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The Latest Sports Radio Ratings In Boston

Jason Barrett

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There is no market for sports radio hotter right now than Boston. The work being done by WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub is incredible and it truly is a case of two brands being well positioned for on-air success. That’s helping both CBS and Entercom generate a whole lot of revenue.

In the recent spring book which covers March 24-June 15, the Sports Hub finished 1st M-SU 6a-Mid with an 11.0. WEEI placed 2nd with an 8.1. Making the performance even more impressive is that the Hub was up 2 full points over a 12-month stretch, and WEEI picked up 1.3 shares during that same period.

Toucher and Rich fueled the Hub’s success in morning drive by earning top honors with Men 25-54 with a 14.6. Dennis and Callahan with Kirk Minihane came in 2nd, also in double digits, turning in a 10.5.

Shifting to middays, the Hub’s Scott Zolak and Marc Bertrand popped an 11.8 to finish 1st. WEEI’s Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni, and Christian Fauria were 4th with a 7.0.

In afternoons, the Hub once again led the pack with Felger and Massarotti delivering a 12.8. WEEI’s Dale and Holley with Jerry Thornton was 2nd at an 8.3.

The one area where WEEI defeated the Hub was in evenings where Red Sox baseball propelled the radio station to a 1st place finish and 9.4 share. The Hub was 2nd with Adam Jones’ show recording an 8.1.

On the surface it’s easy to focus on the Hub’s stranglehold on the top position. They absolutely deserve credit for the success they’ve achieved, and have produced one of the best sports radio brands in America. Mike Thomas and his team deserve the accolades they’ve received for a job well done. In the past year alone, Toucher and Rich have improved from a 10.8 to a 14.6, and Zolak and Bertrand went from an 8.8 to an 11.8. Felger and Massarotti were flat with a 12.8, which is still an insane number.

But while applauding the Hub for their growth, don’t overlook what WEEI has done. The radio station was struggling a few years ago and made some great adjustments which have now made it a much closer two station race. Each of these stations are kicking the crap out of the rest of the market in the battle for Men 25-54, and most sports talkers across the country would kill for WEEI’s performance. They just happen to be pulling in big numbers while squaring off against one of the biggest ratings juggernauts in the country, in a market that can’t get enough sports radio conversation.

Did you know that last spring, these two sports stations combined to deliver a 16 share? This spring they eclipsed that mark with a combined 19 share! It’s hard to believe that they could grow that number even higher next spring but given the way Boston sports radio fans have responded to each of their presentations, I wouldn’t bet against it.

WEEI can take solace in the fact that they produced their highest Spring book performance since PPM measurement went into effect in 2010. The station’s previous best was a 7.1 earned in the Spring of 2012. What I was most impressed by were the increases of the station’s top shows year to year. Dennis and Callahan grew from a 7.5 to an 11.1. Ordway/Merloni/Fauria spiked from a 3.6 to a 6.8. And Dale and Holley climbed from a 6.4 to 8.2. That’s outstanding progress, which Kevin Graham, Phil Zachary and the programming team deserve credit for.

Too often in this industry we highlight the top brand and discredit the competitor, but success isn’t measured simply by who turns in a higher share. Each of these brands are unique, compelling, staffed with incredible talent, and they possess the ability to continue generating higher ratings and revenues. The on-air hosts for each brand will undoubtedly look to best their counterparts book after book, and quarter after quarter, but they also recognize that if they deliver their best effort and choose the right content, it’s likely to be supported by local listeners. That in of itself equals success.

 

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Paul McCaffrey on a ‘Murph and Mac’ Reunion: ‘You Just Might Get That at Some Point’

“If you’re hoping for a Murph and Mac reunion down the road, just know that I’m hoping for that as well.”

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A photo of Paul McCaffrey and Brian Murphy
Courtesy: Paul McCaffrey X Account (L to R Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey)

Exactly six months after being let go by KNBR in San Francisco, Paul McCaffrey talked about his exit from the station and a bit about his future with SFGate Sports Editor Alex Simon. McCaffery was a part of the Murph and Mac show with Brian Murphy and had been since 2005.

The end came on November 29 last year and McCaffery told Simon he was asked to meet with management, separate from Murphy. McCaffrey was out, Murphy was still in. Others, including nighttime host and former MLB outfielder F.P. Santangelo were also let go in a round of layoffs.

McCaffrey said since that time he has been paying a lot of attention to former radio hosts such as Damon Bruce and Larry Krueger have done since leaving the medium. He told Simon YouTube is of particular interest to him and that he has visited Bruce’s studio.

