The spring book is officially over and for some sports radio stations, it’s time to celebrate. For others, it’s an opportunity to analyze, adjust, and turn the attention to improving during the summer ratings period.
Although most brands examine a number of different demographics and base their success and revenue potential off of a variety of factors, the focus of this column revolves around Men 25-54. That’s the demographic that most sports stations analyze most.
One last note to pass along, not every major market has forwarded their latest quarterly performance. I anticipate a few others becoming available in the next day or two so keep an eye out for additional stories.
In the meantime, here are how a couple of top cities performed during the months of April, May and June.
No market has fueled sports radio’s success better in recent years than Boston. WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub have consistently generated double digit performances, but it’s been The Hub who have been in the driver’s seat during recent years. However, the tide appears to be turning in WEEI’s direction.
In the competitive daypart of morning drive, WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan won the spring book, beating The Hub’s Toucher and Rich. K&C finished a point and a half in front of their counterparts and were the top rated morning show in the market in multiple categories including Men 18+, Men 25-54, Men 35-64 and Adults 25-54. An even more impressive statistic was the head to head performance during the month of June. K&C’s share was slightly above a fifteen share, nearly six points higher than T&R who were in the low nine’s. You can read more on the morning show’s success by clicking here.
The news was also positive for WEEI’s midday show featuring Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria. OMF finished in 2nd, beating Zolak and Bertrand of The Hub who came in 4th. The month of June specifically saw WEEI hold a 3 point advantage in middays.
The Hub did claim victory in afternoons, thanks to a solid performance from Felger and Massarotti. The show finished in 1st, 2 full points ahead of Dale and Holley with Keefe who were 2nd. However, keep your eye on this race moving forward. During the month of June, DHK were within one tenth of point of F&M. Will that continue or is it a one month aberration? Only time will tell but each side had reason to feel optimistic.
Overall, The Hub won the spring book among Men 25-54 by one tenth of a point during the weekday prime hours of M-F 6a-7p. They were also five tenths of a point in front M-SU 6a-Mid. But June saw WEEI begin to separate itself from the Hub, winning M-F 6a-7p by three and a half points and M-SU 6a-Mid by two and a half points.
Will that continue going forward? It’ll be an interesting story worth following.
In the city of brotherly love, WIP is back on track. The radio station finished the quarter in 3rd place among Men 25-54. The Fanatic experienced a minor setback, dropping to 11th.
As usual, Angelo Cataldli dominated in morning drive. The 66-year old WIP morning man has been a steady force for the radio station over two decades. The only question is whether or not he’ll continue to lead the way beyond 2017. Cataldi’s contract is set to expire at the end of this year.
Aside from Cataldi’s win, WIP also received some positive news in middays. Despite being together for less than a year, Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie passed 97.5 The Fanatic’s Harry Mayes and Rob Ellis. DeCamara and Ritchie finished 4th, which was up from 9th last year when Michael Barkann and Ike Reese were WIP’s midday program. Mayes and Ellis on The Fanatic came in 11th. They were in 8th during the same period twelve months ago. Ellis has since announced he’s leaving The Fanatic which will make the midday battle even more intriguing going forward.
Not all of the news was bad though for The Fanatic. The radio station recorded another win in afternoons thanks to Mike Missanelli. However, WIP’s Chris Carlin and Ike Reese have been making strides and are within striking distance of The Fanatic’s ratings king. For the spring book, Missanelli placed 3rd. Carlin and Reese came in 4th.
Political chaos wasn’t enough to slow down 106.7 The Fan’s momentum. The CBS sports radio station finished 3rd with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid and M-F 6a-7p.
Driving The Fan’s success for the spring were the Sports Junkies. The station’s popular morning show was above an eight share to command 3rd place with Men 25-54. Grant and Danny in middays and Chad Dukes in afternoons also turned in impressive quarters finishing 4th during their time slots.
Elsewhere in the market, ESPN 980 finished 14th with Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid. Steve Czaban and Cooley and Kevin tied for the best rated show on the station. Both were slightly above a three share during their hours of operation.
The spring produced another quarter of smiles and success for both area sports radio brands. The return of the world champion Chicago Cubs and playoff appearances by the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks were helpful factors in fueling the interest of Chicago sports fans.
670 The Score rode the wave to victories among Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid. The station was 1st for the full week and 2nd during weekday prime hours.
