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The February Sports Radio Ratings in Dallas

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The February ratings are in for Dallas, and overall it was a really strong month for The Ticket. The Fan has undergone some post-football struggles, but when you look at the way the radio station has performed year to year, they’re delivering at a higher clip than they were previously. ESPN 103.3 meanwhile continues to sit in third place, but continues to have some momentum with their national programming.

Let’s kick things off by looking at the overall performance M-SU 6a-Mid with Men 25-54.

  • The Ticket = 6.3 (2nd)
  • The Fan = 2.8 (tied for 11th)
  • ESPN 103.3 = 2.3 (20th)

*** The Ticket gained a point from January to February, and grew from 3rd to 2nd. It’s clear that their content outside of football season is a major attraction. Interesting enough, they’re up almost two points from the fall, and nearly double year to year. That indicates that they could’ve gained a new meter or two. Whatever the case may be, they’re on fire right now…..for The Fan, it’s clear that the Fall is their high point of the year, the spring and summer see a lift too due to the return of baseball, and the winter is a slower period. That’s consistent with a lot of stations in the format….ESPN 103.3 meanwhile has been consistent the past year, and this is the closest they’ve been to catching The Fan, but that’s more due to The Fan’s dip, not 103.3 rising.

Next up, M-F 6a-7p – when each station’s prime time lineups go head to head.

  • The Ticket = 8.2 (1st)
  • The Fan = 2.9 (10th)
  • ESPN 103.3 = 2.4 (tied for 15th)

*** It’s supposed to be the slower period of the year and a time when the numbers decline, but for The Ticket that’s not the case. They go up nearly two points from their M-SU 6a-Mid to M-F 6a-7p which tells you that their key shows are carrying the radio station. Month to month they were up a point and a half. That’s extremely impressive given that the period after the Super Bowl is usually a tougher one for sports talkers….as for The Fan, they dropped a point, which again, is what happens in many markets. When baseball returns you’ll likely see them pick up momentum once again and make it a tighter race. For now though, The Ticket is comfortably ahead.

Now, let’s dive into the individual dayparts. First up, morning drive M-F 6a-10a.

  • The Ticket = 10.1 (1st)
  • ESPN 103.3 = 3.9 (5th)
  • The Fan = 3.0 (tied for 8th)

*** Before we dissect this daypart, a tip of the cap to The Musers. They’ve been #1 for ten of the past eleven months, and continue to perform like one of the best sports talk shows in the country. The only time they weren’t #1 recently was during the Holiday book, and even then they were 2nd. They are operating on a different level than every show in the market…..For ESPN 103.3 this is a great story. They’ve been in the Top 5 in back to back months. Mornings has been the best performing daypart on the radio station…..for The Fan, they’re inside the Top 10 which is the highest ranking for any of the station’s key dayparts but they’re still paying the price for the winter months. Shan and RJ are a very good show and should reverse this trend in the coming months, but for now, they’re dealing with a short-term setback.

From mornings we shift to middays M-F 10a-3p

  • The Ticket = 6.6 (3rd)
  • The Fan = 2.5 (14th)
  • ESPN 103.3 = 1.5 (24th)

*** The Ticket has seen middays growing strongly over the past few months. They’re up over a point from January, up two points from December, and up three points from November. If there’s one thing for Program Director Jeff Catlin to feel really good about, it’s that this timeslot has been experiencing improvement ever since Donovan Lewis was permanently added to the mix alongside Norm Hitzges. The station’s one concern is that at this point last year, they were turning in high two’s and low to mid three’s, so the focus going forward has to be on maintaining the recent surge, and not losing big momentum when baseball season begins….for The Fan, once again they’re experiencing post-football fatigue, and out of the top 10 for the first time in six months, but the positive is that in one month’s time, they should start to see a bigger lift. At this point last year, the station grew by nearly two points between February and April….for 103.3, this is the weakest performing daypart on the radio station.

To wrap up the weekday prime shows, we focus on afternoon drive M-F 3p-7p.

  • The Ticket = 8.1 (1st)
  • The Fan = 3.2 (tied for 10th)
  • ESPN 103.3 = 2.3 (20th)

*** Once again, another big showing for The Ticket, this time from “The Hardline”. The show gained two points month to month and has improved by almost five points year to year. That’s incredible. However, just as I cautioned not to celebrate early to the midday shows, the same holds true for afternoons. At this point last year, they were in 11th and turning in a 3 share. The key is to keep those meters engaged and not tuning out once baseball season returns….for the Fan, Ben and Skin are in the Top 10 but did lose a little more than a point once football season expired. The challenge going forward is to bring back those people who have taken a timeout from the radio station during the dead zone of February. When the Rangers games start hitting the airwaves, the afternoon show should see a lift. The slot grew between one and two points last year but based on recent performances, the fall is when the boys produce their highest totals. …for 103.3, they’re pretty consistent in the low to mid two shares, and barring any changes, that should continue going forward.

