Connect with us

Sports Radio News

The Fan Reigns Supreme In Dallas

Published

on

Oh how the tide has turned in Dallas!

For years, Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket has dominated the market and had competitors questioning whether or not they had made a smart decision to enter the sports talk space.

And rightfully so.

The brand has been highly entertaining, the personalities are authentic, funny, larger than life and the competition was minimal.

But over the past few years, competition has improved, signals carrying sports talk programming have gotten stronger, and the once thought to be untouchable and iconic Ticket, now faces a challenge they’ve not had to deal with before.

Enter 105.3 The Fan.

fanOwned and operated by CBS, the station launched into the sports talk format in 2008, and has since undergone a few lineup and Program Director changes.

Currently led by Gavin Spittle and featuring Shan & RJ, G-Bag Nation, Ben & Skin and K&C Masterpiece, the station has experienced some bumps and bruises along the way but is now starting to catch fire and become a force with Dallas sports radio listeners.

The Fan started its climb in 2009 when it acquired the rights to the Dallas Cowboys. While the addition of America’s team put the radio station on the map in a bigger way, the ratings were not to the level they are now.

Part of that is due to consistency with the lineup, which deserves credit for being very entertaining. Some of it stems from having further developed the Cowboys association on their airwaves and carried a few seasons worth of games. The other part of the growth comes from making a critical decision to acquire the rights to Texas Rangers baseball in November 2014.

By offering Dallas sports fans a number of great weekday shows, plus every Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys game, on a strong FM signal, it’s no surprise that local listeners are changing their habits and rewarding The Fan.

For the July ratings book, The Fan was ahead of The Ticket and ESPN 103.3 in the Dallas sports radio race in most categories. Here’s how the numbers stack up:

STATION TIMESLOT/SHOWS RATING
Morning Drive – 6A-10A
105.3 THE FAN Shan & RJ 4.2
THE TICKET The Musers 7.9
ESPN 103.3 Mike & Mike + 1-hr of Colin Cowherd 3.2
Mid-days – 10A-3P
105.3 THE FAN G-Bag Nation 5.2
THE TICKET Norm Hitzges/Bad Radio 3.5
ESPN 103.3 1-hr of Colin Cowherd/Dennis & Friedo 1.6
Afternoon Drive – 3P-7P
105.3 THE FAN Ben & Skin 5.2
THE TICKET The Hardline 4.5
ESPN 103.3 Cowlishaw & Mosley 2.3
Evenings – 7P-12A
105.3 THE FAN Texas Rangers/K&C Masterpiece 8.3
THE TICKET The Ticket Top 10/Scott Ferrall 2.5
ESPN 103.3 ESPN Radio 1.6
Monday-Sunday 6A-Midnight
105.3 THE FAN All Shows, Ancillary Programming and Play by Play 4.6
THE TICKET All Shows and Ancillary Programming 4.1
ESPN 103.3 All Shows and Ancillary Programming 2.1
Monday-Friday 6A-7P
105.3 THE FAN Shan & RJ, G-Bag Nation, Ben & Skin 4.9
THE TICKET The Musers, Norm Hitzges, Bad Radio, Hardline 5.2
ESPN 103.3 M&M, Cowherd, D&F, C&M, ESPN Radio 2.3

For those of you reading who don’t understand the differences of ratings and categories, let me keep it simple for you. Men 25-54 represents male listeners between those ages and Persons 25-54 represents men AND women in between those ages.

For example, in July, The Fan was 6th with a 4.1 in the Persons 25-54 demographic. This is for the Monday-Friday 6a-7p time period. That’s a really strong number. For The Ticket, they were 14th with a 3.1 and ESPN 103.3 was 30th with a 1.3.

In the category of Persons 12+ (all male/female listeners older than 12 years old), Monday-Sunday 6a-Midnight, The Fan placed 13th with a 3.0, The Ticket finished 21st with a 1.9 and ESPN 103.3 was 31st with a 1.2.

You can attribute some of those stronger weekend numbers to Texas Rangers baseball airing on The Fan.

In addition to those stories above, what really caught my attention were the differences between all three stations when you look at their performance over a 12-month period. In the radio industry we call this the “year to year” analysis.

musersStarting with morning drive in the Men 25-54 category (sports radio’s target demo), it’s clear that this is the show that drives The Ticket. The Musers are excellent, and have been for a long time, and they remain the market’s top choice. Year to year their ratings haven’t changed much either.

During that period they’ve gone from an 8.2 to 7.9 which is very strong. They did have a little bit of a lull between November 2014 and April 2015 where the show rated between a 4.8 and 5.9 but they are prisoners of their own success. Most morning shows would take a 4.8-5.9 to the bank every time. This is clearly where The Ticket can paint a great local story with their fans, and more importantly their advertisers.

When you look at The Fan during mornings, while they’re not beating The Ticket, they are making major strides. Year to year, Shan & RJ have climbed from a 2.3 to 4.2 and currently rank 5th. Stations can make a lot of money with a Top 5 morning show. The uptick began last September (football season) when the show grew from 2.3 to 3.7 and they’ve been consistent and climbing ever since.

