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The Salt Lake City Sports Radio Ratings

Jason Barrett

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Salt Lake City may be well known for its amazing scenery, and passion for college sports and Utah Jazz basketball, but it also serves as the home to three local sports radio stations. It’s a city where many successful format programmers and personalities have served before moving on to other locations. Case in point, Scott Masteller, Kevin Graham, Ryan Hatch, John Lund, Ian Fitzsimmons, and Jeff Austin have all spent time in the crossroads of the west, and there are many others that could be added to that list.

I was fortunate to receive an update on the February ratings and am excited to share it with you because it’s not everyday that we get a deeper look at the way this market performs. I’ve listened to all three stations at various points during the past few months/years, and I can tell you that there is a lot of strong underrated talent here.

As you review this information, I remind you that we’re looking at a one month snapshot with Men 25-54. Depending on the time of year, and what catches fire locally, things can change quickly. None the less, here is how all three brands finished for the month of February. Due to shows airing at different times on each station, I’ve listed their performances in accordance with each of their timeslots.

97.5/1280 The Zone (Simulcast combined number): 

  • David James and Patrick Kinahan (DJ and PK): 6a-10a = 4.6 (8th)
  • Jake Scott and Tony Parks: 10a-12p = 6.3 (3rd)
  • Hans Olsen and Scott Garrard: 12p-3p = 6.4 (3rd)
  • Spence Checketts and Gordon Monson: 3p-7p = 6.0 (4th)

*** From 10a-7p the radio station is very healthy. Each show delivers a 6 share and is inside the Top 4. That’s outstanding. The morning show is lower but still inside the Top 10. The challenge for the brand is to utilize those 10a-7p hours to direct the audience back to morning drive to help DJ and PK. Regardless, they’re in great shape and having the Jazz games on the air helps the station add cume outside of 6a-7p. They’re well established as the market leader and have a number of personalities with great history in the marketplace. One thing I’ve observed in previous listening, is that there’s a feeling that each show pulls for one another. That chemistry and energy is infectious. 

ESPN 700 (Flagship station for the University of Utah): 

  • Mike and Mike: 5a-8a = 3.4 (10th)
  • Dan Patrick: 8a-11a = 4.1 (10th)
  • Bill Riley 11a-2p = 2.9 (14th) ( moved into this slot one week into the book)
  • Sean O’Connell 2p-7p = 2.6 (18th) (was with Riley for week #1, added Keith Stubbs to the show but he left 2 weeks later)

*** 700’s national shows outperform their local ones which tells you that the audience likes that they offer national perspectives. Mike and Mike and Dan Patrick are well known personalities and their styles are a hit in this market. Riley moved into middays during this month and only had 3 weeks in the book so it’s way too early to tell how his show will impact the station. Most changes take a long period of time to make inroads. The immediate challenge is stabilizing afternoons where Riley and O’Connell were a solid pair and Keith Stubbs was added but vacated the program after a few weeks. OC is an excellent talent and if they find the right host to team with him or position him strongly as a solo act, they might be able to make a bigger dent. They’re popping a Top 10 performance between 5a-11a so there’s definitely an opportunity to re-direct listeners to their local offerings between 11a-7p.

1320 KFAN:

  • Tim Lewis: 6a-10a = 0.9 (27th) (Lewis was only on for 2 weeks during this month)
  • Jim Rome: 10a-1p = 1.5 (25th)
  • Doug Gottlieb: 1p-3p = 0.9 (31st)
  • Kyle Gunther and Ben Anderson: 3p-7p = 2.4 (20th)

*** Program Director Chris Hoffman recently added Tim Lewis to stabilize mornings so this month’s number is not an accurate reflection of how he’s performing since he wasn’t on for the entire month. Much like 700’s changes, it’ll take time to see how the audience responds to the new morning show and March will offer the first full month report. That said, it’s clear that the station’s afternoon show is their best asset. If the station can get an even bigger lift out of afternoons, and a stronger result in mornings, they’ll have a story to share, and can then focus on ways to increase the productivity in middays.

Overall, The Zone performed on a different level than 700 and 1320 for the month of February. If you add the Jazz into the mix, the station certainly has some advantages beyond the 6a-7p window.

