The fall tends to be when sports radio pulls out all the stops. The format loads up on content, hoping to capitalize on the countless opportunities available due to a crowded sports calendar. But once the Super Bowl is over, audiences can be harder to reach thanks to less action and weaker storylines.
Regardless of those challenges, the winter book represents each station’s first report card for the calendar year. Getting off on the right foot is important because it can send a brand backwards if they don’t.
For our first quarterly ratings report for the sports radio format in 2019 we begin with a look at some of the key takeaways from 25 different markets. We hoped to have this out a week or two sooner but sometimes data takes a little longer to come in. Though there’s a constant pressure to get things out quickly, we’d rather take our time to gather information, analyze it, and produce a thorough review especially when it involves something as important as a brand or market’s quarterly performance.
If you don’t see a market listed below it’s because we didn’t have access to their data this quarter. With that in mind, if you manage a station and would like your city/brand included in our spring report, please be sure to pass along your information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Also, we understand that you may be aware of a few of these stories already, especially in some of the nation’s larger cities. Whether it’s already been reported or not though we felt it was important to include the information since this piece examines the quarterly performance of the sports talk format.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at how the sports talk format radio performed across the country in the 2019 winter book.
Chances are you’re aware by now of the winter book ratings controversy in the big apple involving Mike Francesa and The Michael Kay Show. It may be old news by now but since this is a quarterly ratings piece on the sports radio format we’re going to cover it once more.
The overall quarter was once again won by WFAN but the weekday shows draw all the attention in the nation’s largest market. Starting with mornings, The Fan’s ‘Boomer and Gio’ finished 5th with a 5.3, a two tenths of a point gain year to year. 98.7 ESPN NY’s airing of ‘Golic and Wingo’ did a 3.6, six tenths of a point higher year over year.
Shifting to middays, Joe and Evan had the best number on FAN for the quarter with a 7.2 which was enough to place them 3rd. ESPN NY’s ‘Humpty and Canty with Rothenberg’ were further back with a 2.8. CMB wrapped up the midday sweep for The Fan by delivering a 6.8, also good enough for 3rd place. ESPN NY’s airing of The Stephen A. Smith Show generated a 3.1.
The most contested race took place in afternoons and who won depends on which version of the numbers you value most. If you go strictly by the Nielsen radio ratings, The Michael Kay Show defeated Mike Francesa 5.9. to 5.5. But since The Fan’s stream is measured separately, and ESPN NY includes theirs in their overall number, this has created room for debate. With the stream added, Francesa wins 6.2 to 5.9.
I have a few thoughts on this situation that I want to pass along. I have no dog in this fight and am not looking to change anyone’s mind. I just want to give you a few things to think about.
First, Francesa has a valid point. Why should a part of his audience not count while Kay’s does? That makes no sense. The days of counting only people listening to radio stations are long gone and the fact that this is even a conversation shows how badly our industry misses the mark at times.
But what’s come to light in NYC is nothing new. This debate has waged on in multiple markets for the past few years. I hope for the industry’s sake that the double dipping for revenue purposes is worth it for the radio stations that have to deal with bad PR and sales headaches over not having one total number.
But Kay also has a legitimate claim to victory. He won the ‘radio’ ratings for the quarter. That’s long been the focus for how we measure and bonus shows in this format. Now when he produces a better radio number than Francesa, the streaming argument comes into play?
Is it Kay’s fault that Francesa’s station chose to run their business differently? No. He did what he was supposed to and won the battle he’s been told mattered most since he began trying to win this ratings war. The same one everyone gave Francesa credit for winning his entire career. I’m pretty sure Kay’s GM (Tim McCarthy) will be bonusing Michael, Don and Peter based on where they finished the quarter in the radio ratings, not where they’d be if The Fan’s streaming number is included.
What I’d like to know is why is this a talking point now? It wasn’t brought up in the past when Francesa was cruising to ratings wins.
Here’s something else I’ve wondered about. When Kay won the winter book last year over CMB by two tenths of a point, why wasn’t anything said then about the streaming number? I don’t remember the number being added to CMB’s performance. If it was, then how much worse was their radio number? If it wasn’t, would CMB have won with it included? If so, then why wasn’t a bigger deal made of it? That’d seem to be pretty important and worth battling for given that the show was brand new and taking over for a NY sports radio legend. If they won that book, maybe less noise is made over them being installed in PM drive.