“You don’t need the 50,000-watt station, not in 2024,” Simon quoted McCaffrey as saying.

Simon’s article says McCaffrey has something in the works he hopes to announce in a few months and that there would be familiar names involved. Asked specifically about Murphy, McCaffrey told Simon, “If you’re hoping for a Murph and Mac reunion down the road, just know that I’m hoping for that as well. And you just might get that at some point. I’ll just kind of leave it there.”

Simon spoke with Brian Murphy as well, who said he is enjoying working at KNBR with current partner Markus Boucher but that he “would never rule out — never rule out — being anywhere with Paulie Mac anytime.”

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New England Patriots, Beasley Media Group Agree to Multiyear Broadcast Extension

“We are honored to continue broadcasting the games to our fans for at least the next decade!”

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New England Patriots; 98.5 The Sports Hub
(Illustration) | 98.5 The Sports Hub Logo – Courtesy: Beasley Media Group New England Patriots Logo – Courtesy: National Football League | Gillette Stadium – Courtesy: David Sarnevitz, New England Patriots

The New England Patriots and Beasley Media Group have announced a multiyear broadcast extension that will retain 98.5 The Sports Hub as the official flagship station of the team. The Patriots will be broadcast on the outlet through the 2033 season, continuing the partnership between both entities since the launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009. Fans can also listen to games utilizing the 98.5 The Sports Hub website or app.

“Patriots fans throughout New England have come to rely on the sound quality, reach and overall coverage that 98.5 The Sports Hub has delivered since they launched 15 years ago,” Murray Kohl, vice president of corporate sponsorship sales for the New England Patriots, said in a statement. “Bob Socci and Scott Zolak are perfectly paired to deliver all the action to Patriots fans throughout the region. We are happy to extend this partnership for another 10 years and hope it will continue for decades to come.”

“The Patriots are a religion in New England,” Mary Menna, vice president and market manager for Beasley Media Group Boston, said in a statement. “We are honored to continue broadcasting the games to our fans for at least the next decade! The Kraft family, the Patriots staff and the entire team are such amazing partners.”

Patriots gameday broadcasts will begin three hours prior to kickoff with Patriots Preview, primarily hosted by Jim Murray and also including Marc Bertrand during select weeks. Chris Gasper, Boston Globe columnist and co-host of Gasper & Murray on Saturdays, will also make a return for his 10th season as the pregame co-host. The Patriots postgame show will air for three hours following every game broadcast as well.

“The Patriots have been a cornerstone of our programming since we launched the Sports Hub,” Rick Radzik, program director of 98.5 The Sports Hub, said in a statement. “As the team enters this new era, I’m thrilled that 98.5 The Sports Hub will be the home of the game broadcasts for the next decade, while also continuing to provide an outlet for Pats fans to talk football year-round.”

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Mark Giannotto Leaving 92.9 ESPN and Memphis

“Mark has been terrific on 92.9 FM ESPN starting as a guest some 6 years ago and then joining us as a host for the Giannotto & Jeffrey Show 5 years ago.”

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Phto of Mark Giannotto and a graphic for Jeffrey Wright and Friends on 92.9 ESPN Memphis
Photo Credit: Memphis Commercial Appeal Graphic Credit: Audacy Memphis

Mark Giannotto, one half of Giannotto and Jeffrey on 92.9 ESPN in Memphis and lead columnist for the Memphis Commercial Appeal is leaving the area and moving closer to family in Chicago. Giannotto’s last day on the air will be this Friday, May 31.

In a staff email Barrett Sports Media obtained, Audacy Memphis Sports Brand Manager/Operations Brad Carson said, “While I’m super happy for Mark personally, obviously we’ll miss him here at 92.9 professionally. Mark has been terrific on 92.9 FM ESPN starting as a guest some 6 years ago and then joining us as a host for the “Giannotto & Jeffrey Show” 5 years ago. Immediately the daypart grew to that dayparts biggest numbers and Jeffrey and Mark demonstrated a new standard for mid-afternoon sports radio for us. Jeffrey and Mark both have been integral to our brand and I want to recognize them BOTH.”

As for what is next in the daypart, co-host Jeffrey Wright will continue on with a new show, Jeffrey Wright & Company, featuring Wright with various personalities.

“This gives us an opportunity to try some different things and reset using Jeffrey’s leadership,” Carson said in the email. “I want to personally thank Jeffrey for his unrelenting work ethic, can do attitude for our brand, and ease. Jeffrey gets it done in all aspects for us and has done so selflessly since he started here producing Geoff [Calkins’] show daily and running his own show 8 years ago.”

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