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105.3 The Fan Tops Dallas Winter Ratings

“It’s worth noting The Ticket posted very strong streaming numbers for all of their weekday programming, but those aren’t included in the radio share.”

Brandon Contes

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The winter ratings book marked three straight quarterly radio ratings victories for 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, which again topped their local rival 1310 The Ticket according to Nielsen Audio. But it was a strong quarter for both stations, especially considering the recent changes each made to their weekday lineups. 

In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), 105.3 The Fan earned a 4.8 share with their target audience of Men 25-54, while The Ticket posted a 4.1. ESPN 103.3 was further back with a 1.7. It’s worth noting that The Ticket posted very strong streaming numbers for all of their weekday programs, but those aren’t included in the radio share. Digital listening continues to grow, but Nielsen’s calculated terrestrial numbers are still used to influence ad sales and determine bonuses.

In morning drive, The Fan’s duo featuring Shan Shariff and RJ Choppy edged The Ticket’s iconic show The Musers 4.1 to 3.8. The Fan was tied for 6th, while The Ticket finished 8th in the 5:30a-10a timeslot. 

The winter quarter was the first full ratings book for GBag Nation in their new 2p-7p slot and they didn’t disappoint. The Fan’s afternoon show ended the quarter tied for second with a 4.8 share. The duo they replaced, Ben & Skin helped 97.1 The Eagle to a first place finish for the book. Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade joined The Eagle a month into the winter book, hosting from 2p-5p on the rock station. Combined with Russ Martin, who fills the 5p-7p hours on The Eagle, the Dallas area rock station earned an 8.8 share from 2p-7p.

For The Ticket, it was the first book for Bob Sturm in afternoon drive as host of The Hardline. Sturm joined Corby Davidson on the show, taking over for the iconic Mike Rhyner who announced his retirement shortly after the New Year. The Hardline, which starts an hour later than its afternoon drive counterpart on The Fan, earned a 4.2 rating from 3p-7p.

Sturm left The Ticket’s midday show BaD Radio after 20 years alongside Dan McDowell. Longtime producer Jake Kemp stepped up to co-host the early afternoon show with McDowell which airs from 12p-3p and follows Norm & Donovan from 10a-12p. 

The Fan moved K&C Masterpiece from evenings to middays as part of their lineup restructuring after Ben & Skin left the station last fall. From 10a-2p in the winter book, The Fan finished ahead of The Ticket 5.3 to 4.4. 

The overall ratings may not be as high as we’ve seen in previous books for both stations, but The Fan’s program director Gavin Spittle and The Ticket’s Jeff Catlin deserve credit for maintaining steady production while undergoing lineup adjustments. 

One key point to be understood, the numbers above are specifically for each station’s radio ratings performance. They do not include streaming numbers. That’s because Nielsen reports those numbers separately. When combined, it changes some of the total performances for both stations.

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ESPN 97.5 in Houston Announces New Lineup

“The station had to make some very tough & unfortunate economic decisions last week.”

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ESPN Houston

ESPN 97.5 in Houston announced they will have a new lineup starting Monday Feb. 26. The drive time slots will continue to feature John Granato and Lance Zierlein in mornings and The Killer B’s, Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank, in the afternoon.

In between the two shows will now have The Del Olaleye Show airing from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. followed by Gallant and George with Paul Gallant, who had been hosting the early midday slot previously and Joe George, the station’s Assistant Program Director.

Earlier this week, Josh Beard and Michael Connor confirmed they had been let go from the station after being in the midday slot for just six months. George posted on X at the time, “So here’s the deal. The station had to make some very tough & unfortunate economic decisions last week. It has nothing to do with the quality of their show and work they did. Programming on the station will be weird this week, then back to fully local from 7 am – 6 pm on 2/26.”

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Former Toronto Blue Jays Announcer Ben Wagner Named to Baltimore Orioles Broadcast Team

A release from the Blue Jays says Wagner will appear on radio and select television broadcasts throughout the year.

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Ben Wagner
Courtesy: Ben Wagner on Instagram

The Baltimore Orioles announced the club’s broadcast talent lineup for the 2024 season, which includes former Toronto Blue Jays announcer Ben Wagner. Wagner had served as the radio voice of the Blue Jays for the last six seasons before Sportsnet announced it decided not to renew his contract. Prior to joining the Blue Jays broadcast team, Wagner spent 11 seasons with Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. A release from the Orioles says Wagner will appear on radio and select television broadcasts throughout the year.

