Friday, February 19, 2016

The Hottest Sports Talk Markets

The release of the Nielsen ratings for radio from the January into early February period showed a lot of activity for the major market sports stations to begin 2016, much of it positive.

In Boston, the Patriots' post-season kept the surge of sports radio listeners going in the nation's most popular market for sports radio. WBZ-FM Sports Hub rose to #3 overall, up from both November and December. At the same time WEEI-FM also rose from its November and December status to finish at #6 in the market.

New York listeners helped WFAN 660 increase .6 in the overall ratings to #9 in the market, while the Long Island market ratings (which is considered a separate radio market) showed an increase of 1.6. WEPN-FM held steady and is now #22 in the market.

San Francisco listeners brought KNBR 680 back up to #3 overall with a .7 increase, while the station rose .9 and to the #1 ranking in the (separately rated) San Jose market. KGMZ-FM The Game rose slightly at the same time, but is only #18 in the market.

Chicago's two sports stations both increased, with WSCR 670 The Score increasing .6 and finishing #15 overall, now .3 ahead of WMPV ESPN 1000 which ranks #19.

The Dallas race for sports radio has become a two station race (out of three), with KRLD-FM at #13 showing its best rating since last fall, and KTCK-AM The Ticket increasing one-half point to #18 overall.

Philadelphia's WIP-FM, which had another announcement this week (see below) increased by .7 from the previous month and is #7 overall. Yet, WPEN-FM, during the same time period, increased by .9, now ranking at #14.

Baltimore's WJZ-FM showed a significant 1.4 increase and finished at #6 in the market, while Pittsburgh's KDKA-FM increased by 1.1 and also finished #6 for that market. Also a nice showing for Cleveland's WKRK-FM, increasing by .8 to #8 in the market.

On the other side of the coin, while Los Angeles is getting at least one NFL team for the coming season, that news hasn't exactly been a bonanza for sports talk radio. Not one of its four sports talk stations (soon to be three with the sale of KFWB 980) could even garner a 1.0 rating or make the top 25. The top finisher, KSPN 710 came in at #30 overall with a 20% audience drop from November. KLAC 570 is next at #31 overall, while KLAA-AM finished with a .2 for its overall rating. And that still beat out KFWB. Keep in mind this rating period was during the NFL playoffs for a big city getting its NFL team back.

In Houston, both KILT-AM and KBME-AM showed increases of .3 over the holiday period ratings, but finished only at #19 and #23 respectively in the market.

And then there is Miami. Not one of the three sports stations, WAXY-AM, WQAM-AM, or WINZ-AM could muster so much as a 1.0 rating, and none of them went up at all from the previous month's ratings.

Congrats to Verne Lundquist on being named to receive a "Lifetime Achievement Award" in May at the Sports Emmy Awards. It's a long list of accomplishments including the NFL and NCAA football and basketball, along with The Masters and other PGA events.

NEW YORK CITY: While it is not getting as much attention as the limited audience able to watch the Dodgers on TV is in Los Angeles, there is still no movement between Comcast Cable and the YES Network. This means that it is not likely that nearly 1 million subscribers will not be able to see the Yankees spring training telecasts which begin in two weeks. Comcast subscribers in parts of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania are also without YES Network. At least viewers in those areas have the option of changing providers to see the Yankees, which those in the L.A. area do not for Dodgers games.

PHILADELPHIA: It's the end of an era for long time baseball fans, as the Phillies radio broadcasts will no longer be heard on the AM dial effective immediately. WIP-FM, which had simulcast the broadcasts from WPHT 1210 since 2012, will now air the games exclusively in Philly. The games had aired on 1210 AM for all but three seasons (2002-04) going back to 1982, and before that when the station was WCAU.

NASCAR is still pursuing a Chicago area radio audience but it continues to be only small suburban stations airing the races. The local Chicagoland Speedway has partnered with WCGO 1590 to air NASCAR events, beginning with Sunday's Daytona 500 broadcast. In addition, Daytona and various NASCAR races will continue to air on WCCQ-FM, a south suburban station whose signal generally does not overlap with WCGO.

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