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Sports Radio News

The Addition of Bernie Miklasz Is Paying Off For 101 ESPN

Jason Barrett

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The Rams’ season was just about to kick off when Bernie Miklasz made his major move, leaving the Post-Dispatch after 26 years as a high-profile sports columnist to go full-time into the radio business.

And the football season is a key time — arguably the most important time — for his new employer, WXOS (101.1 FM). It has been the Rams’ flagship radio outlet since joining the local sports-talk fray in 2009 and has much programming related to the team and NFL.

Miklasz was hired to bring listeners to the station and eyeballs to its website, and adding him was a major investment for parent company Hubbard Radio. The stake was more than financial — it also involved revising the lineup by reducing the amount of time allotted to ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show and pushing existing local shows back an hour.

The Rams’ season now is over, and the bottom line reads thusly: Ratings for the time slot he occupies, 7-10 a.m. weekdays, were flat at first with comparable months last year but rose significantly in December. The station’s overall ratings have improved and its website traffic has increased.

Arbitron measures radio listenership and for the first two full months he was on in which ratings are applicable (October-November), it says he was being heard by 6.9 percent of men in the market ages 25-54. That’s the target audience of sports-talk radio. In those months in 2014, when the station filled the 7-9 a.m. slot with “Mike & Mike” and the 9-10 hour with Kevin Wheeler’s local program, the average was virtually the same.

Then in December, Miklasz’s rating was 27 percent better than what the station drew in same block a year earlier. And his market share has grown each month.

In the bigger picture, the station’s overall rating for the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekday slot, in which it now airs its key local shows, was 9 percent higher than the October-December quarter last year.

And Compete.com, which measures web traffic, says the station’s site was drawing about 15,000 “unique” visitors in November 2014 and the number jumped to about 53,700 in November 2015 — the most recent month for which figures are available.

The trend is upward, but is it a strong enough start for the return on a huge investment for Hubbard, especially at a time when it is in danger of losing its anchor property, as the Rams have applied to the NFL to move to the Los Angeles area?

“As talented as he is, and as well-known as he is, it takes time for people to find out he’s here, and here on a full-time basis,’’ said John Kijowski, who runs Hubbard’s local business. “It actually exploded several months quicker than I thought, to a higher degree than I thought. From a ratings point of view, it actuality is exceeding where I though it would be this quickly.”

Radio stations loaded with local talk shows and high-profile and well-compensated hosts, as 101.1 has, exist in an expensive format — much more so than music stations that have much less overhead. The acquisition of Miklasz and associated costs has created talk in the industry that 101.1 is overextending itself financially, with cutbacks inevitable.

Kijowski scoffs at that notion, saying the station is “100 percent better off” than it was six months ago and that no reductions are in the works. In fact, he said there have been additions to the digital side of the operation and that an editor will be hired for the website because of its growth fueled by Miklasz’s presence.

“Those are some things we didn’t have before on the digital side that we now can sell,” Kijowski said.

 

Overall, Kijowski said he is pleased with the early returns.

 

To read more of this article visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where it was originally published

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, according to sources.

The radio station has removed his shell from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website. An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now. He was tweeting during his show’s scheduled time, with this being his most recent one which also referenced the show which appeared to still be on the air at the time.

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. Since being with that group, he has worked with Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, 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.

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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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