 6a-7p.
Driving The Fan’s success for the spring were the Sports Junkies. The station’s popular morning show was above an eight share to command 3rd place with Men 25-54. Grant and Danny in middays and Chad Dukes in afternoons also turned in impressive quarters finishing 4th during their time slots.
Elsewhere in the market, ESPN 980 finished 14th with Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid. Steve Czaban and Cooley and Kevin tied for the best rated show on the station. Both were slightly above a three share during their hours of operation.
The spring produced another quarter of smiles and success for both area sports radio brands. The return of the world champion Chicago Cubs and playoff appearances by the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks were helpful factors in fueling the interest of Chicago sports fans.
670 The Score rode the wave to victories among Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid. The station was 1st for the full week and 2nd during weekday prime hours.
In mornings, The Score enjoyed a three point advantage over ESPN 1000 thanks to a great performance from Mully and Hanley. The Chicago sports radio duo has consistently outperformed Mike and Mike, which airs on ESPN 1000 but originates out of Bristol, CT.
The competition was tighter in middays. As you process these numbers, keep in mind that the two stations configure their lineups differently so there are some overlaps between shows.
Starting with The Score, during the hours of 9a-1p, Spiegel and Parkins nipped ESPN 1000 by one tenth of a point. However, from 1000’s vantage point, David Kaplan’s show airs 9a-12p, and during those 3 hours he was tied with The Score’s program with just under a four share.
1000’s second midday program, Carmen and Jurko, occupy the airwaves between 12p-2p. That means they go head to head against Spiegel and Parkins for 1 hour and opposite The Score’s afternoon show Bernstein and Goff for an hour. During the 12p-2p hours, The Score was ahead by a little more than a point.
Where the news was strong for ESPN 1000 was in afternoon drive where Waddle and Silvy continue to dominate. The popular drive time show finished #1 between 2p-6p with just under a five and a half share. Given that W&S has to overcome a top notch show on The Score and the addition of Chicago Cubs day games during baseball season, that’s nice coo for the folks inside 1000’s offices.
However, for the folks at The Score, Bernstein and Goff’s afternoon program air between the hours of 1p-6p. During those hours, the show placed 1st with a little more than a five share. 1000 trailed by only two tenths of a point during that time frame.
A few hours south in St. Louis, 101 ESPN turned in another impressive quarter. The market’s dominant sports radio station finished 3rd overall with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. They also placed 3rd in weekday prime, M-F 6a-7p. Their prime number was slightly below a nine share.
Leading the way for 101 was The Fast Lane which finished 1st overall in afternoons with better than a ten share. The show was also 1st during the Winter ratings book, making it the top show in the market among Men 25-54 for the first six months. It’s also averaging double digits for the first six months. Very impressive.
The remainder of the station’s weekday programs also enjoyed strong quarterly performances. Bernie Miklasz in mornings, and Kevin Wheeler and The Turn with Anthony Stalter and Chris Duncan in middays all placed 3rd in their respective timeslots.
Local market competitor 590 The Fan KFNS came in 21st during M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid.
Shares for sports radio may not be as high in Los Angeles as they are in other cities but the market is well represented by 710 ESPN Los Angeles and AM570 LA Sports. In the latest spring book, 710 held the advantage, gaining wins M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid with Men 25-54.
In the individual show breakdowns, L.A. mornings with Jorge, Lz and Keyshawn finished six tenths of a point ahead of the Dan Patrick Show. Although the news was positive from a competitive standpoint, the year to year growth is a challenge for both brands. 710 was down close to a point, but 570 has really suffered, losing more than two and a half points over the past twelve months.
Switching to middays, the first hour of Colin Cowherd on 570 bested Thompson and Trudell by two tenths of a point. However, Stephen A. Smith helped the station rebound by holding an eight tenths of a point lead over Cowherd’s final two hours.
710 enjoyed their biggest win between 12-3, when Mason and Ireland nearly doubled Lunchtime with Roggin and Rodney and the first hour of Petros and Money. Mason and Ireland continue to deliver the best ratings of all weekday sports radio programs.
Closing things out, 710 held the advantage in afternoon drive during the hours of 3p-7p PT. Marcellus and Kelvin were nine tenths of a point ahead of 570 to gain bragging rights for the quarter. However, similar to the issue in mornings, afternoons is dealing with some difficulty too. During the past year both stations/shows have lost a full ratings point or more.
- KNBR in San Francisco finished the spring book in 2nd with Men 25-54. 95.7 The Game was also very healthy earning a top 5 finish.
- Arizona Sports 98.7FM in Phoenix enjoyed a top 3 finish among Men 25-54 in weekday prime.