Perhaps even more worthy of questioning is the actual streaming performance of the market’s top shows. Given that we live now in a world where people listen heavily on their phones, computers, smart speakers, and to podcasts after a show airs live, doesn’t it seem odd that in a market like NYC, a show like Francesa’s would only generate seven tenths of a point in streaming listening? I don’t buy it. If Michael Kay’s number is included in his total rating, I’m sure his streaming number is relatively low too. With all of the promotion given from ESPN and the YES Network that doesn’t make a ton of sense either.
Let me be clear, this is not a knock on either show’s ability to generate listening on the stream. It’s more of a question about Nielsen’s ability to fully capture each station’s digital audience. I’m sure if I looked at The Fan and ESPN NY’s digital numbers they’ll show a much stronger story than what’s been reported by radio’s measurement service.
To wrap this up, Kay and Francesa both had a legitimate reason to proclaim victory but because their stations run their businesses differently it’s put them in a position of having to defend their performances. Maybe that’s not ideal but it does keep people talking and the industry paying extra attention.
The winter book in the nation’s 2nd largest market saw both ESPN LA 710 and AM 570 LA Sports make strides. Each station improved its weekday prime share book to book. 710 overall led the quarter by one point.
Mornings were a close battle with 710’s ‘Keyshawn, LZ and Travis’ edging The Dan Patrick Show and 1-hour of Colin Cowherd by three tenths of a point. Middays saw Stephen A. Smith edge the remaining two hours of Cowherd’s program also by three tenths of a point, and ‘Mason and Ireland’ turn in just under a 4 share to deliver a win over Fred Roggin and Rodney Peete. 710 finished up with Jorge Sedano earning a victory in afternoons over 570’s ‘Petros and Money’.
Though it was just one month I did notice some positive signs for both brands in the month of March. 570 gained ground year to year in every single weekday category especially with DP and Colin. 710 also received a lift in most spots with Stephen A. generating the best year to year share increase. Will the final month of the book carry over and lead both brands to a strong spring book? Only time will tell.
This is one of our favorite market’s to cover because both brands have been operating the format for a lengthy amount of time, the PD’s are both smart quality people, and there’s a lot of good talent to listen to on the air. But over the past year, this has started to become a one horse race with 670 The Score pulling away. That was the case again in the 2019 winter book as The Score won every key matchup.
Starting with weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) The Score finished tied for 4th with a 5 share, 2 full points ahead of ESPN 1000 who came in 11th. The Score also won the full week, coming in 6th with a low 4 share, nearly two full points in front of ESPN 1000 who were tied for 15th.
The weekday shows produced a similar story with The Score’s morning show ‘Mully and Haugh’ turning in a strong 3rd place performance with a 7.7 share. ESPN 1000’s airing of Golic and Wingo was a little more than 5 shares behind, putting the station in 9th place.
In middays, ‘Bernstein and McKnight’ on The Score finished comfortably ahead of 1000, coming in 9th with a mid 3 share. 1000’s David Kaplan was just under a 2 share and ‘Carmen and Jurko’ delivered a high 2 share for their full shows.
Afternoons were once again won by The Score’s team of Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins. The Score was 5th with a mid 4 share. ESPN 1000’s ‘Waddle & Silvy’ were tied for 7th with a low 4 share which was 1000’s best showing for the book.
When you look at the past two years a few things stand out. First, The Score should feel great about the progress it’s made. Twenty four months ago ESPN 1000 was winning this head to head matchup. 12 months later The Score took the lead. This year 670 has extended it. However, a big part of this story is ESPN 1000’s loss of share.
Case in point, at this time last year, ‘Mully and Hanley’ finished the winter book with a 7.5. That’s two tenths lower than ‘Mully and Haugh’. ‘Spiegel and Parkins’ in middays recorded a 5.1 which was a point and a half better than ‘Bernstein and McKnight’. Afternoons were practically a wash with ‘McNeil and Parkins’ one tenth of a point higher than ‘Bernstein and Goff’.
That means The Score stayed consistent but didn’t add much share. Yet during that same twelve month period, ESPN 1000 lost six tenths of a point in mornings, almost two full points between the hours of 9a-1p, and a little more than a point in afternoon drive. Two years ago at this time David Kaplan and Waddle and Silvy were both celebrating 1st place finishes.
