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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

SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

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Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, All Sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in its latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets

The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.

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Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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