The Orioles will continue to use guest analysts throughout the season, including Orioles Hall of Famers Mike Devereaux and Brian Roberts, as well as former Orioles Brad Brach and Dave Johnson.

Geoff Arnold will return for his fifth season with the Orioles broadcast team and will be the primary play-by-play announcer. Kevin Brown will be in his third season as the primary television play-by-play announcer for MASN.

Other team members for the 2024 season include Scott Garceau, Brett Hollander, Rob Long, Ben McDonald, Melanie Newman and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who will be in his 32nd season as an analyst and 61st year as a member of the Orioles organization.

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Fred Toucher: ‘I Would Feel Weird’ if Rich Shertenlieb Reached Out to Me

“Even if it was nice, I wouldn’t like it, so if he’s listening, don’t reach out to me.”

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Fred Toucher
Courtesy: Beasley Media Group

Fred Toucher is in the midst of co-hosting a new morning program on 98.5 The Sports Hub with Rob “Hardy” Poole. The Toucher & Hardy show made its premiere in January following the end of a 17-year run in which he worked alongside Rich Shertenlieb. Last November, Shertenlieb parted ways with the outlet that elicited questions and nostalgia from listeners, some of which continue to persist on the new program.

On Friday’s edition of the program, a caller asked Toucher about the last time he spoke to Shertenlieb and if there was still communication between them. The duo started hosting their radio program together at rock radio station WBCN-FM before making the move to the sports talk format with 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM) for its launch in the summer of 2009. The caller wanted to specifically hear a “juicy story” and apologized if his broaching the topic was “a forbidden path.”

“I have not talked to Rich,” Toucher said. “I told you I got the text message the Saturday after they didn’t put him on the air anymore, and I haven’t talked to him.”

Toucher wondered who among former members of the Toucher & Rich program had heard from Shertenlieb, leading him to go around the studio and ask. Update anchor Jon Wallach revealed that Shertenlieb texted him on Thanksgiving Day to discuss how the music group Bell Biv DeVoe was performing, but he has not heard from him since. None of the others in the studio had heard from Shertenlieb in a considerable amount of time either.

“None of us were really friends with him so I don’t know what to tell you,” Toucher replied to the caller. “I wasn’t friends with him; I didn’t talk to him, so it’s not odd that I don’t talk to him.”

Toucher then began to hypothesize what would happen if Shertenlieb were to reach out to him. As he thought over such a potential occurrence, he realized that he would have a feeling in his stomach and get anxiety. He did concede, however, that if someone paid him a large sum of money to appear somewhere with Shertenlieb, he would do the 10 seconds.

“I would feel weird; I wouldn’t enjoy the process,” Toucher said. “Even if it was nice, I wouldn’t like it, so if he’s listening, don’t reach out to me. You’d make me incredibly uncomfortable. Just don’t do it.”

In thinking about the potential nostalgia from Toucher & Rich, the program briefly mentioned Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and his relationship with former co-host Mike Francesa. Toucher believes that Russo is doing fine without Francesa, a sentiment Wallach concurred. Wallach also shared that he feels Russo is doing better after Mike and the Mad Dog than Francesa.

Russo hosts a SiriusXM program on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel named after him, in addition to High Heat on MLB Network and a weekly appearance on ESPN’s First Take. The split between both shows elicited interest from the listening public, something Toucher completely understands because of the unique facets of radio.

“People consume you 20 hours a week or they conceivably could, so when there’s any change, your immediate reaction to it, even though it hasn’t been bad, a lot of people if you listen to an old thing all the time it’s going to be strange to you, a new thing, or when a component of it is missing,” Toucher explained, “even if it’s better than it was, which I contend Toucher & Hardy over the last three weeks is better than Toucher & Rich was in 2023 and 2022 certainly.”

The segment concluded with Toucher proclaiming that he had answered the question and now will not have to entertain it again. “I have no idea what he’s doing and no one I know does, and no one I know has seen him,” Toucher said. “I haven’t even had a listener email me and go, ‘I saw him.’”

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