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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.”

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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.

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Sports Radio News

Bobby Valentine Tells Boomer & Gio Donald Trump Photo Sunk Him

“Valentine ran as an unaffiliated candidate and fell to Democratic State Rep. Caroline Simmons in the Stamford mayoral race.”

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Courtesy: WFAN

Former MLB manager and ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine joined WFAN’s Boomer and Gio this week to discuss his mayoral campaign in Stamford, Connecticut. 

Valentine ran as an unaffiliated candidate and fell to Democratic State Rep. Caroline Simmons in the race. He claims that a decades-old picture with him and former President Donald Trump sunk his chances.

“We had a photo taken together in 2000 for the World Series and so the last day of the campaign all around the neighborhoods, a picture of Donald and Bobby with the quote ‘only poor people and dumb people pay taxes,’” Valentine told Boomer and Gio about the photo that circulated around the town on Election Day.

“That really helped with the minority vote in my town,” Valentine said sarcastically.

It wasn’t all bad news for Valentine, who was enamored with the campaign-building process, among other things.

“Built it [the campaign] from scratch, which was a wonderful experience” Valentine explained. “Figuring out how to get volunteers together, and money together, and office, and headquarters together. We actually ran a six-month—perfectly clean—campaign. Not one negative word mentioned the entire time. Got 14,000 votes, more than any non-Democrat ever got in our city, and almost won that thing.

“I’m glad that I was the candidate, and I’m also glad that I’m not the mayor because it’s really a tough job. I got four years of my life back when the votes came in.”

Valentine worked at ESPN for a few years in the early part of the 2010s before re-entering the managing circuit with the Boston Red Sox. He famously managed the Mets to one of their two World Series appearances this century in 2000.

“It’s a little bit of the seven-year itch,” Valentine said when asked why he’s always looking for the next obstacle. “I did seven years in Texas; seven years in New York; seven years in Japan; seven months in Boston. Then I did seven years at Sacred Heart. So, yeah, it’s all about the sevens.”

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Sports Radio News

Tony Rizzo To Baker Mayfield Critics: I Hope You’re Happy

“850 ESPN Cleveland host Tony Rizzo laid it all out on the table during The Really Big Show.”

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Courtesy: ESPN Cleveland

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield hasn’t looked like much of a franchise star so far in 2021, and it has all the attention of sports radio in The Land. 

850 ESPN Cleveland host Tony Rizzo laid it all out on the table during The Really Big Show.

“You happy?” Rizzo said to his co-host, Aaron Goldhammer. “Are you Baker [Mayfield] haters? Are you guys happy? Baker looks bad, and you wanna jump down his throat. I’M A BROWNS FAN! I’M A BROWNS FAN. IT’S LIKE YOU’RE ROOTING AGAINST OUR QUARTERBACK!”

Mayfield has struggled with shoulder and knee injuries throughout this season and ranks 25th out of 33 qualified quarterbacks in ESPN’s QBR metric (42.9 out of 100).

“You want him to fail,” Rizzo continued. “To prove what? You were right? Do you realize what happens if this kid isn’t the right guy? WE’RE GONNA SUCK, AGAIN. You don’t find quarterbacks. It took you 20 years to find a guy to win 11 games. Now you don’t think he can take you the rest of the way? Are you happy?”

The Browns went on the road this past weekend and the New England Patriots stomped them 45-7. The loss meant Cleveland still hasn’t won in Foxboro since 1992, when, ironically, now Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held the same role with Cleveland.

“I hope you’re all happy,” Rizzo declared. “I hope you’re happy; so you can draft some quarterback in the 30s and try and pray…Don’t you understand? If Baker fails it’s back to the drawing board for my franchise.

“We know that everything has to be right for Baker to win. Sobering stuff for me. This year has been sobering; however, he’s got a bad shoulder, he’s got a broken bone. Now he’s got a bum knee and bum foot. He’s getting beat up. Maybe he can’t play the position.”

Watch the full clip from ESPN Cleveland above.

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Sports Radio News

Kraig Riley Named Brand Manager Of 93.7 The Fan

“He has been with The Fan since its launch in 2010.”

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There’s a new leader in Pittsburgh and Audacy did not have to look too far to find him. Kraig Riley has been promoted to brand manager of 93.7 The Fan.

Riley is a familiar face in the building and voice on the air. He has been with The Fan since its launch in 2010. He has served as producer of the station’s afternoon show The PM Team with Poni & Mueller. He also was the host of the station’s pre and postgame coverage of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The opening was created earlier this year when Jim Graci exited The Fan and sister station KDKA New Radio. Audacy hired industry veteran Dave LaBrozzi, who most recently served as Vice President of Programming for WABC Radio in New York City, to lead the news talk station.

“As both KDKA and The Fan continue to evolve into full multi-platform operations serving our listeners in new ways every day it is clear that both stations need focused leadership,” Michael Spacciapolli, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy Pittsburgh, said in a press release. “The addition of Dave and promotion of Kraig will help us continue that evolution. There is an expectation of excellence at both stations from the city of Pittsburgh that I have no doubt Dave and Kraig will continue to build on every day.”

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