Midday listening is down for both brands which is why The Score’s decision to install Laurence Holmes into the daytime lineup makes a ton of sense. 1000 has to figure out where their meters have gone during that time because David Kaplan and ‘Carmen & Jurko’ didn’t forget how to deliver a good show and entertain an audience. 1000 also has some work to do to get a few ears back on their drive time shows. While they search for solutions, The Score is sitting pretty in the driver’s seat.
The winter book once again showed both Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket and 105.3 The Fan in healthy positions. The quarter was kinder though to The Ticket who finished 1st in weekday prime with a high 6 share. The Fan was strong too though coming in tied for 3rd with just under a mid 5 share.
Looking at the weekday shows, ‘The Musers’ were 2nd with a low 6 share, seven tenths of a point in front of The Fan’s ‘Shan & RJ’ who came in 4th. ‘G-Bag Nation’ on The Fan tied the combination of ‘Norm & Donovan’ and ‘BaD Radio’ for 3rd with just under a 6 share between the hours of 10a-3p. Afternoons found ‘The Hardline’ in 1st with just under an 8 share, three points ahead of ‘Ben and Skin’ who came in 5th.
The ratings listed above are the radio numbers for the quarter. This doesn’t include each station’s streaming numbers. There were a few positives for the quarter in that department. One which stood out for The Ticket was The Musers streaming number beating 103.3 ESPN’s radio number 1.8 to 1.4. The Hard Line also popped an additional 1 share thru the stream.
One item that has to feel good for folks at The Fan, the station has grown its share by over a full point over the past 3 years in the winter book among both Men 25-54 and Persons 25-54. They’ve also made significant gains in their ranking positions.
Though it’s easy to get caught up in who’s winning, both stations were consistently in the Top 3-5 across the board. That’s a strong representation of the market’s appetite for sports radio content.
KNBR rebounded from losing the fall book to 95.7 The Game to win the winter book. The Sports Leader was 4th in both weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) and the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid). The Game slipped to 8th in prime and 9th for the full week.
Turning to the weekday programs, ‘Murph and Mac’ bounced back from their fall defeat to knock off ‘Joe, Lo and Dibbs’. M&M were 4th with a low 5 share, better than a point and a half in front of JLD who came in 9th.
Afternoon drive saw the team of Tom Tolbert and John Lund finish 1st in the market with an impressive 7.3. The Game’s Damon Bruce placed 7th just under a 4 share.
Middays are a little trickier since the two stations air shows at different times. Regardless KNBR’s Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger won their head to head matchup between 10a-1p. The duo came in 6th with a high 4 share. The Game’s Matt Steinmetz and ‘The Guru’ Daryle Johnson were 9th with a mid 3 share during their 10a-12p show.
The Game did earn a head to head victory in weekday prime thanks to Greg Papa and Bonta Hill. Papa and Hill recorded a 5.3 during their 3 hour show which was good enough for 4th. KNBR’s ‘Fitz and Brooks’ finished in 7th with a low 4 share during their two hours on-air.
Year to year the market has lost more than 3 shares of sports radio listening which is odd but both brands remain in good shape. The spring book should especially be fun to watch as Giants baseball should boost KNBR’s cume, and a Warriors playoff run should increase The Game’s numbers. Add in the 49ers picking 2nd in this past NFL Draft and there’s a lot to draw people to the dial in the Bay Area.
The winter book belonged to 97.5 ESPN Houston. The station finished ahead of Sports Radio 610 and SportsTalk 790 in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a low 2 share. 610 produced a mid 1 share and 790 hovered around a 1 share.
Where 97.5 received its top performances was in morning and afternoon drive. ‘The Bench’ with John Granato and Lance Zierlein delivered just under a 3.5 during their show (7a-9a) which was higher than the other two stations combined during those 2 hours. ‘The Blitz’ with Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman accomplished the same feat in afternoons with a mid 2 share. One point to keep in mind though, 610 and 790 feature 4-hour morning shows.
That said, it was a strong showing all the way around for 97.5. 790 has since made adjustments to its weekday lineup, and 610 has landed a top notch PD in Armen Williams to try and reverse their luck. We’ll see if it makes any difference when the spring numbers come out.
