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Sports Radio News

WFNZ Surges in Charlotte’s Spring Ratings Book

“WFNZ overcame a number of major challenges to close out the spring book in strong fashion.”

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It’s been well documented on this website the past two weeks that the spring ratings across the sports radio format weren’t as strong as they usually are. Aside from 98.5 The Sports Hub, 97.1 The Ticket and Sports Radio WIP, most brands experienced a little bit of a setback due to the pandemic, a lack of sports, and listening behavior being different than usual.

But in Charlotte, they must’ve put something in the water because WFNZ overcame some amazing obstacles to deliver one of their best quarters yet.

Before I dive into the breakdowns, consider what this radio station went thru over the past few months. Dealing with a pandemic and lack of sports is challenging enough, but the radio station saw former PD Tony DiGiacomo exit in early March, just before the spring book. A month later, operations manager Darrin Ariens passed away due to COVID-19. If ever a station deserved a break, this one did, and they got it this quarter.

Starting with the Men 25-54 numbers in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), WFNZ finished 6th with a 5.6. The station was actually as high as 4th during 2 of the 3 spring months. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) the radio station was 9th in the market with a 4.3.

The story was even better among Men 18-34. WFNZ was 1st overall in weekday prime with an 11.2, and 2nd for the full week with a 7.8. One exceptional stat to share, their TSL for the month of June among 18-34 Men was just under 16 hours. Keep in mind, they’re doing this on an AM stick with a 5,000 watt signal and a low powered FM translator.

Looking at the station’s key shows, The Mac Attack with Chris McClain and Travis ‘TBone’ Hancock came in 7th with a 5.4 thanks to the 2nd best TSL in the market among Men 25-54. Even more impressive, the show was 1st overall with Men 18-34 with a 13.3. The month of May in particular jumped out as the morning team delivered a massive 17.2 in the 18-34 demo. Mac and TBone had no issue keeping younger listeners tuned in either, they were tops in TSL including a huge 6+ hours of listening in the month of June.

In middays, the talented team of Nick Wilson and Josh Parcell were also 7th for the spring, but with three more tenths of a point than the morning show. Wilson and Parcell produced a 5.7 with Men 25-54, and were also 1st overall with Men 18-34 with a 11.5. Similar to the morning crew, middays was best in TSL with Men 18-34 led by June’s dominant 7+ hours of listening.

From 2p-6p, The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey turned in a 7th place finish as well, also recording a 5.7 with Men 25-54. Bailey’s program was a hit too with Men 18-34, finishing 2nd with a 10.6, thanks to strong TSL. Similar to the station’s other two shows, TSL in June during afternoons was just under 5 hours of listening per week.

Rounding things out, The Final Drive with Josh Parcell produced the best ranking position for the entire weekday lineup. Parcell’s solo hour was tied for 5th with a 4.7 among Men 25-54. With Men 18-34 the story was great too. Parcell came in 2nd with a 7.2, led by strong TSL. In June alone, he was 1st in the market with 4:45 of listening per week.

What’s especially impressive is that just one year ago with Men 25-54, the morning show produced a mid 3 share, and middays and afternoons were both just under a mid 4 share. That means Wilson & Parcell and Kyle Bailey each gained a point, and Mac and TBone picked up two points.

Congrats is in order for Matt Hanlon and the entire WFNZ programming staff. With new PD Terry Foxx now in the building, the pressure will be on to lift the brand to even greater heights in the summer book.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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