The mid-June to mid-July radio ratings period is always an interesting one for sports radio stations since it is the time of year when the NFL, NBA, and NHL are either concluding or not started, and baseball rules the roost.
It's no surprise that the baseball crazed markets show the strongest while other major markets show declines in overall audience. The point is that this trend shows that sports radio is really more driven by sports content than the individual shows and personalities in markets where there are not two strong competitors.
Once again, Boston is the exception, as sports radio continues its ratings dominance compared with other radio formats. WEEI-FM, helped by a solid season from the Red Sox broadcasts, remains #1 in overall audience at night, and finished a solid #4 in total audience for the market.
WBZ-FM Sports Hub held steady (compared with WEEI-FM losing .4 from the previous month) and finished at #7 overall, while getting ready for its Patriots broadcasts to begin next week. This next ratings period could be significant for both stations and the format in Boston.
In Chicago, the Cubs broadcasts continue to bolster WSCR 670 The Score, which finished #6 overall in the market. After trailing WMVP ESPN 1000 early in the year, The Score now has more than two and one-half times the total audience of WMVP, and that's with WMVP actually gaining more audience than The Score did during this most recent ratings period.
San Francisco's KNBR 680 remains a solid #1 overall despite a half-point dip in audience size from the previous month. KGMZ-FM The Game held steady with just over 25% of the total audience of KNBR.
Detroit's WXYT-FM The Ticket remains #1 overall, winning every daypart except for morning drive.
In Dallas, the Rangers broadcasts have helped KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan to a .8 ratings increase in the past three months. KTCK The Ticket has lost .4 of a ratings point during that same period.
In Philadelphia, while WIP-FM has more than twice the total audience of WPEN-FM The Fanatic, WPEN-FM continues to win the afternoon drive battle. For the 9th consecutive ratings period (going back to last year) 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli continues to lead his afternoon time slot ahead of WIP and Josh Innes. To that point, the station has yet to announce anything regarding Innes' contract, which is reported up at the end of this year.
If you separate the Baltimore and D.C. markets it makes it curious. In DC neither WJFK-FM or WTEM-AM are in the top 15 stations, with both showing slight audience decreases from the prior month. This, of course, figures to change with the Redskins pre-season games coming next week.
Over in Baltimore, WJZ-FM, which broadcasts the Orioles (having their best season in a while), is #5 overall in total audience.
Another interesting market this month is the Twin Cities. KXFM-FM The Fan increased over the previous month to finish #10 overall in the market, now with literally four times the audience size of KSTP-AM. While the struggling Twins air on KTWN-FM, otherwise an alternative music station, that station showed a 30% audience dip overall from the previous month, dropping it behind both of the sports stations.
Some markets have their sports talkers struggling because of the time of year, such as Miami, Seattle, and Kansas City.
None of Miami's three sports talkers placed in the top 20 stations, and none of the three gained in audience. While WAXY-AM held steady, both WQAM and WINZ lost some of their audiences from the previous month.
KIRO-AM in Seattle dipped .6 of a ratings point to #18 overall, while KJR-FM finished even lower and lost .3 of a ratings point at the same time. KFNQ 1090 The Fan is nowhere to be found in the ratings listings.
KCSP Kansas City is down, but it is not entirely due to the Royals' dip in the MLB standings. From a top of the market status in May, Sports 610 is now in 11th place in the market. The station is still #1 during the evening time slot (when most of the Royals games take place), but the rest of the day is down.
Other markets, such as Los Angeles and Houston, where sports talk stations struggle most of the time, don't have much to report.
KLAC 570, the Dodgers flagship station, still did not even make the top 25 in the market, holding the same rating as the previous month. KSPN 710, the Angels flagship and ESPN Radio, lost 10% of its audience from the previous month. This market bears watching with the NFL season coming upon us, and the L.A. Rams being back on the scene.
Houston's KBME-AM has taken over the sports station lead from KILT, although KBME-AM only came in at #23 overall. None of the three sports talkers (also KFNC-FM) have more than a 1.0 rating again.
MIAMI: WAXY 790 The Ticket has a five-year contract extension to continue as the flagship station for the Heat. This agreement runs through the 2020-21 season.
PHILADELPHIA: WIP-FM has signed the BGN Radio (Bleeding Green Nation) weekly Eagles program to its schedule for two hours each Saturday afternoon beginning next month. The popular program, taken from the BGN podcast, aired last season on 97.5 The Fanatic. In addition, program host John Barchard has been officially hired by WIP-FM.
LEXINGTON: WLEX-TV is adding a half-hour weeknight show next month which will have its fair share of sports content. The host will be Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio. This show, still not titled as of press time, will air at 7:30 PM beginning the week of September 19th.