The winter book produced a lot of strong results for both local sports stations but from a sheer bragging rights standpoint WIP earned top honors over 97.5 The Fanatic this quarter. WIP finished 2nd for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with a mid 8 share. The Fanatic was 4th with a high 5 share.
In the individual dayparts, Angelo Cataldi continued to demonstrate why he’s one of the best in the format by producing just under a 10 share to finish 2nd. The Fanatic’s morning show featuring Marc Farzetta and Tra Thomas were 4th with a mid 5 share.
Middays saw Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie continue to win their daypart with a high 8 share. The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano and Jason Myrtetus were 6th despite increasing the station’s share to a 6 share.
The competitive afternoon battle this quarter went in favor of Jon Marks and Ike Reese who finished 1st in the daypart with a 9.2, six tenths of a point in front of Mike Missanelli who came in 4th.
WIP’s Joe Giglio also turned in a strong showing at night finishing 1st with just under a 7 and a half share. The Fanatic was tied for 6th with just under a mid 5 share.
As strong as WIP was this quarter with Men 25-54, it’s worth sharing their Adults 25-54 story too. The station finished 5th overall in the demo with just below a 6 share. The results were even better in mornings where Cataldi placed 2nd with a mid 7 share. Marks and Reese also boosted the station to 4th in afternoons with a 6 share.
It’s only fair to mention that The Fanatic is disputing the final result in afternoons. The station contends that with their streaming number added to the mix they’d have tied WIP’s ‘Marks and Reese’. However, WIP doesn’t include their streaming in their overall number so that didn’t give them an unfair advantage. If neither brand gained an advantage from a streaming lift and it’s a pure radio rating vs. radio rating, then the only conclusion we can come up with is it was a better winter book for WIP’s afternoon show.
The quarter was strong once again for 106.7 The Fan. DC’s sports radio leader finished 2nd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a low 8 share, and 3rd for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with a mid 6 share. Team 980 was further back with low 1 shares in both categories.
The weekday shows produced a similar story with The Sports Junkies capturing 3rd place with an impressive 8 and a half share. Grant and Danny grew 106.7’s share even higher in middays, turning in just under a 10 share, although their ranking position was also 3rd. Afternoons saw Chad Dukes come in 4th with a low 7 share. However, Dukes was just one tenth of a point away from being tied for 2nd.
The Ticket remains one of the best stories for the entire sports format, performing on an elite level with all radio brands in the Detroit market. For the winter book the station was #1 with Men 25-54 for weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with just under a 12 share and 1st for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with just under a 10. The weekday shows were equally dominant with ‘Karsch & Anderson’ (13.9) and Mike Valenti (13.3) finishing 1st in their dayparts, and ‘Jamie and Stoney’ (9.0) placing 2nd in mornings.
The station’s success with Men also carried over to Persons 25-54 where Valenti (8.4) and ‘Karsch & Anderson’ (9.1) were 1st in middays and ‘Jamie & Stoney’ finished 4th with a 6.1.
When the conversation for a sports station becomes “how do we make sure we’re beating every station in the market in all demos” that’s when you know you’re in the money. That’s where The Ticket finds itself on a pretty regular basis.
The winter book was an enjoyable one for 98.5 The Sports Hub. The Boston sports station finished 1st overall with Men 25-54 a 13 share. Helping guide The Hub to 1st place finishes this quarter were ‘Toucher and Rich’ who delivered a low 12 share in morning drive, ‘Zolak and Bertrand’ who generated just under a 13 and a half share in middays, ‘Felger and Massarotti’ who produced the best overall number in the market with a mid 15 share, and Adam Jones who cranked out a 9 and a half during the evening.
WEEI was lower than they’ve been in the past but still finished in solid shape. ‘Mut and Callahan’ turned in a high 7 share to finish 2nd in mornings, ‘Dale and Keefe’ came in 3rd with a low 7 share in middays, and ‘OMF’ recorded a 6 and a half share to place 3rd in afternoons. The station’s evening programming was just under a 4 share which put them just outside the Top 10.
One item worthy of being mentioned, the loss of Kirk Minihane in morning drive on WEEI has had a big effect on the ratings.
