Thursday, June 9, 2016

Baseball Boosts Local Radio Ratings Again

Once again, baseball rules the roost when it comes to radio listening. The just released Nielsen ratings for the period from April 21st through May 18th bear this out in many of the larger markets.

As expected, Boston area listeners put Red Sox flagship WEEI-FM at #4 overall in the market, increasing its already strong ratings by 1.2 ratings points over the past three months. They did not take away from rival WBZ-FM Sports Hub, which also showed an audience increase while finishing at #6 in the market. Boston continues to be the strongest sports radio market in the country.

Even with the poor start by the Yankees, WFAN 660 The Fan went up to #9 overall, showing a one-half point increase over the past three months. WEPN ESPN held steady but remains with just over one-third of the audience size which The Fan now holds.

WOR 710 has good news and bad news this time around. Having the Mets broadcasts has increased their night numbers significantly. In fact, their night audience has tripled in size over the past 12 months. However, none of the other times of the day have changed, which indicates that people are currently not interested in the other programming the station has to offer.

Having the Cubs broadcasts for the first time has already given WSCR 670 The Score a huge boost in the Chicago ratings. The station jumped up to #4 overall in the market, its highest ratings ever (in 24 years) and is now #1 at night. The Score was ranked as low as #17 in the market earlier this year, and was actually behind WMVP ESPN 1000 just three months ago. Since February, WMVP has lost more than 20% of its audience even with a strong afternoon drive showing.

San Francisco's KNBR 680 finishing #1 in the market is not a surprise at all, considering it is the flagship for both the Warriors and Giants. Their current 6.8 rating is that station's best ever, and that is without taking from KGMZ-FM The Game.

While The Game held steady from the previous ratings book, it now reaches 25% of the total audience of KNBR, and that's with being the A's flagship station.

In Detroit, even a poor start by the Tigers didn't stop listeners from making WXYT-FM The Ticket as solid #1 in that market. The station has gone up more than two full ratings points within the past three months.

Baltimore's WJZ-FM The Fan rose to #5 overall and is up almost two full ratings points since February as the Orioles flagship station. Over in D.C., WJFK-FM has increased its total audience by more than 33% over the past three months thanks to the hot start by the Nationals, for which it is the flagship station.

WIP-FM Philadelphia, which is now the exclusive radio home of the Phillies as of this season (no longer shared with 1210 AM) increased to #9 overall based on the team's surprisingly good start (which has since ended). Rival WPEN-FM, which came in at #15 overall in the market, is still ahead of WIP-FM during afternoon drive as The Fanatic's Mike Missanelli has an even stronger lead over WIP-FM's Josh Innes. This marks the 7th consecutive ratings period in which Missanelli and his various co-hosts have won the battle against Innes' show.

Seattle's KIRO 710 has benefitted from the Mariners' good start, pulling the station into the top ten in the market with an audience increase of more than 40% since February. In Dallas, the Rangers' hot start propelled KTCK-AM The Ticket (flagship station) into the #10 spot in the market, now leading KRLD-FM by a full ratings point. Yet, with The Ticket rising by .6 over the previous month, KRLD-FM increased by .3 during that same time and KESN-FM held steady.

The impact of the final season of Vin Scully and limited TV is even picking up KLAC 570 in the Los Angeles market. While still mired at a lowly #29 in the market, the station's audience size has more than doubled since February while KSPN 710, the Angels flagship station, is now behind KLAC and remained steady from the previous ratings period.

This Friday (6/10) is a sad day for sports fans everywhere as the funeral will be held for Muhammad Ali. ESPN is among the networks promising extended live coverage.

Although details are not complete (as of press time) we do know that the service will be streamed via Comcast SportsNet Chicago at

Perhaps arrangements are still in the works, but we were unable to find confirmation of other CSN regional networks also airing or streaming the service, which, according to them, begins at approximately 2:00 PM ET on Friday.  (ESPN shows different times for its coverage as of press time.)

LOS ANGELES: Josh Lewin becomes the next play-by-play voice to be booked solid in the fall, along the lines of Kenny Albert and Kevin Harlan. Lewin has been named as the new radio voice of UCLA football and basketball starting this season, replacing Bill Roth who only held the job for one season.

Lewin continues calling the Mets games as well as San Diego (for now) Chargers football. Josh probably thinks that the Chargers will move to L.A. and that very soon both the Charges and UCLA will be local to make his football weekends less complicated.

WASHINGTON D.C.: WTEM 980 won't be the same starting July 1st as Tony Kornheiser is leaving his midday spot at the end of this month. Kornheiser has been with WTEM since its launch back in 1992.

RALEIGH/DURHAM: Sorry to learn that Woody Durham, the former voice of University of North Carolina football and basketball for 40 years, will no longer be on the air or doing any public speaking appearances. It's not because of retirement, however. It was revealed a few days back that Durham was diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder which impacts his speaking abilities.

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