Overall, when you evaluate a sports radio station’s success, you don’t do it on a monthly basis. You try to look at each quarter, the full year’s performance, and you make sure your advertiser’s understand why it pays to stick with the brand through all of its highs and lows. 103.3 doesn’t change a lot over the span of twelve months but in the case of The Ticket and The Fan, they both have peaks and valleys.

For example, in the Fall book, The Fan had a stretch of three months in a row where they either tied or beat The Ticket M-SU 6a-Mid. That’s huge for them. Now though, The Ticket is back in control and experiencing a surge that’s going to be hard to stop until baseball rolls around and The Fan adds Texas Rangers cume onto the radio station.

What stands out again is the dominance of The Musers. Their performance propels The Ticket to the top of the ratings conversation time after time and when you finish #1 nearly every month for the past year, that speaks to the consistent quality of the show and the audience’s trust and admiration for what the program offers on a daily basis. Congrats to all involved with the show on a job well done.

Not to be ignored is how The Hardline delivered an 8 share and the midday programs on The Ticket continue their turnaround. If you’re inside the building at The Ticket, you’re telling everyone who will listen that when play by play isn’t a focus, the shows you provide perform on a much different level than your competitor.

That said, you can’t fault The Fan for wanting to offer Cowboys and Rangers games because they’re a destination for the local audience and a huge draw for advertisers. Any of the three stations would love to have their games on their airwaves.

If you’re at The Fan, you tip your cap to The Ticket this month, and direct your energy into creating a strong baseball strategy to fuel your growth over the next couple of months. You also remind people (clients) that it’s a marathon not a sprint, and the winter is when you slow down a little. If the numbers come up again in the spring/summer as they have in the past, this will be a speed bump, and the two horse race will become tighter again come the fall. If though the Rangers are bad, and/or the shows don’t create some tune-in appointments for the audience during the baseball season, then it’s going to be a challenge to overtake The Ticket.

One positive The Fan has going for themselves is that when you look at their M-F 6a-7p performance on a year to year basis, despite February being a slower period, they’ve gone up in each of the past three years. They were 18th in 2014, 15th in 2015, and 10th in 2016. That’s something to remind clients about. It speaks to the way the station continues to grow, even though month to month they stumbled.

Last but not least, for 103.3 you continue to reinforce to the buying community why Mike and Mike should be on their radar. Top 5 in the market in mornings, likely at a lower rate, is something the radio station can use to help its bottom line. If the station can figure out a way to elevate the afternoon show’s performance to a Top 10 finish, that could really make a difference for their narrative and ability to increase revenue.

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Doug Gottlieb, Nick Wright Feud Over College Sports NIL Issues

“Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known.”

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FOX Sports hosts Doug Gottlieb and Nick Wright definitely do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to money going to college athletes.

Despite both being employed by the same company, Gottlieb, who is never afraid to voice his opinion, fired back at Wright Friday regarding his take on college football’s NIL rule in the wake of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s claiming Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher “brought” his recruits.

On Wright’s morning show, First Things First, the colorful broadcaster had a two minute rant about how he’s happy that schools are finding workarounds under the new NIL rules implemented by the NCAA to pay the players for their name, image and likeness. He said the universities have been taking advantage of college athletes, particularly black student athletes from rough backgrounds, for years and now that the tide has shifted, people are freaking out.

“The general sports public wants extra regulations and extra rules, is keeping their thumbs on college football and basketball players because their is an undeniable and always has been an incredibly uncomfortable racial context of the guys,” Wright said. “It’s mostly young black men from mostly really tough circumstances, generating billions of dollars. Who’s sharing in that?” Wright asked.

“An overwhelmingly white administration, an overwhelmingly white coaching staff, and an overwhelmingly white non-revenue sports. How do we pay for the tennis team and golf team, ah men’s football and basketball. What do they get? A scholarship. Be happy, we pulled you out the hood. Maybe you’ll have a better life if somehow you make the league or do something with your education.”

Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known. That resulted in a back and forth between the two sports personalities on Twitter.

Gottlieb continued, claiming the NIL rule puts exceedingly high expectations on the student-athletes before ever stepping on campus and are given something without having to “earn it.”

“The sad part is this push to pay SAs before they have even played a game, taken a class or assimilated to a school sets them up for failure in their post sports career. If you have been given before you earn, where is the motivation when you get to the real world?”

Wright then took a shot at Gottlieb, saying it always feels good that his take is the complete opposite of Gottlieb’s.

The dialogue continued with Gottlieb throwing shots at Wright, calling his take “embarrassing” and mentioning how he failed to point out the educational imbalance in society during his take. Wright asked Gottlieb what are some of the other “fake racism” takes that he claims are out in the media.

Gottlieb is no stranger to conflict with his FOX Sports colleagues. Troy Aikman called his opinion on Andrew Luck’s retirement “total bullshit” in a tweet from 2019. More recently, Gottlieb got into it with Speak for Yourself co-host Emmanuel Acho after Gottlieb ripped his brother Sam’s “Top 5 QB list” on First Take. He also called out Skip Bayless for name-calling.