Despite not having a ton to work with from a local sports standpoint, 710 ESPN remained strong for the quarter leading the market with a 7th place finish in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a 5 share among Men 25-54. Sports Radio KJR finished 15th for the quarter.
710’s best performance came in mornings where ‘Brock and Salk’ finished 6th with a mid 5 share. ‘Danny, Dave and Moore’ were only one tenth of a point and one ranking position behind the mornings team’s performance in afternoons. ‘Bob, Groz and Tom’ and John Clayton both placed 7th for the winter book with high 4 shares.
Book after book the story remains the same in the valley of the sun, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station operates on a different level than the rest of the market options. Bonneville’s sports station finished the quarter 5th in weekday prime with Men 25-54 with a low 5 share. The other local sports radio brands were under a 1 share.
‘Doug & Wolf’ helped fuel 98.7’s success with a 4th place showing in mornings with just under a mid 5 share. ‘Bickley and Marotta’ earned the same share as the morning crew though they came in 5th in middays. ‘Burns and Gambo’ closed things out in afternoons in 7th with a share that was one tenth of a point lower than 98.7’s other two shows.
The Twin Cities is very interesting because you have two stations producing full time sports content with very different agendas. KFAN is radio focused and firmly in the driver’s position from a ratings standpoint. SKOR North (formerly 1500 ESPN) on the other hand was introduced to the market in January and places a higher priority on digital and less on traditional radio ratings.
Because this piece deals primarily with radio ratings we’re going to look solely at KFAN’s winter performance. However, there were some really interesting and positive developments for SKOR North on the digital front. That may be something worth covering in a separate piece at some point.
For the quarter, KFAN remained strong. The station produced just above a 10 share for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) and was either 1st or 2nd in each of its respective dayparts. Paving the way for the station was ‘The Power Trip’ which popped just under a 14 share. The midday programs hosted by Paul Allen and The Common Man both delivered mid to high 8 shares, and Dan Barreiro continued to lead in afternoons with just under a 12 share.
The Mighty 1090 may no longer be in business but for the station’s final full book the programming team can rest easy knowing they went out on top. 1090 cruised to victory with Men 25-54 finishing 6th in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a high 4 share. The station also led all local sports radio brands for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) tying for 11th with a little more than a mid 3 share.
In the weekday show categories, ‘Ben and Woods’ led 1090 to a win in mornings by coming in 7th with a 4 share. 1090’s airing of Stephen A. Smith Show dropped the station to 14th with a mid 2 share but that was still good enough to win the head to head competition. From 12p-3p Darren Smith was dominant producing the best share for the quarter of any local market sports talk show. Smith came in 2nd with just under a 7 share. Completing the ratings sweep in afternoons was ‘Scott & BR’ who were tied for 4th with a 6 share.
By comparison, 97.3 The Fan and XTRA 1360 were further back for the quarter. The Fan was 21st in weekday prime and full week. XTRA 1360 was 23rd in prime and 22nd for the full week. Jim Rome’s program delivered the best rating for the quarter on The Fan. Colin Cowherd’s show produced the top result for 1360.
2018 wasn’t kind to WDAE but 2019 is already showing signs of a major turnaround for Tampa’s leading sports station. With its weekday lineup now solidified, WDAE finished just outside the Top 10 in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 25-54. The bigger story though was the station’s year to year performance which was up more than 70%.
A big part of that growth for WDAE was the reunion of Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles. The new afternoon team recorded a 6th place finish in their first full book, over 3 shares higher year to year. Additionally WDAE enjoyed significant gains year to year in both morning drive and middays.
1080 The Fan and 102.9/750 The Game continued their battle for bragging rights in the market by tying in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a low 2 share with Men 25-54. ‘The Dan Patrick Show’ helped The Game win in mornings, delivering the best rating of any sports talk show in the market for the quarter (low 4 share). That was better than a point and a half ahead of ‘Dusty and Cam’. Jim Rome also led The Game to a win with a 2 share which was 8 tenths ahead of Colin Cowherd’s show on 1080.
Between the hours of 12p-3p ‘Dirt and Sprague’ helped 1080 slip by over The Game’s John Canzano by 3 tenths of a point. Afternoons saw 1080 earn their most decisive win with Isaac & Suke producing more than double the share of The Game’s airing of Bill Reiter’s show. Rip City Radio placed 3rd for the quarter.
