Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Again, Teams Drive Sports Radio Ratings

The proof is in the ratings. When it comes to sports radio, it's what is going on with the local teams that makes the difference. The Chicago Cubs run to a World Series win is a prime example. Neither Chicago all sports station made any program lineup changes in the past couple of months.

Due to WSCR 670 The Score being the flagship station for the Cubs, and WMVP ESPN 1000 airing the national broadcasts, both stations posted significant ratings gains for the ratings period of early October to early November, which timed out to include the entire Cubs post-season run. During this time, The Score's afternoon co-host, Terry Boers, continued to be away for most of the month due to medical problems, which means its on-air staff was not at full strength.

The Score increased its total audience by roughly one-third from just the previous month, finishing a record high #2 overall in the market. At the same time, WMVP increased by .8 of a ratings point, finishing a respectable #11 overall in the market. As you would expect, both stations provided expanded pre-game and post-game programming along with local discussion about the Cubs throughout the broadcast day.

At the same time, Boston, which continues as the strongest market in the country for sports talk radio, had the Red Sox eliminated in the first round and had both stations combine to lose one full ratings point for the month. Even with that, however, WBZ-FM Sports Hub came in at #3 overall in the market, now .7 of a ratings point ahead of WEEI-FM (Red Sox flagship), which already lost .8 of a ratings point for the month which included that Red Sox playoff series and finished a strong #6.

New York City listeners appeared to be interested in the ESPN national post-season baseball broadcasts, as WEPN-FM ESPN gained .3 of a ratings point for the month. At the same time, WFAN 660, while still finishing well ahead of WEPN, lost exactly .3 of a ratings point during the same period.

We saw a similar move in Dallas, where KTCK-AM The Ticket gained .5 for the month and finished #10 overall in the market. By doing so, it leaped past KRLD-FM which dropped .5 and to #12 in the market. KESN-FM ESPN held steady.

Both Philadelphia sports stations held steady (each down .1), with WIP-FM coming in at #7 with more than double the total audienc eof WPEN-FM ESPN. In Detroit, WXYT-FM The Ticket dipped to #3 in the market, losing 20% of its overall audience from the month before.

In Minneapolis, KFXN-FM The Fan held at #1 overall in the market despite a .4 drop, while maintaining more than four times the total audience of KSTP-AM, even though it went up .2.

The Dodgers post-season run deep into the NLCS helped KLAC 570 to one of its best ratings periods ever (as a sports station), although the station still did not crack the market's top 25. Similar to what happened in Chicago, KSPN ESPN 710 gained .4 during the same period.

On the NFL side, this past Sunday's (11/20) NBC game between Green Bay and Washington was up roughly 2% from last season's Week 11 telecast, and this was likely from a big push in the Milwaukee/Green Bay market. The Milwaukee market scored an amazing 42.3 Nielsen rating and a 59 share of the local audience. The next three biggest markets, understandably, were Richmond, Washington D.C., and Norfolk, with ratings all in the 20's.

On the college football side, while we can understand the hype this year for the Ohio State vs. Michigan game coming up on Saturday (11/26), ESPN is expanding its GameDay show to five hours in length. As you might expect, the show will originate from Columbus.

This past Saturday (11/19) was a disappointing one for CBS, ad its Missouri vs. Tennessee telecast came in with a lower audience than NBC's telecast of Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech, even with the disappointing season for Notre Dame.

CHICAGO: It appears that the Comcast SportsNet regional networks are looking at blowing up their SportsNet Central sportscasts and go with a revised format. The Comcast SportsNet Chicago has announced that 'Central' will be replaced starting on December 5th. They plan to have a 15-minute "In The Loop" show with what it claims will have an emphasis on social media and interactive content.

Sure. Fans would rather see opinions from local fans just like them instead of more highlights and analysis from experts. What an awful decision.

COLUMBUS: It won't be easy to compete against 97.1 WBNS The Fan, but WXZX 105.7 is going to give it a try. The station is dropping its alternative music format for a sports format surrounding its airing of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cincinnati Bengals broadcasts. Its new morning show will be local, co-hosted by Bruce Hooley and Maddie Spielman.

Happy Turkey!!

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