In mornings, The Score enjoyed a three point advantage over ESPN 1000 thanks to a great performance from Mully and Hanley. The Chicago sports radio duo has consistently outperformed Mike and Mike, which airs on ESPN 1000 but originates out of Bristol, CT.
The competition was tighter in middays. As you process these numbers, keep in mind that the two stations configure their lineups differently so there are some overlaps between shows.
Starting with The Score, during the hours of 9a-1p, Spiegel and Parkins nipped ESPN 1000 by one tenth of a point. However, from 1000’s vantage point, David Kaplan’s show airs 9a-12p, and during those 3 hours he was tied with The Score’s program with just under a four share.
1000’s second midday program, Carmen and Jurko, occupy the airwaves between 12p-2p. That means they go head to head against Spiegel and Parkins for 1 hour and opposite The Score’s afternoon show Bernstein and Goff for an hour. During the 12p-2p hours, The Score was ahead by a little more than a point.
Where the news was strong for ESPN 1000 was in afternoon drive where Waddle and Silvy continue to dominate. The popular drive time show finished #1 between 2p-6p with just under a five and a half share. Given that W&S has to overcome a top notch show on The Score and the addition of Chicago Cubs day games during baseball season, that’s nice coo for the folks inside 1000’s offices.
However, for the folks at The Score, Bernstein and Goff’s afternoon program air between the hours of 1p-6p. During those hours, the show placed 1st with a little more than a five share. 1000 trailed by only two tenths of a point during that time frame.
A few hours south in St. Louis, 101 ESPN turned in another impressive quarter. The market’s dominant sports radio station finished 3rd overall with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. They also placed 3rd in weekday prime, M-F 6a-7p. Their prime number was slightly below a nine share.
Leading the way for 101 was The Fast Lane which finished 1st overall in afternoons with better than a ten share. The show was also 1st during the Winter ratings book, making it the top show in the market among Men 25-54 for the first six months. It’s also averaging double digits for the first six months. Very impressive.
The remainder of the station’s weekday programs also enjoyed strong quarterly performances. Bernie Miklasz in mornings, and Kevin Wheeler and The Turn with Anthony Stalter and Chris Duncan in middays all placed 3rd in their respective timeslots.
Local market competitor 590 The Fan KFNS came in 21st during M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid.
Shares for sports radio may not be as high in Los Angeles as they are in other cities but the market is well represented by 710 ESPN Los Angeles and AM570 LA Sports. In the latest spring book, 710 held the advantage, gaining wins M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid with Men 25-54.
In the individual show breakdowns, L.A. mornings with Jorge, Lz and Keyshawn finished six tenths of a point ahead of the Dan Patrick Show. Although the news was positive from a competitive standpoint, the year to year growth is a challenge for both brands. 710 was down close to a point, but 570 has really suffered, losing more than two and a half points over the past twelve months.
Switching to middays, the first hour of Colin Cowherd on 570 bested Thompson and Trudell by two tenths of a point. However, Stephen A. Smith helped the station rebound by holding an eight tenths of a point lead over Cowherd’s final two hours.
710 enjoyed their biggest win between 12-3, when Mason and Ireland nearly doubled Lunchtime with Roggin and Rodney and the first hour of Petros and Money. Mason and Ireland continue to deliver the best ratings of all weekday sports radio programs.
Closing things out, 710 held the advantage in afternoon drive during the hours of 3p-7p PT. Marcellus and Kelvin were nine tenths of a point ahead of 570 to gain bragging rights for the quarter. However, similar to the issue in mornings, afternoons is dealing with some difficulty too. During the past year both stations/shows have lost a full ratings point or more.
- KNBR in San Francisco finished the spring book in 2nd with Men 25-54. 95.7 The Game was also very healthy earning a top 5 finish.
- Arizona Sports 98.7FM in Phoenix enjoyed a top 3 finish among Men 25-54 in weekday prime.
- 710 ESPN remained ahead of Sports Radio 950 KJR in the Seattle spring book.
Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’
“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”
This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams.
This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host.
“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.”
As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week:
“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.”
Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though.
“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”
Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’
“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”
Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.
Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.
“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”
Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.
Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.
“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”
After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.
RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.
“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.
Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.
There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.
Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”
Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.
Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.
“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”
La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”
Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.
While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.
“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”