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Sports Radio Thrives In The Summer Book

Jason Barrett

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How did sports radio stations perform during the month of September or for the summer book? Below are a few details from a number of top markets. Stations are always invited to be included in this quarterly column and help tell their story and reinforce the power of the sports talk radio format. To have your brand represented in the future please reach out via email to [email protected].

Los Angeles:

The shares may not be high in the city of Angels but growth has been a positive for ESPN LA 710 AM. For the summer book, the radio station finished ahead of local competitor AM 570 LA Sports in all M-F 6a-7p head to head battles. 570 did gain an advantage during evenings thanks to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Leading the way for 710 was the popular midday team Mason & Ireland with just under a 4 share. Equally as encouraging for 710 was an increase of a full point or better for all of the station’s key weekday shows year over year. 570 received its best ratings in midday thanks to a solid performance from Colin Cowherd.

Chicago:

The competition is always fierce in the windy city between 670 The Score and ESPN 1000 and the summer book was no exception. This quarter belonged to The Score as the station placed 3rd overall M-SU 6a-Mid with just under a 5 share. 1000 finished 15th for the full week with slightly over a 3 share. Given the power of the Cubs though, that’s not a big surprise. Once again 670 led the way in mornings, with Mully and Hanley nearly doubling Mike and Mike. M&H were 3rd with just under a 6 share. M&M produced a 3 share. In middays, The Score’s team of Parkins and Spiegel got some great news, finishing seven tenths of a point ahead of David Kaplan and the first hour of Carmen and Jurko‘s show (670 and 1000 schedule their shows differently). The Score was 6th between 9a-1p. ESPN 1000 was 9th. Where ESPN 1000 received its biggest win was in PM drive between 2p-6p. Waddle and Silvy finished tied for 1st with just over a 5 share. The Score’s team of Bernsein and Goff were three tenths of a point behind in 4th. One item to point out, Bernstein and Goff’s show is an hour longer though than Waddle and Silvy’s so if you measure their entire 1p-6p program the news is slightly different, the two stations are even during those hours at just under a 5 share. Nonetheless, Waddle and Silvy have been rolling in 2017.

San Francisco:

The Giants and Athletics weren’t chasing world series trophies, and the Raiders, 49ers, Warriors and Sharks weren’t involved in regular season action yet, but that didn’t stop KNBR 680 from turning in a strong September book. Summer book totals weren’t yet made available. For the overall month, KNBR led all head to head weekday show comparisons against 95.7 The Game. The station was 2nd M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid among Men 25-54, led by a 1st place finish from Gary and Larry in middays. The station also got a 2nd place performance from Fitz and Brooks, a 3rd place ranking in afternoon drive with Tom Tolbert and John Lund and a 6th place showing in mornings from Murph and Mac. 95.7 The Game received its best performance M-F 10a-1p and saw a slight uptick year to year for its morning show numbers.

Philadelphia:

Last year Sports Radio WIP took a few lumps for its ratings lagging behind where they normally were, but the tide has begun to turn in 2017. For the summer book, WIP advanced into the Top 3 among Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid, up from 7th one year earlier. Leading the charge was Angelo Cataldi, who turned in a Top 3 performance in mornings with a low 7 share. The midday team of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie finished 4th with a mid 6 share, up year to year from 10th and a high 3 share. Rounding things out in afternoons were the team of Chris Carlin and Ike Reese, who registered a Top 5 finish with just under a 5 share, up nearly a point and 4 positions year to year. The one area where 97.5 The Fanatic remained ahead and in strong shape was in PM drive thanks to Mike Missanelli.

Washington DC:

History was made in the nation’s capital and this time it had zero to do with politics. 106.7 The Fan saw its morning show, The Sports Junkies, register a 1st place finish in AM drive for the summer book beating the nation’s dominant news talk brand WTOP. The market victory was a first for the Junkies. Making the feat even more spectacular was that the show produced a low 10 share to earn the win among Men 25-54. That number was strong enough to place the show 2nd with Adults 25-54 too. The Fan also received positives news in middays and afternoons, with Grant and Danny and Chad Dukes each placing 3rd for the summer book. G&D were #1 overall for the month of September, and Dukes was 2nd in afternoon drive. The Fan finished 2nd overall M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid with Men 25-54.

