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WDAE, 92.9 ESPN, 107.5/1070 The Fan Find Positives in Spring Book

Brandon Contes

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With COVID-19 forcing a sports hiatus, radio brands were dealt unique challenges in the spring book, leading to mixed ratings around the country. Even without sports, a few markets were able to generate some positive numbers. 

Without sports and having fewer daily commuters during drive time hours, ratings for 92.9 ESPN in Memphis were down less than a point overall and even saw some of their weekday shows increase for the spring book. 

In weekday prime (M-F 6a – 7p) for their target demo of men 25-54, 92.9 equaled their winter performance, tied for fourth place. With the stream included, their weekday prime share was down from a 7 to a 6.1. Their simulcast of Golic and Wingo produced a Top-10 finish with a 4 share, but 92.9’s mid-morning and early afternoon hours are where the station really shined during the spring quarter. 

From 9a – 11a, The Geoff Calkins Show finished second overall with the stream, earning an impressive 10.4 share, a more than 2-point jump from the winter book and year-over-year. During the 11am – 2pm block, John Martin and Jason Smith were Top-8 with a 5.6 share, down from their second-place finish year-over-year. Like Calkins, Mark Giannotto and Jeffrey Wright also saw their numbers increase without sports, earning an 8.6 share, tied for third place. 

In afternoon drive, The Gary Parrish Show was down during his 4 – 7p block, but still finished in the Top-10 with a 4.3 share. 

Indianapolis’ 107.5/1070 The Fan declined from the winter book, but delivered Top-10 performances across the board even without the support of sports in the spring. In weekday prime, The Fan finished seventh, with a 5.7 share. Their morning show with Jeff Rickard and Joe Staysniak dipped from third during the winter, to fifth in the spring book earning a 6.8 share. 

From noon – 3p, the Fan’s midday show hosted by Dan Dakich finished the quarter eighth with a 5.4 share, down about two points from the winter. In afternoon drive The Ride with JMV (John Michael Vincent) dropped more than three points from the winter book, but still increased year-over-year, finishing ninth with a 5.4 share. 

Tampa Bay’s 95.3 WDAE enjoyed some strong performances during the spring book while sports stories were thin. WDAE placed eighth in weekday prime, up 31% year-over-year for their target demo. Tom Brady signed with the Buccaneers late in the winter quarter, but the impact still likely boosted the market’s sports interest during the spring book. 

With less people commuting during the drive time shows, WDAE’s midday hours saw the strongest growth. Their simulcast of The Dan Patrick Show finished fifth, a huge jump from their 21st place performance last year. Locally, from noon – 3p, The Pat and Aaron Show were Top-8, a significant improvement from their mid-teens showing last year.

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.

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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