In the latest spring ratings book in New York both WFAN and 98.7 ESPN NY had reason to feel optimistic. For WFAN, they once again took care of business in the coveted Men 25-54 demographic. ‘Boomer and Carton’ and ‘Beningo and Roberts’ won their respective dayparts, and ratings king Mike Francesa stayed in front of ESPN NY’s combo of ‘Hahn and Humpty’ and Michael Kay from 1p-6:30p with a 6.7 to 3.6 advantage.
However, not all was lost for ESPN NY. In fact, quite the opposite. The brand experienced growth year to year and quarter to quarter with each of their weekday shows. What I want to show you are some signs that I noticed that show the radio station trending upward unlike where they were 12-18 months ago.
For example, Mike and Mike, finished in the Top 10 with Men 25-54 for the spring book. They were 13th at the same time last year. Dan Le Batard who signed on last September, performed higher this spring than Colin Cowherd did last spring. Hahn and Humpty which replaced Mike Lupica last August, finished 12th. That was the best showing in their time slot in over 3 years (they’re up over a half of a point in the past 12 months). And Michael Kay’s show, which added Peter Rosenberg last September, came in 9th. The show was 11th last spring.
The spring book also represented the first time in the history of the Michael Kay Show where the program beat Mike Francesa head to head with Men 18-34. From 3p-6:30p Kay’s program did a 3.1 to Francesa’s 2.9. The difference is even better from 4p-6:30p when Rosenberg enters the mix. Kay’s show during that 2.5 hour block was ahead of Francesa 3.4 to 3.0.
To be fair, Men 18-34 aren’t the money demo that Men 25-54 is, but it shows that the younger listening audience isn’t as loyal to WFAN as others before them have been. That’s an opening that I’m sure Traug Keller, Tim McCarthy and Justin Craig at ESPN New York are looking to take advantage of. It’s an area that I’m sure Mark Chernoff and Chris Olivero at CBS will look closer at next year when figuring out who makes the most sense to replace Francesa.
For now, WFAN’s executives and programming team have to feel quite pleased with their performance. Their sales team should continue to prosper from the station’s powerful performance with Men and Adults 25-54, and their talent are likely enjoying a nice quarterly bonus. The only complaint has to be a dud of a season courtesy of the New York Yankees.
But while things may appear comfortable right now, change is inevitable. With Francesa’s departure less than 18 months away, that has to give CBS officials cause for concern. Replacing Mike’s ratings and revenues are no easy task, especially as the competition continues to gain momentum.
For ESPN New York, they know all about change. They were forced to make a number of moves last summer/fall to improve the station’s performance, and they’re starting to see evidence that those decisions have been viewed favorably by local listeners. The real question is, will more of them be needed? Or will improvements from their current lineup, the Knicks, Jets and Rangers, and Francesa’s departure be enough to cause a drastic shift in the marketplace?
We will learn a lot about the future of both of these brands over the next 18 months. It’s a battle that figures to be very interesting.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research
“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 billion for the Jay Fund.”
Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.
This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.
“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”
Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College. The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.
Parkins & Spiegel Wonder If Trent Dilfer Will Still Appear On Their Show After Taking UAB Job
“I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”
Former ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer has been hired as the new head coach at UAB. However, Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel wondered if that meant Dilfer would no longer be making his weekly appearances on Parkins & Spiegel on 670 The Score.
“Our guy is no longer gonna do a radio show out of Chicago?” Parkins joked, referencing an incident last month where Dilfer failed to say “Parkins & Spiegel“ during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
“I don’t know that that’s the case,” Spiegel replied.
“We don’t know that yet,” producer Shane Riordan said. “We have only shared a couple of text message — Trent and I — this morning and I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”
Later in the show, Parkins and Spiegel jokingly wondered what jobs they could have on UAB’s staff, with Parkins balking at being a sports information director. He did say he would welcome being the offensive player caller, but believed that job might fall under the purview of Dilfer.
Mike Milbury: Jack Edwards Is ‘Awkward’ and ‘A Different Breed’
“Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Boston Bruins television play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has come under fire for recent comments he made about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon and his weight. In turn, Maroon donated money in Edwards’ name to a mental health organization. On The Greg Hill Show Thursday, former NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury both slammed and defended Edwards.
“Jack Edwards. Who’s Jack Edwards? He went through all of junior high school being picked on and bullied,” Milbury said. “Now he’s trying to get even. Wouldn’t you want to smack that guy, Wiggy? Skinny, scrawny, mouthy son of a bitch.”
“Jack is screaming at the TV all the time,” he continued. “I gotta turn it down half the time.”
When asked by Courtney Cox if it was appropriate for Edwards to make comments about Maroon’s weight, noting that the comments were “awkward”, Milbury said Edwards is a divisive presence.
“Jack is awkward. I think half of Boston hates him and half of Boston loves him. He certainly loves the Bruins and is passionate about it but he’s a different breed of cat. Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Milbury was “cancelled” after saying NHL players in the league’s playoff “bubble” weren’t being distracted by their wives and girlfriends being present. He was dropped by the NHL on NBC after the comments and has not resurfaced on a major network.
The comments and questions to Milbury came after Cox and co-host Jermaine Wiggins disagreed about whether Edwards’ comments were warranted.
Wiggins said he “thought hockey players were supposed to be tough”, adding “he’s got a few extra LBs. It’s a joke.”
Cox countered by saying “it’s not a joke. No one should be talking about it. Jack Edwards went on for like five minutes about it. It wasn’t funny.”
Hill said when Wiggins was in the NFL, nobody cared what television broadcasters said about them. Cox argued by saying “in your day, nobody talked to a therapist, either”.