With the June radio ratings are being released this week, sports radio trends more a reflection of the local sports scene than the format, as usual.
The Blackhawks run to the Stanley Cup dominated the Chicago ratings where sports is concerned. Flagship station WGN 720, which is a news/talk station otherwise with some sports programming, showed an overall audience increase of nearly 25% for the month of June and finished #4 overall in the market. This is its highest finish in a long time. WBBM 780 NewsRadio, in its first season as the Cubs flagship station, came in #3 (ahead of WGN) yet dropped .7 overall, while its all news FM counterpart WCFS 105.9 (which simulcasts the AM but continues all news during Cubs games) dropped .3 during the same period.
Both of the market's two all-sports stations, WSCR The Score 670 and WMVP ESPN 1000, dropped overall. WSCR dropped .6 over the past one month, the same ratings amount that WMVP has dropped over the past two months. Yet, both stations aired local play-by-play during June (WMVP with Bulls playoff games and WSCR with White Sox baseball). Thus, the stations airing the 3 other Chicago pro teams in action all lost during June, while WGN with the Blackhawks showed significant gains.
In Dallas, after the Mavericks and the Stars were eliminated from the post-season and the Rangers got off to a slow start, all three sports stations showed a dip in total audience.
The hot start by the Giants bolstered KNBR to a nearly 20% total audience increase over May and to a solid #1 ranking in the market.
Philadelphia's sports stations, WIP and WPEN, both dropped overall, especially with no post-season broadcasts and a horrible start by the Phillies.
HOUSTON: Nice to see the Texas Radio Hall of Fame honor as many as four sports personalities this year, especially with two of them about to be inducted posthumously.
The late Mike Edmonds, the long time voice of the University of Houston (and former news anchor at KPRC 950) who passed away in 2006, is being honored along with Anita Martini, the former KPRC host who left us back in the 90's.
Also selected are Tom Franklin, who over the years has done play-by-play for Rice and U. Houston, along with calling Houston Oilers games years ago, and Barry Warner, who has been heard on several Houston area station and is now with KFNC 97.1.
TAMPA: WWBA-AM 820 will now air University of South Florida football and basketball games, plus any playoff baseball games to begin a new broadcast contract. Jim Louk and Mark Robinson will continue to call the football games with Jim Lighthall handling the basketball assignments.
DENVER: The Rockies broadcast team on KOA had another member this past Thursday (7/2) for the game between Colorado and Arizona when Jenny Cavnar of Root Sports Rocky Mountains handled some of the play-by-play. Cavnar filled in for Jerry Schemmel for the one night, which allowed her to supposedly be the first female to call play-by-play for a National League team.
If that is actually the case, it's hard to believe it took place nearly 40 years after the first female broadcaster called some American League action. Mary Shane called some Chicago White Sox games on the former WMAQ Radio during the mid-70's, although she was not well received. Of course, Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman remains the only female to be a regular part of a major league broadcast team.
ALBANY: For not having a local big league team in any of the "big 4" sports, local sports radio is well represented by nationally known sports personalities, and that is to management's credit. The "Armen & Levack" show, which airs on WTMM 104.5 ESPN from 3 to 7 PM on weekdays, has just added Adam Schefter to its roster of regular guests with Monday afternoon appearances. ESPN's Buster Olney and Dick Vitale also have in-season regular appearances on the station.
OMAHA: My note last week about KFAB radio having been the long-time flagship for the University of Nebraska game may not have been completely accurate. I read both that the station was and was not the flagship for 75 years. Looks like myself and you (the readers) were the victims of the shoddy reporting, one way or the other, that I complain about. Let's leave it that the football and basketball games will now air on KXSP 590.