Similar to the stories in Detroit and Phoenix, 101 ESPN is on a very different level when it comes to local sports radio listening. The station’s competition has become music brands vying for the Male 25-54 listener. Other sports options in the marketplace don’t rank high enough to warrant additional details.
For the quarter St. Louis’ sports station finished 3rd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a high 6 share. The station was just under a 6 share and tied for 3rd for the full week. 3rd place was also where 101 ESPN saw Bernie Miklasz, Kevin Wheeler, Anthony Stalter and The Fast Lane finish in their respective dayparts.
WFNZ continued to lead the market, finishing just outside the Top 10 for the quarter in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 25-54. One particularly impressive feat, the station was 1st overall in the market for the book in TSL. The best ranking on the station for the quarter went to Nick Wilson and Josh Parcell who finished 9th in middays.
93.7 The Fan continued their dominance for the quarter. The station placed 2nd for the quarter M-SU 6a-Mid with a low 11 share. That was a year to year gain of nearly 2 and a half shares. In weekday prime the performance was even stronger. The Fan popped a high 12 share which was up 4 and a half points year to year.
Sizing up the weekday shows, The Fan Morning Show was 2nd with an impressive 14.3 up more than 5 shares year to year. The show’s March number was especially strong (mid 15 share).
In middays, Cook and Joe were #1 for the quarter with a mid 15 share, up nearly 5 full points year to year. March was incredible for the midday team too as they delivered a 17 share, best on the radio station.
Turning to afternoons, Poni and Mueller were #3 for the Winter book with a mid 9 share, up 1 point year to year. This is the daypart where The Fan has their heaviest competition. Mark Madden remained in front for the quarter.
To put into perspective how strong The Fan’s quarter was, here’s a quick look at some of their Persons 25-54 highlights. The morning show was 2nd in the market with a low 9 share. Cook and Joe were 2nd in middays with a low 10 share, and the station overall in weekday prime was 3rd with a low 8 share, and 5th overall for the full week with a low 7 share.
If advertisers are trying to reach people and move product in Pittsburgh there’s no way right now they can afford to not be on the market’s top sports station. Their numbers are extraordinary.
The winter book was beneficial for both Sports Radio 810 WHB and 610 Sports but it was 810 who led the way with Men 25-54 in the key weekday demos. WHB finished ahead in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) and full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) recording 3rd place finishes in both categories. ‘The Border Patrol’ with Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty were the highest ranked sports radio show in mornings (3rd). ‘The Program with Soren Petro’ earned the same respect in middays (3rd), and ‘Between The Lines with Kevin Kietzman’ prevailed as well in afternoons (4th).
One positive for both brands were their average rating rankings. These numbers are utilized more in the sales department, not the share numbers programmers look at. WHB was 3rd in mornings and middays, and 4th in afternoons with a 1.0 or higher. 610 also performed well coming in tied for 5th in mornings and afternoons with a 0.6. Based on the results both brands should be on the radar to earn future business.
This is a market that has flown under the radar in the past but going forward it should be worth paying further attention to. iHeart has entered the sports radio race with 97.3 The Game and just added Steve Czaban to morning drive. Good Karma moved to FM with 94.5 ESPN and recently brought in former Minneapolis PD Brad Lane to steer the ship. Then there’s the market leader 105.7 The Fan operated by Entercom who remain the most familiar to local sports talk listeners.
Analyzing the winter book, which was the first 3-month period where all 3 brands operated on the FM dial, 105.7 The Fan remained in front but the race was tighter than it’s been in the past. The Fan won the full week by four tenths of a point over 94.5 ESPN and were over a point in front of The Game. For weekday prime The Fan held a nine tenths of a point advantage over 94.5 ESPN and were nearly two full points in front of The Game.
Turning to the weekday dayparts (which in the future will require a lot more detail since each station features programming during different hours), The Fan received its best performance for the quarter from its morning show Chuck & Winkler which finished 10th overall with a mid 3 share. 94.5 ESPN was nine tenths back in 14th, and The Game finished 18th more than 2 shares behind.
Middays saw The Fan’s Bill Michaels win his timeslot of 10a-2p with just under a 3 share which was good enough to finish tied for 12th. 94.5 ESPN came in 16th with a low 1 share, just two tenths of a points in front of The Game who placed 18th.