Boston:

The summer book produced positive stories for both local sports radio brands but momentum appears to have shifted in the direction of WEEI. The quarter saw WEEI edge 98.5 The Sports Hub by three tenths of a point for 1st overall M-SU 6a-Mid. The two stations were tied for 1st M-F 6a-7p with each delivering slightly above a 10 share. In the head to head matchups, Kirk and Callahan won morning drive again by finishing 1st with just under a 14 share. The Hub’s Toucher and Rich were also in double digits with just above a 10 and a half. K&C also finished 1st for the quarter with Adults 25-54 and Men 18+ and 35-64. In middays, Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria finished 2nd, nipping The Hub’s Zo and Bertrand by four tenths of a point with Men 25-54. OMF were just above a 9 share. The Hub remained in control in afternoons with Felger and Massarotti taking top honors among Men 25-54 with a little better than an 11 share. WEEI’s Dale, Holley and Keefe continued to increase their share and finished 2nd. The Hub also won evenings from 6p-10p by three tenths of a point. One stark difference between the two brands is how their streaming performances factor into their monthly and quarterly numbers. Entercom, which owns and operates WEEI subscribes to Total Line Reporting which includes over the air and streaming listening. CBS Radio, which owns and operates The Sports Hub, lists them separately.

Seattle:

Summer listening wasn’t as hot as it normally is, but in September the audience was back and clamoring for more. The beneficiary of the interest was 710 ESPN Seattle which had 3 shows finish the month in the Top 10, led by Danny, Dave and Moore and Bob, Groz and Tom each placing in the Top 6 in their respective dayparts. With football season now in full swing, and the Seahawks making noise on and off the field, listening should continue to increase, helping the market end the 2017 campaign on a high note.

Denver:

The summer book provided another powerful story for 104.3 The Fan. Denver’s leading sports radio brand finished 1st overall among Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p with just under an 8 share. Making the news more remarkable was that the brand grew from a low 5 share in July to a high 10 share in September (think football might create a little interest?). The biggest benefactor was the morning team of Mike Evans and Mark Schlereth. The duo increased their share from the mid 8’s in July to the high 13’s in September. The morning show has finished 1st overall every single month in 2017 except July (finished 2nd) and has increased their overall double digit share year to year by three full points.

St. Louis:

101 ESPN continues to dominate the marketplace, pulling in another Top 3 finish among Men 25-54 with just under a 10 share. Leading the way once again was the station’s afternoon show, The Fast Lane, which finished the quarter 1st overall with a mid 11 share, highlighted by a mid 12 performance in September. The drive time program has been rated 1st overall every month this year. 101’s remaining weekday shows hosted by Bernie Miklasz, Kevin Wheeler and the team of Anthony Stalter and Chris Duncan finished between 2nd and 4th in their respective dayparts.

Additional Market Notes:

97.1 The Ticket in Detroit turned in another big ratings book. The radio station was #1 overall with Men 25-54

In Dallas, Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket was #1 with Men 25-54. 105.3 The Fan also performed well coming in 3rd.

The Charlotte sports radio scene once again was led by WFNZ which received a strong midday performance.

And to wrap things up, KFAN in Minneapolis continued to cruise, finishing in the Top 5 among Adults 6+, 18-49 and 25-54. The station finished #1 overall with Men 25-54.

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Mike Florio: Giving Teams Too Many Prime-Time Games ‘Compromises the Integrity of the Game’

“At some point it’s just going to be whatever we think every week is going to lead to the biggest ratings and the biggest numbers and the most money, that’s what we’re going to do and it’s unfair to certain teams to do that.”

