Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sports Radio Ratings? Depends on the Market

No major surprises from the newly released radio ratings for the late May to late June period. In Boston, WEEI-FM has increased its lead over rival WBZ-FM Sports Hub. The Red Sox flagship station came in at #4 overall in the market even though it dropped .2 from the previous month. WBZ-FM lost .6 of a ratings point during the same period but still ranks a strong #7 overall.

New York's WFAN dropped .6 overall but remains the market's sports radio leader even after slipping out of the top 10 (to #12). Local baseball broadcasts did not have the desired impact on the night ratings. The Fan, as Yankees flagship, is the #11 ranked station from 7 PM to Midnight (when most of the baseball broadcasts air). Granted, the Yankees are not contenders as of yet. However, WFAN still ranks ahead of the WOR 710 which airs the Mets games and came in at #14 during those same night hours.

San Francisco listeners kept KNBR 680 on top of the market again, understandable given the run by the Warriors along with having the first place Giants games. KNBR continues to have more than triple the total audience of KGMZ-FM, which airs the A's games.

In Chicago, WSCR 670 The Score was strong again, bolstered by the Cubs broadcasts, finishing #5 overall in the market. WMVP ESPN 1000 lost .5 of a ratings point over the one month period, now with just over one-third of the audience size of The Score, and now without any major local team play-by-play.

Other strong markets include Detroit, where WXYT-FM The Ticket stays at #1 in the market, and Seattle, where KIRO-AM came in at #11 overall with an overall audience growth of one full ratings point over the past two months.

Several major markets did not have good news from this month's Nielsen ratings, however. In Dallas it is becoming a two station race once again. KTCK-AM The Ticket dropped to #12 overall at a 3.3 rating, while KRLD-FM increased to a 2.9. KESN now lags well behind with a 1.2.

The disaster of a season for the Twins while the other pro teams are quiet has hurt KFXN The Fan, which dropped a full ratings point from the previous month. KTWN-FM, the alternative music station which carries the Twins, dipped again (as it has each month during this season) and now is at a 1.3 overall.

Philadelphia's WIP-FM, hurt by the Phillies dropping from contention during May after a solid start, dropped .6 of a rating point over the month and is now #11 overall in the market. At the same time, WPEN The Fanatic dropped .4 and is now ranked #17. Yet, WPEN The Fanatic continues strong during afternoon drive, as afternoon host Mike Missanelli comes away with his eight consecutive "win" over WIP-FM and Josh Innes. Our understanding is that Innes is only under contract there until December.

In Los Angeles, KLAC 570 continues to move up gradually, but still is not in the top 25 stations overall in the market despite airing the Dodgers while almost 70% of the market does not receive the local telecasts. The station has increased by .8 of a ratings point since last season. KSPN ESPN 710 went up to a 1.1 rating, marking the first time (in recent memory if not ever) that both of these sports stations have had ratings above a 1.0.

Even with the Astros heating up the American League West, the growth of Houston sports radio seems to have come back down again. KILT dropped to a 1.0, with the other stations, as usual, finishing below that.

JACKSONVILLE: WJSJ 105.3 has dropped its sports format, having been a CBS Sports Radio affiliate until dropping it last week (7/1) for a music format.

CHAMPAIGN: University of Illinois radio broadcasts will have a new analyst for the upcoming season. Former Illini star Jerry Hester, who had served as the lead analyst since 2005 (when the Illini went as far as the national championship game), announced he is stepping aside in order to spend more time with his family in the Chicago area. Since this announcement was not expected, it may be a while before a replacement is named.

CHATTANOOGA: Sorry to learn of the passing of WGOW sports talk host Gary Haskew, known as "Doctor Basketball" at the age of 74. Haskew was fortunate enough to have his brother Jerre on the show with him, was a big part of the Quake (Scott McMahen) and Cowboy Joe (Joe Varner) show during afternoon drive.

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