A polarizing election featuring two of the most high profile and controversial personalities of our lifetime wasn’t enough to slow down sports radio in the nation’s capital during the November book. Although News/Talk still occupied the top of the ratings ladder, Chris Kinard and his team at 106.7 The Fan, and Chris Johnson and his staff at ESPN 980, the market’s two leading sports stations, have plenty to feel good about.
Starting with 106.7 The Fan, they retained bragging rights as the market’s top rated sports station, finishing in the top three with Men 25-54 6a-7p (5.9), and in the top 5 (5.0) with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. The station’s morning and midday shows also placed in the top 3, and the afternoon show was just four tenths of a point off of placing inside the top 5.
Another encouraging sign for The Fan is their year to year growth. Twelve months ago, the Sports Junkies produced a 4.8 and Chad Dukes’ afternoon show delivered a 4.5. Both shows have since increased their overall share. Grant and Danny, The Fan’s midday show, was slightly down in share year to year, but they’ve maintained strong consistency while fluctuating between 2nd and 3rd place.
Meanwhile at ESPN 980, there were also some very positive signs.
Year to year the station saw a huge gain in afternoons, soaring from a 2.7 to 4.4, which was good enough for 9th place. Inside The Locker Room which airs weekdays from 1p-4p, climbed from a 2.9 to 4.2 to finish 10th. And despite losing local icon Tony Kornheiser to the podcasting world in June, 980 lost little momentum in his timeslot, as Bram Weinstein produced a 3.9 and cemented a spot inside the top 10. Three of 980’s core four weekday programs were ranked in the top 10.
Another item that should have the 980 staff feeling hopeful is the progress being made in mornings. Chris Cooley and Kevin Sheehan took over the timeslot in April, and although they have more work to do in terms of growing the time slot’s overall share, the station is now local and stable in that position. Their ratings are also up year to year.
Given the turmoil that surrounded 980 last year (the station hired Jason Reid and Chris Paul, then pulled the show before it started, reversed course and let it debut, only to cancel the show for low ratings 7 months later) that progress is something the station can build upon.
At a time where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton captivated the country and fueled increased media attention and conversation, it would’ve been understandable if both stations experienced a decline, especially in a market where politics takes center stage. Fortunately though for both sports stations that wasn’t the case. They provided a much needed distraction for their local audiences, and that approach led them to a strong November, and healthy year to year gains.
One thing to take into account as you process the information below, the weekday lineups for these two stations are structured differently. To make it easier to consume, I’ve listed both brands individually so you can see how each show and daypart performed. From strictly a ratings perspective, The Fan is comfortably in front in the head to head battle. 980 though has done a nice job of making inroads.
106.7 The Fan:
- M-F 6a-7p – 5.9 (3rd)
- M-SU 6a-Mid – 5.0 (5th)
- The Sports Junkies (5a-10a) – 6.7 (3rd)
- Grant & Danny (10a-2p) – 6.3 (3rd)
- Chad Dukes (2p-7p) – 5.1 (7th)
- Evenings (7p-12a) – 3.6 (11th)
- M-F 6a-7p – 3.7 (12th)
- M-SU 6a-Mid – 3.4 (tied for 13th)
- Al Galdi (5a-7a) – 2.3 (14th)
- Cooley and Kevin (7a-11a) – 2.9 (13th)
- Bram Weinstein (11a-1p) – 3.9 (tied for 10th)
- Inside The Locker Room (1p-4p) – 4.2 (10th)
- The Sports Reporters w/ Czaban/Pollin (4p-7p) – 4.4 (9th)
- Evenings (7p-12a) – 1.4 (22nd)
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.”