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104.5 The Zone Dominates Nashville’s January Ratings

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Earlier this month we released our “2015 Best In Sports Radio” series which highlighted the Top 20 in a number of different categories. If you read my follow up piece, you likely recall how I pointed out that a number of smaller market stations and shows didn’t receive their due when many had a legitimate gripe.

In the case of great brands like 610 Sports in Kansas City, 101 ESPN in St. Louis, and 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh, they did everything they were supposed to do from a performance standpoint. Their only crime in receiving credit was not tripling the size of their population and becoming a top 10 market, and that’s unfair.

Well, one brand that didn’t bellyache over any of the results but had as strong of a reason to as anyone, was 104.5 The Zone in Nashville.

To many on the outside, the Nashville market may be best known for the Titans and Country music but to plenty of industry insiders, The Zone has become a well respected brand in the sports talk format. It has been and continues to be one of the highest rated brands in the nation, but even many who work in the sports radio field aren’t aware of just how dominant their performance is.

I was able to do some digging and gather the ratings data for the January book in the Nashville market, and I’m excited to share it with you because I believe this is a story that deserves to be told. In my opinion, it’s flown under the radar for far too long.

Let’s start by focusing on M-SU 6a-Mid with Men 25-54.

  • 104.5 The Zone = 11.2 (1st)

*** The Zone’s closest competitor, 102.5 and 94.9 The Game, finished tied for 16th with a 1.8.

Next up, M-F 6a-7p with Men 25-54.

  • 104.5 The Zone = 12.7 (1st)

When you turn the attention towards the radio station’s weekday programs, it’s the same story. Let’s begin by looking at M-F 6a-10a with Men 25-54.

  • 104.5 The Zone (The Wakeup Zone) = 14.2 (1st)

Shifting gears, we move on to middays M-F 10a-3p with Men 25-54.

  • 104.5 The Zone (Dan Patrick Show and Midday 180) = 11.7 (1st)

To wrap things up we shine the spotlight on M-F 3p-7p with Men 25-54.

  • 104.5 The Zone (3HL and Primetime) = 12.3 (1st)

Even the radio station’s weekends deliver a 9.7 which is also good enough for 1st.

At this point, the real internal story is which show is going to gain bragging rights for being the best on the radio station. The threat of competition is not on the radio station’s radar. For this month, the honor of being recognized as the station’s best belongs to ‘The Wake Up Zone” which features Kevin Ingram, Frank Wycheck and Mark Howard.

What’s scary is that when you look at the money demo (Persons 25-54), the same story exists.

For example, The Zone was tied for 5th M-SU 6a-Mid with a 6.8. They were 4th M-F 6a-7p with a 7.5. In mornings they finished 2nd with an 8.6. Middays came in 5th with a 7.1. And in afternoon drive, they’re 4th with a 6.9.

What this data tells us is that The Zone owns the market with Men 25-54, and the real competitive focus is on beating brands in the Persons 25-54 category. When a sports station is able to do that, it puts a company in position to have huge financial success.

Let me be clear about one thing as it pertains to this story. I don’t work for 104.5 The Zone or Cumulus who owns the radio station. The only thing I gain by sharing this story is some additional web traffic, a few thank you’s from listeners and industry folks who are appreciative of learning the information, and if I play my cards right, maybe a retweet from Mickey Ryan, Brent Dougherty and Blaine Bishop of 3HL.

If The Zone was losing badly, I wouldn’t hesitate to share that story because I believe in being fair, objective, and honest. In this case though there isn’t much to say other than “congrats on a job well done!”

The purpose of this piece is to educate you on what this brand has created in its local market, and acknowledge why they deserve to be in the conversation among elite brands in the sports radio format. Stations such as 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI in Boston, WFAN in New York, 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, and KFAN in Minneapolis all deserve to be at the top of the list, but 104.5 The Zone can make an argument for why they belong in the same discussion.

When you’re delivering double digit ratings and 1st place finishes month after month, that’s impossible to ignore. It’s these types of stories that demonstrate the power sports radio has in local markets, and the more we become familiar with them, the more the mainstream media will have to take notice of the way this format and its personalities connect with local audiences, and deliver results for advertisers.

I know this much, if you’re an advertiser looking to reach Men in the Nashville market, and you’re not investing the majority of your budget on The Zone, your strategy is severely flawed. There’s an old saying in sports radio “you fish where the fish are” and in this case, they’re all swimming in The Zone’s waters.