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Mike Florio
Courtesy: Denny Medley, USA TODAY Sports

Mike Florio spent time on his Pro Football Talk Live show talking about the NFL schedule which was released in full earlier this week. The focus of the discussion was on the New York Jets schedule, however the topic related to many of the top teams in football. With the league wanting to maximize revenue there are more stand-alone games, which Florio says have “an extra layer of stress and strain.”

The Jets will have six prime-time games over the team’s first 11 weeks of the season. This includes an opening week Monday Night Football road game on the other side of the country against the San Franciso 49ers, two Sunday Night Football games, a Thursday Night Football game, one other appearance on Monday Night Football and a trip to London to play the Vikings.

Florio believes it is unfair to have teams with this much travel and this many featured games. “See, this is a TV show,” he said. “This is where the pursuit of money, the pursuit of maximum ratings, laying the foundation for putting all of the TV contracts out to bid again after the 2029 season, it gets in the way of giving teams a fair shake.”

He later added, “The truth is, the broadcast partners are clamoring for Aaron Rodgers…so they loaded it up early before the Jets have the wheels come off…The problem is they’re kicking the wheels off by doing this. By having them hopscotch the country and play short weeks twice and all of these prime-time games. There’s an extra layer of stress and strain that goes into all of these stand-alone games and all of this travel early in the season.”

Rodgers is coming off missing an entire season due to an Achilles injury and will turn 41 in early December. “Let’s be realistic about it, you’re putting him in a position where this 40-year-old body is going to be strained beyond reasonable limits from all these games on short [rest],” Florio said. “…It’s dangerous to Aaron Rodgers and its disadvantageous to the Jets and it compromises the integrity of the game.

“You still have an obligation to balance things out. It can’t be ‘let’s have the best possible TV audiences, that can’t be the driving factor…It should be a fair balance for all teams…At some point it’s just going to be whatever we think every week is going to lead to the biggest ratings and the biggest numbers and the most money, that’s what we’re going to do and it’s unfair to certain teams to do that.”

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Marv Albert Talks Retirement, Play-by-Play and OJ Simpson Chase with Dan Patrick

“I must say retirement has been great.”

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Marv Albert
Courtesy: PDA Speakers

Three years ago on Friday, legendary play-by-play announcer Marv Albert announced that he would be retiring from his role as the lead voice of the NBA on TNT. This concluded a 55-year broadcast career during which he called 13 NBA Finals matchups, eight Super Bowl championships, eight Stanley Cup Final series and countless other memorable games across a variety of professional sports. Albert is the former television play-by-play announcer for the New York Knicks and appeared on the Dan Patrick Show where he discussed his takeaways of the team. In fact, Albert divulged that he was at Madison Square Garden during the team’s first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Patrick wanted to know from Albert how he was enjoying retirement, a reality that he himself will be facing in three years. Last summer, Patrick announced that his final show would take place on Dec. 24, 2027 and inked a four-year contract extension with NBC Sports and iHeartMedia. Patrick’s show currently airs on FOX Sports Radio and can be live streamed through NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service. Albert has not been behind the microphone for approximately three years, but he is still keeping in tune with what is going on around the sports world.

“Life is good, Dan. How are you doing?,” Albert asked. “I must say retirement has been great. I do miss the preparation and the people I work with, and we do stay in touch, but I am Mr. Binge TV, and I do a lot of reading, work out, all those kind of things, but all is good. I’ve been enjoying the playoffs also.”

Earlier on Friday morning, PGA Tour professional golfer Scottie Scheffler was arrested and charged with a felony and other counts after he allegedly injured a police officer. Scheffler was driving by the scene of a fatal crash and was charged with felony second-degree assault on a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers during traffic. Scheffler was released from jail in the morning and played the second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Ky. Patrick mentioned the police chase involving O.J. Simpson that lasted for two hours following Simpson being charged with murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

Albert was in the midst of calling Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals between the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks. He vividly remembers players going to the press table at Madison Square Garden, which had televisions, and trying to see the latest action going on during the car chase.

