This year is no exception when it comes to the baseball impact on the radio ratings in many of the 'major league' markets, already showing in the latest Nielsen reports covering late March through April 20th.
Days after WEEI-FM extended its Red Sox contract, the station added another half point to its rating (over the previous month) and finished #5 overall in Boston. Just behind at #6 is rival WBZ-FM Sports Hub, which showed a slight audience increase itself.
San Francisco's KNBR 680, helped by being the Giants' flagship station, rose more than a full ratings point and finished #1 overall in the market. This while the A's flagship KGMZ The Game held steady and again did not make the market's top 20 ratings.
In Chicago, the first three weeks of being the Cubs radio flagship helped WSCR The Score 670 to jump .7 of a ratings point in one month and finish in the top ten overall (#10). This showing put some distance between The Score and WMVP ESPN 1000, which lost .6 of a ratings point over the same month.
WFAN The Fan 660, a sister station to WSCR Chicago, also went up to #10 overall in the NYC market as the Yankees flagship, despite the team's relatively poor start. The "baseball difference" in New York is even more evident when you realize that WOR-AM, a news/talk station which remains as the Mets flagship station, already showed a .4 ratings increase from the previous month, and is now nearly one full ratings point ahead of WESPN ESPN Radio.
An improving Tigers team helped WXYT-FM The Ticket rise back to #1 overall (from #7 earlier this year) in the Detroit market. This, in turn, hurt WMGC 105.1, the sports station which dipped again in the overall ratings despite an improved season from the Pistons (for which they are the flagship).
WMGC has already released Dave Shore from his Program Director duties as well as from his co-host role in afternoon drive. Co-host Lindsey Hunter (the former Piston) will remain on the show, with Rob Pascoe and Jake Chapman of the station sharing the co-host role until or unless a replacement is named.
Dallas' KTCK-AM The Ticket has put some breathing room into what has been a close race among the three sports stations, finishing #13 overall up to a 2.9 rating. KRLD-FM increased its audience by 10% over the previous month's ratings, and is now a full ratings point head of KESN-FM ESPN.
Even with the horrendous start by the Twins this season, alternative music station KTWN-FM actually gained .6 of a ratings point from March, finishing at #18 overall. That's slightly ahead of all sports KSTP-AM, although both trail KXFN-FM The Fan which came in an impressive #8 overall in the Minneapolis - St. Paul market.
As always with a new baseball season, WLW Cincinnati kicked butt with the Reds broadcasts back, while KMOX St. Louis went from 5th overall to #2 overall from March to April. Neither station is all sports.
Baltimore's WJZ-FM 105.7 The Fan, the Orioles flagship, rose 1.6 rating points in one month and shows its best numbers since June 2015. Seattle's KIRO ESPN 710 went up .6 from March as the Mariners station, Tampa's WDAE Sports Animal went up .8 with the new season of Rays broadcasts. Washington D.C.'s WJFK-FM 106.7 The Fan also went up .6 as the Nationals got off to one of the best season starts in franchise history.
Even Los Angeles radio listeners showed an interest in the baseball season. KLAC 570, the Dodgers flagship, literally doubled its ratings from the previous month. However, the station still has onlyh a 1.0 rating and is not near the market's top 25 stations. KSPN 710 and KLAA 830, which share the Angels broadcasts, remain below a 1 rating.
Elsewhere, ESPN continues to battle to protect its empire. ESPN and Verizon announced a settlement from a lawsuit filed to attempt to prevent Verizon from allowing its customers to choose whether or not to receive certain channels and groups. Verizon, had, understandably, created a price point for its customers which did not include the expensive monthly ESPN package.
For those who asked, Saturday May 21st is the day that will have Dick Enberg guest announcing on the Detroit Tigers telecast of its home game against Tampa. Enberg continues in his final season of play-by-play calling the Padres games for San Diego TV, but is fulfilling his dream of calling a game from Detroit. However, the Fox Sports Detroit telecast will not be carried on FS1 (which has another game scheduled for 4:10 ET that afternoon), nor on Fox Sports, which begins its prime time Saturday series with regional telecasts that evening.
DALLAS: The successful season for the Stars has not had the desired impact on the TV ratings during the team's playoff run. You may recall that we recently pointed out how the Mavericks (already eliminated) NBA playoff run was drawing higher ratings than the Stars telecasts, even though the Stars advanced. Now it seems that, though the first five games of the seven game series against the St. Louis Blues, had literally more than five times the ratings points for the telecasts in St. Louis than for the same games being shown in Dallas.
CHICAGO: The month of April, understandably, brought huge ratings success to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, making it the highest rated Chicago area station or network among male viewers (age 18 to 54), even including over-the-air broadcast TV. Having its highest rated Blackhawks telecast ever (Game 7 vs. St. Louis), combined with the excellent starts of both the White Sox and Cubs, went on to generate more than 5,500,000 households tuning in.
SAN FRANCISCO: CSN Bay Area also had reason to boast, as this past weekend's Giants telecasts, in which they swept Colorado in a series, had that regional network ranked as the #1 viewed show during the time period of each of the games.