Last Saturday's (Aug. 13) NFL exhibition game between Dallas and Los Angeles didn't mean a thing for the standings, but it does in the TV ratings.
This was the first game for the L.A. Rams since leaving an understandably disgruntled St. Louis fan base. No longer the local team, the game was only available in St. Louis via the ESPN national telecast. The ratings in St. Louis were 2 and one-half rating points LESS than the average for the market for the entire 2015 pre-season.
In fact, St. Louis finished 24th in terms of local market rating, with cities such as Alburquerque and Norfolk being among those with a larger local audience. We might get a better indication as to whether or not enough people in St. Louis will care to watch the Rams. This weekend's (Aug. 20) game vs. Kansas City will air in St. Louis on KMOV-TV Channel 4. The radio broadcast will, ironically, air on the mighty KMOX 1120, which signed on as a K.C. Chiefs affiliate for this season.
This means that KMOX will be airing the Rams game, with the broadcasters rooting for the other team.
On the Los Angeles side, it may be from curiosity or being the first home game for the Rams since their return, but the Los Angeles market had the 3rd highest audience of any. The game was shown locally as well as on ESPN, with only Dallas and (nearby) San Antonio having a larger audience.
Elsewhere on the St. Louis scene, long time sports talker Kevin Slaten has left his latest sports show from KFNS 590 after last week. The controversial Slaten claims he is heading over to KQQX 1190 to host a political news talk show.
It was obviously a surprise to KFNS, which is stuck airing replays of his show until they can find a replacement.
NEW YORK: In another surprise move, the Islanders have named their new TV play-by-play voice to start for the upcoming season. Brendan Burke, known for calling college football and basketball for Fox Sports, takes over for the retired Howie Rose. Rose had called their games for the previous 21 seasons.
CHICAGO: WMVP ESPN 1000 has one staying and one going. John Jurkovic, who is in his 16th year as a co-host, has signed what was reported as a "multi-year" extension. At the same time, Ray Flores, who had been an update anchor, is not being retained by the station. Flores is known to some around the country for his work on MMA telecasts, on which he will continue.
DETROIT: It's a long way from trying to compete with the #1 rated The Ticket, but WDFN 1130 has started a three hour afternoon drive sports show this week. In a surprise move, the station has picked up the "Gregg, Big Drew, and Jim Show" from Grand Rapids ESPN 96.1.
What makes this so unique is how rare it is, even in today's radio climate, for a show to go from Grand Rapids to Detroit, instead of the other way around.
Nothing further, yet, as to whether or not WDFN is looking at adding any more sports programming. Perhaps the next couple of ratings books will be an indication one way or the other.
SAN DIEGO: XTRA 1360 continues to make an effort to grow its ratings, beginning a new local morning show this week. "Hardwick & Richards" airs from 6 to 9 AM, with Nick Hardwick (a former Charger) and Judson Richards (already an XTRA personality).
The station recently placed "The Mark & Rich Show" from Noon to 3 PM, with Mark Willard co-hosting with former NFL lineman Rich Ohrnberger.
PHILADELPHIA: WIP-FM has, understandably, expanded the role of local sports writer Ray Didinger in time for the Eagles season. Didinger will continue with his Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 1 PM shows, co-hosted with Glen Macnow. In addition, he will appear on sister station WPHT on Fridays (during football season) with Chris Stigall.
NASHVILLE: The Game 102.5 began its new afternoon drive show this week. "Jared and the GM" is co-hosted by former Titans GM Floyd Reese. Jared Stillman is the co-host. This is a great idea for a football heavy town, having a former GM of the local NFL team for football analysis.
DENVER: Colorado State University football, heard on Mile High Sports 104.7 and 1340, will have Mark Driscoll as the analyst starting this season. Driscoll seems to be a perfect fit, having been the starting QB for 2 seasons, and later both assistant coach and Athletic Director. Brian Roth continues in his play-by-play role.
RALEIGH/DURHAM: Morgan Patrick will return as pre-game and post-game host for 99.9 The Fan's broadcasts of Hurricanes hockey starting next month. Patrick hosted these shows from 1999 until 2006. The station plans to continue to have afternoon drive co-host Adam Gold continue to handle the daily coverage of the team for the staton.
ALBANY: Now we know why Rodger Wyland moved his morning show to WTMM 104.5 back in June. The University of Albany, for whom Wyland has done football and basketball play-by-play for the past 19 years, has moved its broadcasts to WTMM starting next month with the Sept. 2nd football opener vs. Buffalo. Wyland and the games had both been on WOFX 980.
What we don't know is whether Wyland moved because of the game broadcasts, or if the game broadcasts changed stations because of Wyland.
BURLINGTON: Hard to say if the writing is on the wall or not, but it's been a tough two weeks for WCPV 101.3. Days after Ryan Matlack resigned as Program Director (although, to his credit, it was to take a production position with ESPN in Bristol) comes word that on-air host A.J. Kanell would be leaving as well. That puts an end to the "A.J. and Rich Show". Co-host Rich Haskell will be joined by Arnie Spanier, who most recently has done weekend co-hosting for Fox Sports Radio.
MATTOON IL: The town has a new sports station as Victory 103.9 has been launched. Thus far, its only play-by-play will be originating Charleston High School football broadcasts (with Rob Calhoun and Jack Ashmore. However, the station is only airing NBC Sports Radio including its morning show with no other local programming at this time.