“Dick Ebersol, the president of NBC Sports, was sitting to our left in the stands, but he had an earpiece so he heard exactly what was going on, and he was kind of directing the activity also,” Albert recalled. “‘Send it back to Tom [Brokaw]; go over to Bob [Costas],’ all this stuff. ‘By the way, there’s Charles Smith with the jump shot.’ It really was the most unusual situation I have been in on the air.”

Patrick was curious to know what has changed in terms of play-by-play announcing since Albert has retired, to which he replied that things largely remained the same in basketball. In other sports though, Albert has observed that there is more talking than there was in the past, articulating that he watches a lot of baseball and has noticed it during the broadcasts. Patrick added that he enjoys the usage of silence within a call and believes it is a lost art with the ostensible need to consistently speak when they are describing something, a sentiment Albert agreed with and explained was more compatible with television broadcasts.

“There’s no question,” Albert said. “You can use the crowd – the crowd is very important, particularly at times like this during the playoffs where the crowds are at another level.”

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Gregg Giannotti: Emmanuel Berbari Needs to Do a Little Better Than ‘Gone, Goodbye’

“I just know as a listener, it’s not doing it for me.”

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Gregg Giannotti
Courtesy: Peter Ackerman, Asbury Park Press

The New York Yankees are entrenched in the upper pantheon of the Major League Baseball standings to begin the new season. The team has won eight of its last 10 games, including a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins and looks poised for a deep postseason run, but there have been hardships the organization has had to overcome to get there. Additionally, longtime Yankees radio play-by-play voice John Sterling retired from the broadcast booth in mid-April, ending an illustrious 36-year run calling the team’s games. Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti talked about one of Sterling’s replacements on Boomer & Gio.

Occupying the play-by-play announcing role throughout the regular season has been Justin Shackil and Emmanuel Berbari, both of whom have filled in for Sterling in the past when he had to miss games. Berbari worked alongside analyst Suzyn Waldman for the team’s series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, broadcast on the team’s flagship station, WFAN. Shortstop Anthony Volpe hit a leadoff home run to commence the final game of the series, and Berbari gave a home run call of ‘Gone, goodbye!’ on the air. WFAN host Gregg Giannotti, however, believes that there is room for improvement for the young announcer.

“I am fascinated by these guys that are now filling in for John Sterling, and John has retired, because you have to kind of thread a needle because you don’t want to be too over the top but you don’t want to be too boring, so how do you figure that out,” Giannotti said on Friday morning’s edition of Boomer & Gio on WFAN. “If I were giving Emmanuel Berbari advice, I would say we go to to just do a little bit better than ‘Gone, goodbye.’”

Giannotti ultimately compelled Berbari to try and find a middle ground between his ‘Gone, goodbye’ call and Sterling’s signature call for home runs by Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Co-host Boomer Esiason asked Giannotti to give Berbari an example of what he would be satisfied with, to which he replied that he was not a play-by-play announcer.

“As a consumer, as a listener, I don’t know,” Giannotti said. “I’m not the one who has to think about it. I just know as a listener, it’s not doing it for me.”

Esiason proceeded to remind Giannotti of the time that they called a New Jersey Devils game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He wanted to know if Giannotti had thought about his call if the Devils scored a goal, off which he stated that he had not. Anchor Jerry Recco, who also works as a play-by-play announcer, explained that he perceives it to be a different situation when calling a baseball game.

“Yeah, you do think about it,” Recco said. “I’ve never really done baseball, but there are different home runs as well though. You’ve got the little line drives that you don’t know are going to get out and you kind of react to it. You’ve got the Judge one the other night that was a moonshot.”

From there, Esiason added that if he were calling the games, it would be difficult for him to manufacture excitement in a mid-May matchup that the Yankees are expected to win. In fact over the last five years, the Yankees have a 19-8 regular-season record against the Twins and have also defeated them during the postseason.

“John figured out a way to do it for a million years – 162 games,” Giannotti replied.

“Yankees-Marlins on a Tuesday night, he was fired up,” Recco added.

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