The August book in New York produced some signs that should make the fall book in the big apple very interesting. For the first time in a while we’re seeing some signs of a much closer race between WFAN and ESPN NY 98.7FM.
As both brands enter the fall, they should each benefit from the addition of play by play. WFAN will add New York Giants football, Brooklyn Nets basketball, and New Jersey Devils hockey. ESPN NY 98.7FM will air New York Jets, New York Knicks, and New York Rangers broadcasts. There’s an outside chance of the Yankees making the playoffs and helping WFAN’s October push, but right now the Bronx Bombers are on the outside looking in so expecting playoff audiences to show up and fuel additional October growth seems far fetched.
In analyzing the August book, WFAN is in familiar territory – leading the race. They win each daypart with Men 25-54, and that news should give CBS New York executives plenty to feel good about. However, although WFAN remains in front, they’re not as far out in front as they have been in the past.
To illustrate the point, I’ve included the current month and last year’s numbers during the same period. This is what many sports stations use to measure their growth. When you look at the comparisons, you’ll see ESPN NY has grown in nearly every category. WFAN during the same period has slightly declined, with morning drive and 10a-12p being the exceptions. Bear in mind, The Fan has had the benefit of airing New York Yankees games during the summer. ESPN NY doesn’t have local baseball games to provide additional cume. That has to make ESPN executives feel encouraged.
What really stands out from ESPN NY’s side in this book is the continued progress in afternoons by The Michael Kay show. The program won the Men 18-34 demo for the fifth consecutive month against WFAN, and gained a full point with Men 25-54 from July to August. It also grew by nearly a point and a half year to year. In August the show trailed WFAN by just six tenths of a point and two ranking positions. Last year they were down two and a half points and eight positions. That’s tremendous progress.
Looking further at ESPN NY, the station has to feel great about the way some of their changes have paid off. The radio station dropped Mike Lupica in favor of Hahn and Humpty, and replaced Colin Cowherd with Dan Le Batard when Colin left for FOX Sports, and in both cases they’re up in the ratings. Mike and Mike have also remained consistent in share while growing in rank. Those are very healthy signs. They’re not as strong M-SU 6a-Mid due to a lack of play by play during the summer months, but once the fall arrives that performance should change.
But let’s not ignore where WFAN is either. They are still the market leader and inside the top 5 in almost every category. I was surprised to see Mike Francesa’s show finish in 4th given his past performances but Fan supporters will point out that Mike was on vacation most of the month. That’s a valid point. However, the ratings system doesn’t measure attendance, and during the same time last year when Mike also took a vacation, the share was six tenths of a point higher.
The Fan does have the better signal, heavier local focus, and personalities who have been the authority on New York sports for decades. Those should serve them well going forward. But if they take their eye off the ball, things can change in a hurry. All they need to do is look at what’s developing in the heart of afternoon drive.
The real questions going forward are, how will these numbers look next August? Or in January 2018 once Mike Francesa leaves? Can ESPN NY make further inroads this fall when both brands carry a ton of play by play and sports radio interest increases? Will WFAN strengthen its performance with younger listeners or does ESPN NY continue to widen the gap with listeners who don’t have built in loyalty to Francesa, Joe and Evan, and Boomer and Carton? Has ESPN NY milked all it can from its national shows or can further strides be made?
There are a lot of questions left to be answered. But for now, let’s be satisfied that there are two great options to listen to in the big apple. Judging from the results, listeners are enjoying the programming provided by both brands.
|WFAN||4.9 (4th)||5.1 (8th)|
|ESPN NY 98.7FM||2.7 (15th)||2.5 (14th)|
|WFAN||5.3 (4th)||5.6 (5th)|
|ESPN NY 98.7FM||3.6 (8th)||3.0 (14th)|
|Boomer & Carton||5.8 (4th)||5.5 (3rd)|
|Mike & Mike||3.4 (9th)||3.5 (12th)|
|Joe & Evan||4.4 (5th)||4.3 (7th)|
|Dan Le Batard||2.5 (12th)||2.0 (16th)|
|Joe/Evan + Francesa||5.1 (6th)||5.5 (6th)|
|Hahn & Humpty||2.7 (11th)||2.6 (14th)|
|Francesa + Somers/NY Yankees||5.5 (4th)||6.0 (4th)|
|The Michael Kay Show||4.9 (6th)||3.5 (12th)|
|Joe & Evan||4.3 (5th)||4.8 (6th)|
|Le Batard/Hahn & Humpty||2.6 (10th)||2.2 (14th)|
|Francesa||5.6 (4th)||6.2 (4th)|
|Hahn & Humpty/Michael Kay||4.2 (8th)||3.2 (13th)|
*** All numbers are for Men 25-54
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”