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Sports Radio Ratings Across The Country

Jason Barrett

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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.

Boston:

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.

Philadelphia:

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.

Washington DC:

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.

Chicago:

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.

St. Louis:

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.

Los Angeles:

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.

Additional Notes:

  • 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.

Sports Radio News

16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

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Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets

The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.

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Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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