In addition to soaring TV ratings for live sports events, sports radio stations have generally increased their collective audiences over the past few weeks as well. Maybe it really is each feeding off the other.
The unlikely meeting of the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers in the World Series was a ratings factor for both markets according to the mid-October to November 10th ratings released this past week.
The Giants were a big factor in San Francisco's KNBR 680 which finished #1 in the market (for what is believed to be the first time), literally doubling its audience since the September ratings. In Dallas, the Rangers' station KRLD-FM increased its ratings by .7, more than 2 1/2 times its audience from November 2009. In addition, KESN ESPN 103.3 also shows an increase of .9 overall, giving the top 2 sports stations more than a combined 1.6 ratings increase there.
Other major markets also reflected more sports radio success in overall audience. (These reflect the overall radio audience, rather than just the 25-54 demographic.)
In Boston, WEEI finished #7 overall in the market, while Sports Hub WBZ-FM increased a full ratings point and finished 9th overall, which gives the Boston market 2 of top 9 rated stations being all sports.
Detroit's WXYT-FM The Ticket is now tied for the #1 spot overall (after previously having sole possession of the top spot), yet lower rated rival WDFN showed a .3 overall audience increase.
In Chicago, WSCR The Score 670 increased its audience lead over rival WMVP ESPN 1000, while play-by-play coverage seems to be more significant. WBBM-AM 780 came in #1 overall in the market while the NFL's Bears are off to their best season since 2006, and WGN Radio showed an audience increase as the NHL Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks broadcasts continue even while there has been change and turmoil with that station's daytime lineup.
NYC showed WFAN 660 holding steady and finishing #12 in overall audience, while lower rated WEPN ESPN 1050 went up .3.
Philadelphia, with the Phillies post-season run in progress early in the ratings period and the Eagles in contention, shows WIP at #8 overall, while KYW 1060 with its news format including regular sports updates being a solid #1.
St. Louis fans continue to flock to relative newcomer (less than 2 years on the air) WXOS, which gained again to finish #9 overall, its first ever top ten appearance. WXOS now has more than 5 times the total combined audience of KFNS and KSLG.
A similar story in Pittsburgh, where newcomer KDKA-FM rose .9 overall in one month and finished #12 overall, with WEAE-AM now having dropped .7 overall just since the September ratings period.
Yet, the sports radio competition has not made a difference in Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami in terms of overall audience.
L.A.'s KSPN went up .2, but only to a 1.1 overall rating, while KLAC 570 dropped from what little it had the month before. Miami's WQAM dipped .2 to now be only #25 in the market. A combined audience rating with WQAM and WAXY would not make the market's top 20. Sports fans seem to be drifting elsewhere in Atlanta since the Braves' fast post-season exit. WCNN dropped .8 overall and is now out of the top 20, while WAXY remains behind.
Even with the NFL Texans having an improved season, Houston sports radio has a problem. KILT dropped to #25 overall, dropping .3 in the ratings. Those listeners went to KBME (up .1) and KFNC (up .2).
On the TV side, several key markets got an NFL Manning doubleheader on Sunday (12/5), including many on the east coast and in AFC home team markets. Among the Fox-TV opening games was the Giants hosting Washington with Eli Manning at QB for New York. The primary double header game which followed was Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts hosting Dallas.
For all of the NFL's TV ratings success this season, LeBron James' return to Cleveland last Thursday (12/2) on TNT beat the Philadelphia vs. Houston NFL telecast on NFL Network by more than 22% nationally, which included a rating better than 25 in the Cleveland market. It wasn't the highest rated NBA telecast of the young season, as Miami's season opener vs. Boston continues to hold that distinction, as of now.
Hardly a day or week goes by without TV sports fans somewhere being stuck in a war between rights holding networks and cable and satellite providers. Now the biggest such "war" is between Comcast SportsNet California and Dish Network. Dish subscribers are now (as of press time) still without the San Jose Sharks and Sacramento Kings telecasts, among others. This comes after Dish had pulled MSG Network (including MSG Plus) in certain east coast areas in October. Dish acts as though its FairDealForYou.com web site is a reasonable response. The real issue is that the fans have no say. The cable or satellite providers should be able to deliver ANY network a subscribing fan wants, if he or she is willing to pay the price. Period. The phone companies don't stop us from calling certain area codes, so they shouldn't be able to stop us from receiving channels we want as long as we are willing to pay for them.
The NBA has inked another international deal, this one to bring 2 regular season telecasts per week, plus playoff games, to India, effective immediately. The result will be a record number of live telecasts available to the country with 1.2 billion people.
WILLIAMSBURG WV: What do you do when your radio station broadcasts both football and basketball, and games are about to overlap?
My answer would have been very much different from what 92.3 The Tide and 107.9 BACH-FM did on Saturday (12/4). It seems that William & Mary's basketball team had its opening game at Noon at VCU in Richmond, with the pre-game show scheduled for 11:30. However, William & Mary's football team had a 1:30 home game vs. Georgia Southern and a 1:00 pre-game show scheduled.
Granted, the basketball game was shown live on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. However, that was no reason for the radio stations to leave the basketball broadcast at 1:00 for the football pre-game show, leaving the basketball broadcast to only stream at TribeAthletics.com. They should have either put the basketball game on another station, or reduced the commercial load and had a knowledgeable studio host switch back and forth between the two broadcasts based on time outs, the closeness of the games, and scoring opportunities within the football game. (Since it was the same school, they would not upset one school or set of fans vs. another by switching around.)
LOS ANGELES: It's another difficult season for the Clippers, but even their long time broadcaster suffered an upset last Wednesday (12/1). Two accidents nearby on an interstate caused Ralph Lawler to drive only 6 miles in 6 1/2 hours and miss the Clippers home game broadcast vs. San Antonio that night. Lawler has been calling Clippers games (talk about earning combat pay!) since they were the San Diego Clippers in the early 80's. The game was also memorable because the Clippers actually won.
NEW YORK: A report from Newsday was not confirmed at press time that 1010 WINS will soon have a new morning drive sports anchor, and that it would be Sid Rosenberg. Speculation has it that Rosenberg will handle the duties from the WQAM Miami studios each morning and then continue to host afternoon drive on CBS sister station WQAM.
CHARLOTTE: Mark Packer (the son of basketball expert Billy Packer) is no longer hosting afternoons on WFNZ The Fan 610 (as of Thanksgiving weekend) after his contract ran out. The station had guest hosts filling in this past week and has yet to announce a replacement after 13 years with Packer. Yet, Packer continues to syndicate his program to 14 other stations, including Raleigh, Charleston, and Greensboro. In addition, his WJZY-TV 46 "Southern Fried Football" and sports commentary segments will continue as usual.
PROVIDENCE: Providence College basketball remains in the spotlight for 9 straight Thursdays returning January 6th on Sports Radio 103.7 WEEI at 7 PM with the (Coach) Keno Davis Show. Airing live from a local restaurant, the show (which aired last Thursday 12/2) is hosted by Dale Arnold (who co-hosts middays). Arnold is known for having done some play-by-play for the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins over the years and for having been with the station since its inception nearly 20 years ago.