One thing that stood out was the way the market consumed sports talk programming in afternoon drive. To see The Zone deliver a 6.0, 700 produce a 2.6, and 1320 turn in a 2.4, shows that the local market is willing to listen to three different sports radio options. That’s encouraging and should keep each show on their toes because a lackluster effort can lead to the competition gaining some momentum.

Additionally, it’s clear that for this month (and it’s been this way previously too), Dan Patrick and Mike and Mike perform on a much higher level locally than Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb. That’s a positive for 700, and a challenge for 1320. If a station can perform in the Top 10 with a national show and not take on adding expenses, it’s a huge positive for the company’s bottom line.

Going forward, The Zone’s top priority is to sustain where they are 10a-7p, and aim to perform even stronger. If the morning show can sneak into the Top 5, that’s going to really the station’s narrative in the local marketplace. It’s clear, their consistency is excellent, and their talent and branding are high profile, which makes for a winning combination. Until proven otherwise, they’re the brand to beat.

For 700, having Mike and Mike and Dan Patrick deliver in the Top 10 is great for business. If the new local shows get a chance to bake and gain some consistency with the audience, that could help create some nice traction heading into the fall, when they add Utah Football to the mix. The focus at this time is to figure out if OC is best suited to host solo, and if not, who to pair with him. If set up and positioned properly, and heavily cross promoted during the national programs, the station could make further inroads and solidify its position as the number two rated brand in the market.

Last but not least, 1320 added a talented morning guy in Tim Lewis, and he needs time to become familiar to the audience. The morning rating right now is not good, but once Lewis settles in, and makes a deeper connection with local people, I’d expect those numbers to improve. If it can produce in similar fashion to the afternoon show, they’ll be making good progress. Then the focus shifts to middays, and whether or not their national shows have a higher ceiling. If they don’t, the station will have to examine whether or not it makes business sense to add a local show in middays. The immediate goal is to build consistency and show improvement during both drive times. If they can do that, then they’ll have a chance to close the gap on second place.

Sports Radio News

1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

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In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”

Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”

According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.

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Sports Radio News

1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming

The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.

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1250 AM The Fan

Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.

The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.

The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.

In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.

One host who may remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.

Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.

Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.

One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.

This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce 5% of its programming staff.

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Sports Radio News

Fred Toucher: Fred Roggin Rant ‘Is Why Everyone Thinks Radio Sucks’

“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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A recent piece in the L.A. Times painting the picture of why the sports radio audience in Los Angeles is smaller than that of Boston struck a nerve locally.

And when AM 570 LA Sports host Fred Roggin tried to explain why Boston does so much better with listeners, Fred Toucher couldn’t contain himself.

Let me give it to you in a nutshell real, real quickly,” Roggin said in a clip that played during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday. “The implication here is that you don’t care. Do they have as many Latinos living in Boston? I don’t think so, and if you look at the ratings, they don’t. We’re a melting pot, we’re very different here. Sports is a niche audience.

Toucher and company laughed at the sound byte before Toucher laid into Roggin.

“Does that mean that Latinos don’t like sports?” he asked. “To do well in Los Angeles, you have to adapt to the market, you jackass! Latinos have to listen to ya.”

Roggin and co-host Rodney Peete sounded even more out of touch in the clip by saying that part of the reason more people listen to sports talk in Boston is because of weather and an affinity for baked beans. Additionally, there’s just more to do in LA versus Boston.

“He is under the impression that the east coast is really something else,” Toucher said. “But he’s painting the east coast as if like no one lives out here. Like New York City and Philadelphia are these minor flyover states. It’s really funny.”

Toucher understood Roggin taking the time to go on the defensive, but he just couldn’t get over the way in which the defense was presented.

“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said. “What do you care if the station in Boston does better than you? What does it matter to you?! Clean up your own business! Jesus Christ!”

“This is the first time I think I’ve ever heard the northeast described as like toothless hicks that like got nothing better to do,” Toucher added.

Toucher finished his point by piling on the hosts further, saying that if their show aired anywhere else, it would fail.

“This is why everyone thinks radio sucks,” Toucher said before the rest of the Roggin clip was played.

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