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98.5 The Sports Hub Dominates Boston Ratings

“Although sporting events were put on hiatus by COVID-19, Tom Brady offered a lot of content early in the spring ratings book, as the quarterback announced he was leaving the Patriots and soon after signed with Tampa Bay.”

Brandon Contes

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Boston’s sports radio ratings are out, and the results are again very one sided with 98.5 The Sports Hub continuing to dominate the market. Former WEEI morning personality and current host of a daily podcast with Barstool, Kirk Minihane was the first to report the numbers Wednesday afternoon.

During the spring book, which spanned March 26 through June 17, The Sports Hub topped the market, posting a strong 11.5, while WEEI 93.7 was eighth with a 4.5 in the target demo of men 25-54. According to Chad Finn of The Boston Globe, both numbers include the stream and WEEI’s rating also accounts for their Providence-based simulcast WVEI. 

With a global pandemic forcing the spring book to take place without the support of live sports, The Sports Hub saw a small decline from their winter number of 11.9. WEEI’s dip was more significant, dropping nearly two points from a 6.4.

Beginning with morning drive, The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich was first with a 12.7 and a significant lead over WEEI’s strongest performing show hosted by Greg Hill, which did a 7.3. Both shows saw declines of almost two full points from the winter book. 

In middays, Zolak & Bertrand also finished first with an impressive 13.8, while WEEI’s Dale and Keefe garnered a 4.2 share for the spring book.  The Sports Hub again maintained their dominance in afternoon drive as Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti were first, showing no signs of slowing despite the global pandemic with a monstrous 16.9, an increase of more than two points from their top-rated winter performance. Felger & Mazz’s Boston sports radio counterpart, OMF (Ordway, Merloni and Fauria) finished the spring book with a 4.3 for WEEI, good for fifth place.  

The evening timeslot was the lone weekday window that didn’t see The Sports Hub finish first overall. The Adam Jones Show, which airs from 6 – 11p, finished third with a 6.4. WEEI’s Mut at Night with Mike Mutnansky earned a 2.9 share, tied for 13th.

Although sporting events were put on hiatus by COVID-19, Tom Brady offered a lot of content early in the spring ratings book, as the quarterback announced he was leaving the Patriots and soon after signed with Tampa Bay. When I spoke to Mike Felger for a BSM feature last month, he called creating content during the sports shutdown “challenging.” But after seeing the ratings, The Sports Hub was clearly up to the challenge and the Boston audience responded.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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