- 710 ESPN remained ahead of Sports Radio 950 KJR in the Seattle spring book.
UConn Basketball’s Mike Crispino Less Critical of Referees As Official Himself
“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this. Because I realize how hard it is.”
While basketball broadcasters may not have as contentious a relationship with referees as coaches, players, and fans, part of calling the action can involve criticizing a call. And with broadcasters typically positioned at courtside, there is certainly more opportunity for exchanges with officials than in football or hockey, for example.
But as David Borges writes in a feature for CT Insider, UConn men’s basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Crispino might go a bit easier on referees than his colleagues. And that’s because Crispino works as a referee himself when he’s not at the mic, officiating high school basketball and baseball games in Connecticut
Crispino has been a referee for 12 years and says it completely changed how he viewed officiating while calling play-by-play for the New York Knicks and UConn Huskies. Prior to donning the stripes, he would often question calls during a broadcast.
“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this,” Crispino told Borges. “Because I realize how hard it is. It’s not easy. You’re on-call all the time. You’ve got to have two hours of being sharp. You can’t get lazy, you can’t get distracted, you can’t listen to too many people barking about stuff. You have to be on it. Otherwise, you’re not doing the service that you’re getting paid to do.”
Despite having the perspective of a working referee, Crispino — who’s been broadcasting UConn men’s basketball for the past four years — still gets caught up in the moment and questions certain calls, sometimes with the officials standing right in front of him.
Unlike broadcasting, where young announcers are always trying to break into the industry, Crispino is concerned about the future of officiating. He says fewer people work as referees because of stories about angry parents and coaches.
Of course, Crispino has also experienced such exchanges from the other side with high school coaches disputing his calls as a referee. But he’s only issued one ejection during his officiating career, along with just a few technical fouls. Seeing referees work at the college and NBA levels as a broadcaster has helped him understand how to deal with such situations. That perspective has clearly been beneficial in both jobs.
Pat McAfee Irritated At Fans’ ‘Throw Rogan’ Nickname For Aaron Rodgers
“His haters got very loud.”
Many NFL fans, both casual and diehard, were ready with jeers and nicknames for Aaron Rodgers following the Green Bay Packers’ 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s NFL divisional playoff game.
As Pat McAfee pointed out on his show Monday, fans were eager to throw insults at Rodgers, waiting for the opportunity like a batter waiting for the ideal pitch to hit.
“People were sitting on ‘Throw Rogan,'” said McAfee, who naturally supported the person who appears on The Pat McAfee Show every week and made those conversations must-see viewing.
That particular nickname is a play on Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host whose advice Rodgers followed for batting COVID-19. As Rogan recommended, Rodgers took the drug Ivermectin, which is typically used to treat roundworms and other parasites.
McAfee cited last week’s ESPN.com feature on Rodgers by Kevin Van Valkenburg in which the reporter detailed the turn perception has taken toward the Packers QB this season and Rodgers’ strident belief in himself as a free thinker and intellectual.
Co-host A.J. Hawk agreed, adding another popular nickname posted to social media Saturday. “QAaron Rodgers” mocks the quarterback’s stated belief in conspiracy theories regarding the vaccine.
On the field, the Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and considered in prime position to advance to the Super Bowl. Rodgers will likely win the NFL Most Valuable Player award (despite some voters feeling otherwise) for the second consecutive season after passing for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns (to just seven interceptions), while completing 68.9 percent of his throws and leading Green Bay to a 13-4 regular-season record.
But off the field, Rodgers gained national notoriety and became a controversial figure for his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodgers refused to get vaccinated, which put him at odds with many throughout the country. But what became the subject of national outrage and discussion was the quarterback giving the impression that he’d been vaccinated by saying he was “immunized” against the virus.
That turned many people against Rodgers for the past three months and those fans took delight from him losing in the playoffs. (The quarterback also lost some fans for trying to force a trade during the offseason and it’s possible Rodgers played his final game in Green Bay on Saturday.) And they flooded social media with nicknames.
“His haters got very loud,” said McAfee. “But I will say, I don’t think he has a lot of haters in general managers around the NFL on whether or not they can get him in the building.”
The trade rumors will begin gaining heat soon. Will fans tossing out derisive nicknames right now — especially those supporting the Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Saints, and Steelers — eventually embrace him as their quarterback? You know the answer to that.
Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI (Update)
“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”
Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.
Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.
In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.
In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.
On Monday, Jeff Rickard took to Twitter to update fans and followers on his situation. He did not have anything negative to say about WEEI, Audacy, or anyone involved with him coming to Boston. He even noted that this move is likely what is best for him and his family.
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