Finishing up with afternoons, The Big Show on The Fan emerged victorious between 2p-6p, coming in 13th with a low 3 share. That was seven tenths better than 94.5 ESPN who finished 15th. The Game came in 19th trailing by almost 2 full points.
Though it was a good book for The Fan, remember that these were the first full books for 94.5 ESPN and 97.3 The Game on the FM dial. With lineup reinforcements on the way for The Game, and Good Karma owning the radio play by play rights to the Packers, Brewers and Bucks on their sister station WTMJ (dominant NewsTalk brand in the market), this race should be much tighter in the weeks and months ahead. May the best brand win!
107.5/1070 The Fan continued to lead the market with Dan Dakich giving the station a strong performance between Noon and 3pm. Dakich’s low 6 share was good enough to place tied for 6th for the winter book. The Fan also received solid showings from JMV in afternoons and ‘The Jeff and Big Joe’ show in middays. ‘Golic and Wingo’ lagged though with a low 3 share.
Though their share may be down compared to 2 years ago, 104.5 The Zone remains the market leader across all key categories. The station finished the winter book 1st in weekday prime with Men 25-54 as well as #1 in middays (Midday 180) and tied for 1st in afternoons (3HL). Mornings (Wake Up Zone) for The Zone produced a 2nd place finish. One additional positive for Nashville’s ratings leader were #1 rankings for all key weekday shows with Men 18+.
92.9 ESPN remained strong delivering a 4th place performance for the quarter with Men 25-54. The individual breakdowns found ‘Jason & John’ in 3rd with just above a 9 share in their daypart. Gary Parrish came in 2nd in afternoons with just under a mid 10 share. Geoff Calkins finished 5th between 9a-11a at just under a 7 share. Eric Hasseltine and ‘Golic & Wingo’ were both in 6th place in their respective dayparts. Hasseltine produced a low 8 share while Golic and Wingo were in 6 share territory.
The quarter saw The Sports Animal once again turn in impressive numbers with Men 25-54 for all weekday shows. The Morning Animals recorded a 2nd place finish with an 8.7. Craig Humphreys placed 4th between 9a-12p with a mid 6 share. The Monsters of the Midday tied for 3rd with a low 7 share followed by Jim Traber registering a 3rd place tie between 2p-6p with a low 5 share. The hours of 4p-8p which include Al Eschbach saw the Sports Animal come in 7th with a low 4 share.
For 107.7 The Franchise there was something to feel great about as well. During the hours of 3p-6p the station’s afternoon show, ‘Triple M Ranch’ featuring Sam Mayes, Colby Daniels, and Aaron Davis finished ahead of The Sports Animal. They edged Traber during those three hours by two tenths of a point, finishing with a low 5 share.
The best performance for the quarter with Persons 25-54 came from The Sports Animals who came in 5th with a high 5 share. Overall OKC’s two sports radio brands were once again in strong shape.
Full market data wasn’t available but we did learn that The Bull and Fox on 92.3 The Fan finished 1st overall in PMDR. The popular show has been tops in their daypart for 4 of the past 6 books.
JOX Roundtable Exits JOX 94.5 in Birmingham
On Friday afternoon, Dunaway and Brown broke the news on Twitter noting that it is “an amicable parting.”
One of the biggest names in Southern sports talk radio is looking for a new morning show. Lance Taylor, Jim Dunaway and Ryan Brown, known professionally as The JOX Roundtable, have left JOX 94.5.
The show had been off the air most of the week. On Friday afternoon, Dunaway and Brown broke the news on Twitter noting that it is “an amicable parting.” Sean “Rockstar” Heniger, the show’s producer, is also leaving the station.
The trio have been together for 12 years on JOX 94.5. They started in the mid day. In 2017, the show was moved to morning drive.
Program Director Ryan Haney took to Twitter to wish his friends and now former employees well.
The JOX Roundtable always enjoyed tremendous success in the ratings as well as in the BSM Top 20. This year saw the trio hit #2 on the list of Top 20 Mid Market Morning Shows.
Brown recently told AL.com that the show will launch its own digital platform. He said the plan ws born out of a desire to own their own content and set the course of their future for themselves.
He says that JOX 94.5 offered the opportunity for a series of “farewell” shows. That is not something he, Dunaway and Taylor wanted to do.
