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Mixed Results In New York Summer Book For WFAN, 98.7 ESPN NY

“Analyzing NYC’s sports radio ratings can be very complicated. 98.7 ESPN New York produces one total number. WFAN, which is owned by Audacy, conducts their business differently.”

Jason Barrett

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Photo Credit: Atomic Archive

The New York summer book results are finally in. Though they were released a month ago, a combination of other projects requiring my focus and information taking longer to track down made it tougher to tackle this sooner. Usually the NY newspapers report the results quickly but a ratings story wasn’t written up for the quarter for some reason, so we’ll dive into it now.

First, presenting NYC’s sports radio ratings can be very complicated. If you need a drink after reading this, I understand. 98.7 ESPN New York reports their numbers in one lump sum, Over The Air listening and Streaming combined. The preferred way to showcase measured listening. WFAN on the other hand, which is owned by Audacy, operates differently. They produce an Over The Air and Streaming number, which then needs to be combined to show a fair head to head comparison against their local competition.

Some will say only the OTA numbers should be counted. That’s been Nielsen’s message time and again. Others will say Streaming should be added since people are indeed listening on platforms other than radio and companies have different approaches to generating sales. We’ve consistently tried to present these stories showing a complete picture of what’s taking place in a market so that’s how we’re going to present information for the summer book. We’ll make it clear where OTA performance benefits one station over the other, but given that two quality brands are delivering listenership thru a combination of radio, phone, smart speaker and computer listening, we’re going to include the streaming numbers since it does represent actual listening. The day that each station and company presents one collective number to show how they stack up against local competition can’t come soon enough.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the summer book for New York City produced mixed results. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with Men 25-54, WFAN came in 6th with a combined 4.1 (3.5 OTA, 0.6 streaming) while 98.7 ESPN New York finished 12th with a 2.6. If you take away The Fan’s streaming number and go solely by OTA listening, WFAN holds a 3.5 to 2.6 advantage on ESPN NY.

During weekday prime, WFAN delivered a 4.5 (3.7 OTA and 0.8 Streaming) to finish 4th. 98.7 ESPN NY was 14th with a 3.3. share. The race gets tighter without streaming, with The Fan winning 3.7 to 3.3.

Due to both stations showcasing local shows during different hours, we’re going to concentrate on one brand at a time. Starting with WFAN, the station received a 4th place finish from ‘Boomer and Gio’ in morning drive. Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti produced a 5.3 share which represents 4.6 OTA and 0.7 streaming. The show’s ranking obviously declines without streaming included. Boomer and Gio were down from the spring when they ranked 2nd.

In middays on WFAN, Marc Malusis and Maggie Gray recorded a 4th place finish for the quarter courtesy of a 4.5 share (3.2 OTA, 1.3 streaming). Moose and Maggie were 3rd in the spring therefore they lost one position this book. Once again, this takes into account the addition of streaming. Without it, the show ranks lower.

Moving to afternoons, Craig Carton and Evan Roberts finished 6th between the hours of 2p-6p if you go by the combined performance of a 3.6 OTA and 0.7 stream, which lifts them to a 4.3 share. The show drops further back if you only count their OTA performance. One issue with the 2p-6p numbers, they don’t take into account the afternoon show’s final hour. Yankees baseball programming does cut into that hour often but the station does promote the program airing weekdays from 2p-7p. Full data for 2p-7p wasn’t available, but I was able to gather data for 2p-6:30p when Carton and Roberts go head to head with ESPN NY’s Michael Kay Show. Craig and Evan recorded a 3.5 OTA and 0.7 stream for a 4.2, which put them in the mix for 6th if using combined numbers. If streaming is eliminated, the show slides way back to 13th.

Most in the industry who read this are going to focus on the Carton/Roberts-Michael Kay matchup since the afternoon drive battle is one that consistently produces a lot of interest. From The Fan’s perspective, not counting the 6p-7p hour as a Carton and Roberts hour when they’re barely on makes logical sense. The flip side is that the show also benefits a number of times during the summer months from Yankee games airing during the afternoon, something the Kay Show doesn’t receive, so discounting an hour that the station bills as part of its schedule isn’t perfect either.

Regardless of all of that, the bottom line, Carton and Roberts were down this book from the spring. The show was 3rd with a 5.7 (combined performance) in the spring book after scoring their first head to head afternoon win against Kay’s show in the winter book. Given the station and show’s expectations, whether using the combined performance (6th) or OTA ratings (13th), the program didn’t hit as expected. Rebounding in the fall book is going to be a top priority for Craig and Evan.

For 98.7 ESPN New York, the top story was two shows finishing in the Top 10 and one of them, The Michael Kay Show, beating the competition head to head. For the station as a whole in weekday prime, 98.7 ESPN NY finished the summer book in 14th place with a 3.3 share. That was down from the spring when the brand registered a 9th place finish with a 3.7 share.

Among the station’s weekday shows, The Michael Kay Show with Michael Kay, Don LaGreca and Peter Rosenberg turned in a 4.3 share to finish 6th between the hours of 2p-6:30p. That was one tenth of a point above Carton and Roberts (4.2) if you use the combined numbers, and eight tenths of a point (3.5) better if going by the OTA performance. The shows also run neck and neck for 6th if using combined performance, and 6th vs. 13th if going by the OTA numbers.