For ESPN 103.3, the story is built around consistency too. They’ve gone year to year from a 3.1 to 3.2, which puts them in 11th place. Considering that the programming is national and they’re competing against two other powerful local sports stations, that’s actually a very healthy number and one they can use to drive business to the radio station, especially when advertisers have to pay a king’s ransom on the other two brands.

Digging into the 10a-3p section with Men 25-54, this is where The Fan has really caught fire. G-Bag Nation led by Gavin Dawson has risen in 12 months from a 1.7 to a 5.2. That growth is massive and shows that the station has stumbled onto something big which local listeners are really enjoying.

During the same period of time, The Ticket has dropped from a 6.0 to 3.5. Think some of those listeners might have jumped ship over to The Fan?

For ESPN 103.3 this is the area where they’re getting hurt. They’ve been consistent during the past 12 months, but their numbers are a significant drop off from what they deliver in mornings. They’ve gone from a 1.7 last year to 1.6 this year. That means they lose half their ratings between morning drive and midday.

bsNext up is afternoons with Men 25-54 and there’s a real strong battle taking place here between Ben & Skin and The Hardline. While B&S won for the month of July, placing 2nd with a 5.2, the Ticket wasn’t far behind, finishing 7th with a 4.5.

When you dive deeper into the numbers you find that this is the first month Ben & Skin have beaten The Ticket since March, but even in the months where they’ve finished second, it’s been a neck and neck race. That’s drastically different than a year ago when The Ticket was hammering The Fan 6.3 to 2.1.

If you’re looking at it from The Ticket’s point of view, you’d highlight the fact that you’re winning in morning drive, have won five of the seven ratings books this year in afternoons and overall you’re ahead Monday-Friday 6a-7p with Men 25-54.

You would be pretty concerned about your margin for error because it’s very small and with your competitor having a play by play advantage, that makes things tougher when having to answer questions from clients about why you’re no longer dominating everyone.

None the less, you should still feel pretty good about your brand because your shows still have a great connection in the marketplace, especially The Musers, and despite no play by play, you’re very much in the thick of the race.

For ESPN 103.3 the afternoon story is better than the 10a-3p situation but given the large levels of listening taking place on The Fan and The Ticket, it becomes harder to deliver an impact. Cowlishaw and Mosley have been very consistent for the past year, slightly dipping from a 2.7 to 2.3, but they’ve placed as high as 6th with a 3.8 in January, so it’s clear that there’s room for three strong local afternoon shows. Given that their show provides a different approach than their competitors, that’s a positive in the market.

Wrapping up the ratings breakdowns we have nights, 7p-12a with Men 25-54. This is an area where you’d expect The Fan to take charge given their association with the Rangers and the other two stations not having play by play during that time, and sure enough, they do.

The Fan was dominant in this category, finishing 1st with an 8.3. This marks the third consecutive month where the station was #1 during evenings, and since baseball started, the numbers have grown from a 4.0 to 8.3. Clearly the baseball team is delivering more listeners and longer listening times, which is good news for the station’s weekday shows which should receive more sampling.

For The Ticket and ESPN 103.3, it’s a tougher road to hoe without live sports during the evening. While the numbers aren’t very high, what is interesting is that during the past year The Ticket has gone from a 1.7 to 2.5 while ESPN 103.3 has gone from a 3.0 to 1.6. ESPN’s dip though I’m guessing is due to having the Rangers last year and being without them this year.

1053Overall the Dallas market has three different stations, presenting three different approaches, and the real winners are the local listening audience who have great options. Based on the numbers, the overall leading choice this month is The Fan, and considering where they were a year ago, the tide seems to be turning in their favor. They should be applauded for making adjustments and further investments because it’s starting to pay dividends.

The Ticket however remains a powerful brand with a great lineup and based on their drive time numbers, they’re not far off. Their morning show remains dominant, and if they regain the top spot in afternoons, they can easily position themselves as the lead dog with advertisers because clients want their messages heard during prime time hours.

The real interesting story to follow going forward will be how The Fan capitalizes on their play by play advantage. What they’re doing right now is working, and they’re only into the first year of their agreement with the Rangers.

If the Cowboys are good again, which many expect them to be, and the Rangers compete down the stretch, especially now that they’ve added Cole Hamels and made themselves even more compelling, those listeners will be visiting The Fan’s weekday programs more frequently. It’s then the job of the radio station’s on-air talent to convert those samplers into loyal listeners.

Based on what I saw in July, The Fan is on the right track.

Sports Radio News

Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’

“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”

Published

on

This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams

This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host. 

“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.” 

As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week: 

“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.” 

Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though. 

“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”

Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”

Published

on

Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”

Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.

Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.

“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”

After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.

RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.

“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.

Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.

There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.

Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”

Published

on

Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.

Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.

“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”

La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”

Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.

While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.

“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.