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Bob Cousy: ‘JJ Redick Is Untalented Using Me To Get Attention On ESPN’

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

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Celtics legend Bob Cousy was not too happy with J.J. Redick dissing his game and credibility as an all-time great player.

During an appearance on First Take, Redick got into a fiery debate with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about whether Chris Paul deserves to be mentioned among the best point guards in NBA history despite another disappointing exit from the playoffs. Russo claimed that Paul is “no Bob Cousy” which prompted Redick to retort, saying Cousy couldn’t even dribble with his left hand and called the players he played against, “plumbers” and “firemen.”

“Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series,” Reddick said. “Let’s celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can’t compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA.”

The 93-old Cousy made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio where he went scorched earth on Redick, basically calling the ESPN analyst “untalented” while listing some of the players that he went up against in his era.

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

“So when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. And I’ll just give you a few of the names of these firemen that I played with and against during those years. How about Bill Russell, the aforementioned, not too bad a player. Wilt Chamberlain, remember that guy? He wasn’t bad. I guess he must have fought fires as well. But in any event, Wilt Chamberlain.

“Still the best, in my judgment, small forward that ever played the game, a guy named Elgin Baylor. A couple of point guards that weren’t too shabby, my colleague who also had an award created [in his name], guy named Oscar Robertson, who was pound for pound the best player perhaps in the game.”

Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star compared to Cousy’s 13 appearances.

One thing Paul and Bob Cousy do have in common is their aptitude for leadership. Cousy developed and started the NBA players union in 1954, being named its first president. Paul served in that same role from 2013-2021.

The two men also share similarities off the court. Cousy was a stanch anti-racist advocate during the civil rights era 50s and 60s, when it wasn’t all that popular to so. Paul has also spoke out on issues regarding race, working with commissioner Adam Silver to address some of the issues facing the black community.

Maybe the two have more in common than either Redick or Russo would like to admit.

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Cole Cubelic: ‘A Lot Of Media Wasn’t Prepared To Talk About Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher’

“There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

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The comments from Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding other teams allegedly “buying” their players through the new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has set the college football world abuzz.

In his comments, Saban directly accused Texas A&M Head Coach and one of his former assistant coaches at Louisiana State University Jimbo Fisher of unreasonably using NIL deals to recruit college football players, and remarked that the system as a whole has created a fundamental disadvantage for certain programs. Additionally, he stated that Alabama has never tried to lure a player solely based on these deals; however, he left the door open to potentially having to adjust his recruitment strategy to align with the actions of his competitors around him.

Much of the college football world weighed in on the comments, but the voice everyone was waiting to hear was that of Jimbo Fisher, including McElroy and Cubic in the Morning on Jox 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Ala. On Friday morning, the program opened with show co-host Cole Cubelic reacting to the candid response given by Fisher in a news conference carried on multiple media outlets in which Fisher called Saban a “narcissist.”

“When we’ve had coaching feuds before, we’ve had guys go back and forth; we’ve had guys go at one another, sometimes in a little bit more of a subtle way; sometimes maybe a less-confrontational way,” Cubelic said. “Jimbo even said it yesterday – he’s not afraid of confrontation; he’s not worried about it.”

An aspect of what has made this discordance between two highly-accomplished and eminent coaches a story being followed across the college football landscape is the fact that it has taken place within the public sphere. When Saban appeared on SiriusXM Radio and apologized for singling out Texas A&M in his comments from earlier in the week, there was not much emotion involved, according to Cubelic. Fisher’s remarks in his press conference though, were of a completely different sentiment – and may have escalated the situation altogether.

“Debates often turn to arguments as soon as emotions become involved,” Cubelic said. “…Jimbo Fisher yesterday at 10 a.m. – that felt emotional; that felt personal, and that one had to dig deep. Jimbo Fisher said yesterday he doesn’t anticipate things are going to be repaired. I don’t see in a way that these two sort of get things back in line.”

“The bridge is burned both ways,” added show co-host Greg McElroy. “They’ll probably shake hands; do what they need to do pregame. But as far as any love lost? Nah, that’s a wrap.”

A part of this story that remains seminal when reporting or commenting on it is listening to the full extent of the comments from both Saban and Fisher on the situation so as to more effectively contextualize and comprehend the situation. Cubelic said that he did multiple interviews on different programs yesterday, and some of the interviewers, as he anticipated, had solely listened to portions of the comments, rendering them not completely prepared to have a truly pertinent discussion about the topic at hand.

“We said it here on the show yesterday morning — right out of the gate — people are going to take the Miami; the Jackson State; and the Texas A&M stuff, and they’re going to clip it and they’re going to play it and they’re going to read it and that’s all they’re going to pay attention to,” said Cubelic. “There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies visit Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 8 in a matchup that will sure to be a primary topic of discussion in the weeks and months leading to kickoff.

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