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The Salt Lake City Sports Radio Ratings

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Salt Lake City may be well known for its amazing scenery, and passion for college sports and Utah Jazz basketball, but it also serves as the home to three local sports radio stations. It’s a city where many successful format programmers and personalities have served before moving on to other locations. Case in point, Scott Masteller, Kevin Graham, Ryan Hatch, John Lund, Ian Fitzsimmons, and Jeff Austin have all spent time in the crossroads of the west, and there are many others that could be added to that list.

I was fortunate to receive an update on the February ratings and am excited to share it with you because it’s not everyday that we get a deeper look at the way this market performs. I’ve listened to all three stations at various points during the past few months/years, and I can tell you that there is a lot of strong underrated talent here.

As you review this information, I remind you that we’re looking at a one month snapshot with Men 25-54. Depending on the time of year, and what catches fire locally, things can change quickly. None the less, here is how all three brands finished for the month of February. Due to shows airing at different times on each station, I’ve listed their performances in accordance with each of their timeslots.

97.5/1280 The Zone (Simulcast combined number): 

  • David James and Patrick Kinahan (DJ and PK): 6a-10a = 4.6 (8th)
  • Jake Scott and Tony Parks: 10a-12p = 6.3 (3rd)
  • Hans Olsen and Scott Garrard: 12p-3p = 6.4 (3rd)
  • Spence Checketts and Gordon Monson: 3p-7p = 6.0 (4th)

*** From 10a-7p the radio station is very healthy. Each show delivers a 6 share and is inside the Top 4. That’s outstanding. The morning show is lower but still inside the Top 10. The challenge for the brand is to utilize those 10a-7p hours to direct the audience back to morning drive to help DJ and PK. Regardless, they’re in great shape and having the Jazz games on the air helps the station add cume outside of 6a-7p. They’re well established as the market leader and have a number of personalities with great history in the marketplace. One thing I’ve observed in previous listening, is that there’s a feeling that each show pulls for one another. That chemistry and energy is infectious. 

ESPN 700 (Flagship station for the University of Utah): 

  • Mike and Mike: 5a-8a = 3.4 (10th)
  • Dan Patrick: 8a-11a = 4.1 (10th)
  • Bill Riley 11a-2p = 2.9 (14th) ( moved into this slot one week into the book)
  • Sean O’Connell 2p-7p = 2.6 (18th) (was with Riley for week #1, added Keith Stubbs to the show but he left 2 weeks later)

*** 700’s national shows outperform their local ones which tells you that the audience likes that they offer national perspectives. Mike and Mike and Dan Patrick are well known personalities and their styles are a hit in this market. Riley moved into middays during this month and only had 3 weeks in the book so it’s way too early to tell how his show will impact the station. Most changes take a long period of time to make inroads. The immediate challenge is stabilizing afternoons where Riley and O’Connell were a solid pair and Keith Stubbs was added but vacated the program after a few weeks. OC is an excellent talent and if they find the right host to team with him or position him strongly as a solo act, they might be able to make a bigger dent. They’re popping a Top 10 performance between 5a-11a so there’s definitely an opportunity to re-direct listeners to their local offerings between 11a-7p.

1320 KFAN:

  • Tim Lewis: 6a-10a = 0.9 (27th) (Lewis was only on for 2 weeks during this month)
  • Jim Rome: 10a-1p = 1.5 (25th)
  • Doug Gottlieb: 1p-3p = 0.9 (31st)
  • Kyle Gunther and Ben Anderson: 3p-7p = 2.4 (20th)

*** Program Director Chris Hoffman recently added Tim Lewis to stabilize mornings so this month’s number is not an accurate reflection of how he’s performing since he wasn’t on for the entire month. Much like 700’s changes, it’ll take time to see how the audience responds to the new morning show and March will offer the first full month report. That said, it’s clear that the station’s afternoon show is their best asset. If the station can get an even bigger lift out of afternoons, and a stronger result in mornings, they’ll have a story to share, and can then focus on ways to increase the productivity in middays.

Overall, The Zone performed on a different level than 700 and 1320 for the month of February. If you add the Jazz into the mix, the station certainly has some advantages beyond the 6a-7p window.

One thing that stood out was the way the market consumed sports talk programming in afternoon drive. To see The Zone deliver a 6.0, 700 produce a 2.6, and 1320 turn in a 2.4, shows that the local market is willing to listen to three different sports radio options. That’s encouraging and should keep each show on their toes because a lackluster effort can lead to the competition gaining some momentum.

Additionally, it’s clear that for this month (and it’s been this way previously too), Dan Patrick and Mike and Mike perform on a much higher level locally than Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb. That’s a positive for 700, and a challenge for 1320. If a station can perform in the Top 10 with a national show and not take on adding expenses, it’s a huge positive for the company’s bottom line.

Going forward, The Zone’s top priority is to sustain where they are 10a-7p, and aim to perform even stronger. If the morning show can sneak into the Top 5, that’s going to really the station’s narrative in the local marketplace. It’s clear, their consistency is excellent, and their talent and branding are high profile, which makes for a winning combination. Until proven otherwise, they’re the brand to beat.