Sports Radio News

Big 12 Bans Texas Tech Radio Crew From Upcoming Game

“Texas Tech University has not officially commented on the broadcast plans for the Oklahoma State game.”

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Texas Tech fans will not hear familiar voices this week if they tune into the radio call of the Red Raiders’ game against Oklahoma State. Play-by-play man Brian Jensen and analyst John Harris have been reprimanded by the Big 12 and barred from calling the game.

The conference took action on Wednesday. During Texas Tech’s game last Saturday, Jensen and Harris were very critical of the officials in the game. They even suggested that the league was conspiring to ensure Iowa State won.

“I’ll say it right now, the Big 12 does not want Iowa State to lose this game,” Harris said on air after an interception by Texas Tech at the goal line was overturned.

Jensen tweeted about the call from the broadcast booth during the game.

The final straw for the league may have been John Harris naming the officials on air and saying that the Big 12 should “be embarrassed” by them.

“I understand the roles of the play-by-play and color analyst,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a press release. “However as University representatives they also have an obligation to adhere to Conference policy regarding comments about game officials.  The comments by the Red Raider Radio Network booth announcers were contrary to expected levels of respect and professionalism.  Questioning the integrity of Conference officials and specifically calling out members of the officiating crew is well beyond appropriate and permissible behavior.”

Texas Tech University has not officially commented on the broadcast plans for the Oklahoma State game. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal speculates that Geoff Haxton, who calls play-by-play of the school’s basketball and baseball teams, will call the action and sideline reporter Chris Level will serve as the analyst.

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Sports Radio News

102.5 The Game To Air Tribute To Floyd Reese On Friday

“The radio special will re-air on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning.”

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Floyd Reese is set to be post-humously inducted into the Titans Ring of Honor this weekend. His former co-host at 102.5 The Game will kickoff the weekend celebration with a two-hour tribute on the station.

Floyd Reese: A True Titan will air at 5 pm on The Game on Friday. The guest list includes Titans GM Jon Robinson, former Titans coach Mike Mularkey, Former Titans coach Mike Munchak, former NFL coach Jerry Glanville, former Titans WR Chris Sanders, former Titans OL Zach Piller, Titans WR Derrick Mason, and more

Reese’s sports radio career began in 2016. He joined George Plaster as part of Sports Night on 102.5 The Game. He was later moved into afternoon drive where he partnered with Jared Stillman. Reese’s time in radio came to an end in 2020. Other media experience included a brief stint as an analyst at ESPN after being let go as GM of the Tennessee Titans.

In August, Floyd Reese died. He was 73 years old.

The radio special will re-air on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning.

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Sports Radio News

Dan Patrick: I Refused To Name Branded Stadiums On SportsCenter

“I just said ‘let’s go to Baltimore,’ ‘let’s go to Chicago,’ wherever it might be.”

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Dan Patrick
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The Lakers and Clippers will not be playing in the Staples Center by the time the calendar turns to 2022. The company is giving up the lifetime naming rights deal it had with the Los Angeles arena. Crypto.com will take over as the name sponsor.

Dan Patrick welcomed Darren Rovell to his radio show on Wednesday to discuss the value of the deal. Monetarily, the price tag is $700 million. That will get Crypto.com the naming rights to the arena for twenty years.

Patrick wanted to know how the company could ensure it got its money’s worth. He admitted that when he was at ESPN, he would make a point to stand in the way of that.

“I know when I did SportsCenter, I purposely did not mention a stadium that had naming rights,” he said. “I just said ‘let’s go to Baltimore,’ ‘let’s go to Chicago,’ wherever it might be.”

Would such a practice fly now at ESPN where several segments of SportsCenter carry their own corporate sponsorships?

Rovell answered Dan Patrick by saying value is somewhat relative. Crypto.com may have ideas beyond ESPN anchors saying the company’s name during broadcasts to get the most out of its $700 million investment.

“You know what? I think it’s always up to the individual company to make the value work, right?” he said. “Like, so are they going to have like ATMs where you put in your dollars and then you get a receipt that you’ve turned it into Bitcoin? Are they going to incorporate points into what the Etherium and Bitcoin price is?”

Dan Patrick had an idea for a different sponsor that he wanted to see get the naming rights. He thought the ideal sponsor for the arena would have been TNT broadcaster and Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal, who has become a real advertising force since leaving his playing days behind.

“I thought Shaq should have gotten involved and called it ‘The Shaq.’ People would have had fun with that,” the recent inductee into the Radio Hall of Fame joked.

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