“They were very generous in offering that. It was much appreciated. Frankly, I just don’t know if that is good radio. Nobody tunes in to hear sappy calls or people complaining or celebrating or whatever. It isn’t the nature of what we do on a daily basis. I just don’t think it was overly appealing to us to do a good-bye show.”
Learfield IMG College Raises $242 Million
Learfield now has access to $425 million in capital as they forge ahead to a more normal college sports climate this fall.
Learfield IMG College just got a new influx of cash from their existing investors. According to Sportico, The dominant college sports broadcasting platform received $242 million in new investments from Endeavor, Silver Lake, and Atairos.
All three of those firms have been staunch supporters of the broadcast group. The move also helped Learfield extend the maturity date of $183 million in existing loans scheduled to be paid off this year to 2023.
“While the college sports community has navigated dynamic challenges, we have continued to lean in to unlock new value for our university partners and brand partners alike,” Learfield IMG College CEO Cole Gahagan said in a statement. “We now have the deepest and broadest platform that includes digital sponsorships, contactless mobile ticketing, governance for NIL, esports, content, and industry collaborations, with the necessary fan data and analytics to help school partners grow their entire athletics departments.”
This was perfect timing for Learfield after the pandemic threw their business model in flux, with games canceled left and right across college sports. Learfield now has access to $425 million in capital as they forge ahead to a more normal college sports climate this fall.
About a month ago, Sportico uncovered the net profit Learfield brings in from Georgia, Nebraska, Michigan, Kansas, Houston, Georgia Tech, Marshall, and UCLA.
Georgia was far and away the most profitable partner for Learfield in the pandemic year of 2019-20. The Bulldogs produced $7.4 million in profit for the network. The low positive number came from Marshall, who produced $492,000 in profit.
The only school on the list that didn’t make Learfield money was UCLA. The Bruins lost Learfield $933,000 in 2018-19 and $1.7 million in 2019-20. Conferences around the country expect to allow more fans into sporting events this year as Learfield prepares to bring all the action to those not lucky enough to be there in person.
Chris Simms Defends His QB Rankings To Dan Patrick
Chris Simms joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss his annual quarterback rankings, and defend some of his positions.
When one has a successful parent, it can be heard to emerge from their shadow, particularly within the same field. Chris Simms has followed his father Phil into both the NFL and the broadcasting world. The younger Simms has found a distinctive niche in infuriating NFL fanbases in mass with his annual quarterback rankings.
Simms went on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday to discuss the rankings, which are unveiled sequentially over a period of time, and defend some of his positions. There is never a shortage of polarizing picks on the list, and the 2021 rankings were no exception. Reigning Super Bowl champion and widely accepted greatest QB ever Tom Brady came in at No. 10 on the list, behind newly-acquired Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford. When asked about it, Simms chastised the Detroit Lions for their lack of help for the quarterback in 2020, and mentioned Brady benefitting from the talent around him.
“I can look at Tampa Bay and they lost five (games) in the regular season, you can legitimately look at all five and say the main culprit in all five losses was Tom Brady.”
McLovin asked him to defend his pick of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 7 while asking why the Cardinals are picked by many to finish last in their division. Simms said he is intrigued by some of the offseason additions by the birds out in the desert, but did not appear to be impressed by head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.
“He (Murray) makes them considerably better in my opinion,” Simms said. “They’re out of that spread, four wide. It’s a little predictable, and he’s the reason it goes.”
Anyone that has perused NFL Twitter in the last calendar year has seen a spirited discussion and a slew of blocked accounts stemming from the debate over Miami Dolphins second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Simms has Tagovailoa outside of the top 32 quarterbacks in his rankings, and Patrick asked if Simms believes the Alabama product should be starting in the NFL.
“There’s question marks, certainly,” he said. “They had to micromanage him and whenever they had to let it loose, they had to put Ryan Fitzpatrick in. People think I hate Tua. I root for him, I like the guy, he’s charismatic as hell, no doubt about it, (but) there’s nothing to write home about from last year.”
The order of the top four quarterbacks on the list will be revealed on Monday with Simms refusing to give Patrick any insight ahead of time. That did not stop Simms from summing up the predestined outcome of the rankings.
“I’m just setting myself up to get crapped on, and I deal with it every year.”