For 700, having Mike and Mike and Dan Patrick deliver in the Top 10 is great for business. If the new local shows get a chance to bake and gain some consistency with the audience, that could help create some nice traction heading into the fall, when they add Utah Football to the mix. The focus at this time is to figure out if OC is best suited to host solo, and if not, who to pair with him. If set up and positioned properly, and heavily cross promoted during the national programs, the station could make further inroads and solidify its position as the number two rated brand in the market.

Last but not least, 1320 added a talented morning guy in Tim Lewis, and he needs time to become familiar to the audience. The morning rating right now is not good, but once Lewis settles in, and makes a deeper connection with local people, I’d expect those numbers to improve. If it can produce in similar fashion to the afternoon show, they’ll be making good progress. Then the focus shifts to middays, and whether or not their national shows have a higher ceiling. If they don’t, the station will have to examine whether or not it makes business sense to add a local show in middays. The immediate goal is to build consistency and show improvement during both drive times. If they can do that, then they’ll have a chance to close the gap on second place.

Sports Radio News

Greg Hill to Jeff Van Gundy: ‘You Sounded Like You Were on the Bucks’ Payroll’

“After a pregnant pause, Van Gundy answered through laughter, throwing a zinger right back at Hill and crew.”

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ESPN

They are nothing if not blunt in Boston. That was the case Tuesday morning when The Greg Hill Show welcomed ABC/ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy to the program to preview the Eastern Conference Finals.

Overall, it was a cordial visit. Questions mostly focused on the headlines related to officiating throughout the playoffs and what the Celtics would have to do to make it to the NBA Finals, which Van Gundy thinks will happen.

“I think Boston’s been the best team in the league,” he said. “I think they’re gonna win it all this year.”

Greg Hill said after the conference semi-finals matchup with Milwaukee, he was surprised to hear Jeff Van Gundy felt that way.

“Jeez, I’m glad to hear you say that,” Hill told Van Gundy. “It almost sounded like you were on the Bucks’ payroll at times during that last series.”

After a pregnant pause, Van Gundy answered through laughter, throwing a zinger right back at Hill and crew.

“You know what? I get used to that and then the Bucks people say I want Boston to win. Not that you guys would be homers or anything.”

Jeff Van Gundy will join Mike Breen and Mark Jackson at the broadcast table for the Eastern Conference Finals on ABC and ESPN. Game 1 between the Celtics and Heat is scheduled for Tuesday night at 8:30 in Miami.

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Sports Radio News

99.7 The Fox Becomes New Carolina Panthers Flagship

“The new deal represents a return to The Fox for the Panthers. The station was the team’s flagship from 2000 through 2004.”

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The Carolina Panthers are on the move in Charlotte. The team is leaving WBT. Their new radio home will be 99.7 The Fox, iHeartMedia’s classic rock station.

The station will carry all Panthers game broadcasts, the Panthers pregame and postgame shows as well the team’s weekly coach’s show. There will also be an on-site presence for every home game at Bank of America Stadium.

“We are thrilled to increase iHeartSports NFL partnerships with the addition of the Carolina Panthers. The passion between a sports team and its fan base is one-of-a-kind, and we’re thrilled to expand the Carolina Panthers’ reach to their passionate supporters with our new multi-media deal,” Kevin LeGrett, President of iHeartMedia Sports, said in a press release. “iHeart’s reach in Charlotte is unprecedented, meaning more fans will hear their favorite team than ever before. The partnership will include broadcast, streaming, podcast, events, marketing and promotional elements which will drive results for the Panthers!”

“The team at 99.7 The Fox is delighted to once again be the broadcast home of the Carolina Panthers, bringing best-in-class content from the team to its dedicated and passionate fans,” Dave Carwile, President of iHeartMedia Multi-Platform Group – Charlotte, added. “We know how special the relationship and connection between the city of Charlotte, the Panthers and the fan base is, and we’re thrilled to enhance that bond with an expanded coverage area reaching more fans on 99.7 The Fox. We can’t wait to get started.”

The new deal represents a return to The Fox for the Panthers. The station was the team’s flagship from 2000 through 2004. Every other year of the franchise’s existence, their games have been heard on WBT.

“The Panthers are incredibly grateful for our partnership with Radio One, and the role that WBT has played in sharing some of the greatest moments in franchise history for 22 seasons, including each of the past 17,” Jake Burns, Chief Commercial Officer for the Carolina Panthers, said.

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Sports Radio News

Indiana Sports Talk Station Set To Flip Formats

“The promos say that station owner Woof Boom Broadcasting is “building a new radio station for Muncie and Delaware County”.

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Sports fans in Muncie, Indiana may soon lose their favorite sports station. Listeners to Muncie Sports 92.5 have heard promos teasing a new station coming to the frequency.

The promos say that station owner Woof Boom Broadcasting is “building a new radio station for Muncie and Delaware County”. The station has also changed its call letters. What was WXFN is now WMUN.

Muncie Sports 92.5 airs on two signals. 1340 AM is a 1000 watt station. 92.5 FM is a translator signal.

The station airs an hour-long local show hosted by Mark Foerster on weekdays at 4 pm. It carries syndicated programming from FOX Sports Radio and is the local affiliate for the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Cincinnati Reds, IndyCar Series, Ball State University football and women’s basketball, and three local high schools.

ESPN 680 is still available from nearby Marion,IN. Two Indianapolis sports talk stations are strong enough to be heard in the town as well according to Radio Locator.

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