The Rams’ season was just about to kick off when Bernie Miklasz made his major move, leaving the Post-Dispatch after 26 years as a high-profile sports columnist to go full-time into the radio business.
And the football season is a key time — arguably the most important time — for his new employer, WXOS (101.1 FM). It has been the Rams’ flagship radio outlet since joining the local sports-talk fray in 2009 and has much programming related to the team and NFL.
Miklasz was hired to bring listeners to the station and eyeballs to its website, and adding him was a major investment for parent company Hubbard Radio. The stake was more than financial — it also involved revising the lineup by reducing the amount of time allotted to ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show and pushing existing local shows back an hour.
The Rams’ season now is over, and the bottom line reads thusly: Ratings for the time slot he occupies, 7-10 a.m. weekdays, were flat at first with comparable months last year but rose significantly in December. The station’s overall ratings have improved and its website traffic has increased.
Arbitron measures radio listenership and for the first two full months he was on in which ratings are applicable (October-November), it says he was being heard by 6.9 percent of men in the market ages 25-54. That’s the target audience of sports-talk radio. In those months in 2014, when the station filled the 7-9 a.m. slot with “Mike & Mike” and the 9-10 hour with Kevin Wheeler’s local program, the average was virtually the same.
Then in December, Miklasz’s rating was 27 percent better than what the station drew in same block a year earlier. And his market share has grown each month.
In the bigger picture, the station’s overall rating for the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekday slot, in which it now airs its key local shows, was 9 percent higher than the October-December quarter last year.
And Compete.com, which measures web traffic, says the station’s site was drawing about 15,000 “unique” visitors in November 2014 and the number jumped to about 53,700 in November 2015 — the most recent month for which figures are available.
The trend is upward, but is it a strong enough start for the return on a huge investment for Hubbard, especially at a time when it is in danger of losing its anchor property, as the Rams have applied to the NFL to move to the Los Angeles area?
“As talented as he is, and as well-known as he is, it takes time for people to find out he’s here, and here on a full-time basis,’’ said John Kijowski, who runs Hubbard’s local business. “It actually exploded several months quicker than I thought, to a higher degree than I thought. From a ratings point of view, it actuality is exceeding where I though it would be this quickly.”
Radio stations loaded with local talk shows and high-profile and well-compensated hosts, as 101.1 has, exist in an expensive format — much more so than music stations that have much less overhead. The acquisition of Miklasz and associated costs has created talk in the industry that 101.1 is overextending itself financially, with cutbacks inevitable.
Kijowski scoffs at that notion, saying the station is “100 percent better off” than it was six months ago and that no reductions are in the works. In fact, he said there have been additions to the digital side of the operation and that an editor will be hired for the website because of its growth fueled by Miklasz’s presence.
“Those are some things we didn’t have before on the digital side that we now can sell,” Kijowski said.
Overall, Kijowski said he is pleased with the early returns.
To read more of this article visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Doug Gottlieb: Nobody Cares About World Cup Once USA’s Eliminated
“I’m sure people in the soccer world are still talking about the World Cup. But zero people I know in real life are talking about the World Cup today.”
The United States has been eliminated from the 2022 World Cup, and FOX Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb believes that will return the sport back to its usual place inside the sports media landscape.
“I’m sure people in the soccer world are still talking about the World Cup,” Gottlieb said on his In The Bonus podcast Monday. “But zero people I know in real life are talking about the World Cup today.
“You can tell me how big soccer is in the world — and I’m not gonna dispute it — and you can tell me we’re doing better in the world than we’ve ever done — and I’m not gonna dispute it, it’s fine — but the fact is that as soon as that match was over we went from a couple of hours of soccer guy, or writer guy who’s really a soccer guy at heart, talking about should we change coaches, tactics, players, or whatever, and then it’s over. I don’t know who won and I don’t care.”
Gottlieb later added that soccer has been “the sport of the future” for his entire life, but added that college basketball is going on right now, and it isn’t on the national sports radar, either.
Jon Marks Working Without At Contract at WIP
WIP is currently in the midst of changes to its lineup due to the upcoming departure of legendary morning host Angelo Cataldi.
94WIP afternoon host Jon Marks has revealed he is working without a contract.
A report from CrossingBroad.com claims Marks mentioned the development on the air two weeks ago, and Marks confirmed the news when the outlet asked him for comment.
He did not, however, wish to say much more about the situation. WIP is currently in the midst of changes to its lineup due to the upcoming departure of legendary morning host Angelo Cataldi.
In late October, the station announced the current midday show of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie would replace Cataldi in the mornings. Longtime morning co-host Al Morganti will remain with the station but will no longer be heard in mornings once DeCamara and Ritchie take over. Anchor Rhea Hughes will stay in the morning timeslot.
The station has yet to name a new midday show to replace DeCamara and Ritchie. Marks is currently teamed with former NFL linebacker Ike Reese from 2:00-6:00 PM. The two were paired together in 2017.
Boomer Esiason Wonders If Joe Buck Was Criticized Before Energetic Monday Night Football Open
“Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”
Monday Night Football got off to an energetic start last night, with the usually reserved Joe Buck showcasing an exuberant attitude while discussing the weather and the fact that the calendar has already flipped to December. WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason wondered if there was an ulterior motive to Buck’s raucous start.
In addition to the energy exuded by the Monday Night Football announcer, Buck nearly howeld in excitement as the network showcased Tom Brady’s usual scream of “Let’s F—ing Go!”, by shouting “Yeah! Let’s go! I can’t say one of those words!”
The excitement was noticed by Boomer & Gio update anchor Jerry Recco who played the audio for the show, with Boomer Esiason wondering if Buck was proving a point to someone.
“Maybe somebody told him he was too downcast the previous broadcast,” Esiason wondered. “Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”