In the station’s other slots, Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty and Dave Rothenberg delivered a 9th place finish during the hours of 5a-8a. The morning trio popped a 4.0 share during the book, continuing to perform in the Top 10 as they did in the spring. The station’s second half of morning drive, ESPN Radio’s ‘Keyshawn, JWill and Max’ which airs locally from 8a-10a finished 18th with a 2.0 share.

Switching to middays, Mike Greenberg’s national show, which airs from 10a-12p registered a 14th place tie with a 2.4 share. The news was better during the Noon to 3p hours as Bart Scott and Alan Hahn scored a 3.0 share to finish the book tied for 10th. Bart and Hahn have now produced back to back Top 10 finishes after starting off the year with a 12th place finish in the winter book.

Looking ahead to the fall, WFAN and 98.7 ESPN NY should both improve. During the 2020 fall book, Boomer & Gio were 1st in mornings, Moose & Maggie were 3rd in middays, and afternoons, which featured two months of Benigno & Roberts and the first month of Carton & Roberts combined to finish 5th. For 98.7 ESPN NY, Michael Kay was 2nd last fall, mornings were 14th, and middays came in 9th.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Peterlin Takes Over Night Show On 92.3 The Fan

“”Being the guy that you turn on after a day of listening to Ken and Anthony or Andy and Jeff or Nick and Dustin is truly an honor and a privilege. I won’t take that for granted.””

Jordan Bondurant

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92.3 The Fan in Cleveland now has a permanent host for its nightly show in Jonathan Peterlin.

Peterlin wrote in a post for the Audacy station’s website on Tuesday that his show will be called Overtime with Jonathan Peterlin and will air each night starting at 7 p.m.

“This is a dream job,” he said. “Being the guy that you turn on after a day of listening to Ken and Anthony or Andy and Jeff or Nick and Dustin is truly an honor and a privilege. I won’t take that for granted.”

Peterlin had been the afternoon update anchor at 92.3 The Fan since 2016, even hosting on weekends and on a fill-in basis. Prior to that, he spent three years in a similar role at Yahoo Sports Radio.

He wrote that listeners in Cleveland will not need an introduction or reintroduction to who he is.

“You know me and I know you,” he said. “We’ve spent the past nearly 7 years getting to know each other on a daily basis…We were there for each other. Along the way I hope that I’ve earned your trust. Through the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs.”

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Sports Radio News

Layoffs Hit Pro Football Focus

“The reduction in workforce comes less than 18 months after securing a $50 million investment from Silver Lake.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Pro Football Focus has laid off 16 employees, according to a report from Front Office Sports.

The reduction in workforce comes less than 18 months after securing a $50 million investment from Silver Lake.

The company, which Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth owns a majority, still employs just over 200 people.

NFL reporter Doug Kyed was among the layoffs. Kyed had been at PFF since July 2021.

Additionally, 11 interns were also let go.

While PFF remains popular and profitable from a football analytics perspective, there had been a shift since the Silver Lake investment into attracting more sports betting and fantasy football customers. The FOS report indicated a chunk of the $50 million funding was used to develop an iPhone app.

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Sports Radio News

Laurence Holmes: Tim Jenkins Twitter Beef With Mike North Proves The Score Has Gotten Smarter

“Where now every show has a film guy. Like we’re not just out here just guessing. To a certain extent we are, but we go get confirmation and information from people who are smarter than us.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Former NFL quarterback Tim Jenkins had an interesting back and forth on Twitter with former 670 The Score host Mike North over Bears quarterback Justin Fields. Jenkins broke down a piece of film from Chicago’s game against Green Bay on Sunday, saying he didn’t agree with the notion that Fields doesn’t go through his progressions and is more of a runner.

North disagreed, saying wide receiver Dante Pettis was wide open on that particular play, and that Fields missed him.

Jenkins responded, saying North’s take was “not intellectually honest.”

In his weekly appearance on Bernstein & Holmes on The Score, Jenkins talked about the exchange not knowing North’s connection to the station.

“There’s a radio guy up there, Mike North, he was real mad,” Jenkins said. “And I tried to handle it gently because like listen, the first thing in his bio was he was born in 1952. And if my grand-pappy is on Twitter roasting somebody, I hope to handle them gently. And I tried to.”

Host Laurence Holmes said it was truly a meta moment for their show and the station. He talked about how having access to a guy like Jenkins is a sign the station, like many others have done across the country, have grown with the game.

“It speaks to the evolution of this radio station,” Holmes said. “Where now every show has a film guy. Like we’re not just out here just guessing. To a certain extent we are, but we go get confirmation and information from people who are smarter than us.”

The discussion turned to the evolution of the quarterback position in the NFL, and Holmes noted that there are some who just don’t recognize that the game has changed and called for a quarterback to be able to throw accurately but pick up yards and keep plays going with their legs.

“I’m here for the nuance, but people continue to ignore what is a trend,” Holmes said. “And I don’t mean that as a pejorative. The trend in the NFL is dual-threat quarterbacks. Look up and down the rosters.”

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