The spring ratings period from March 26 through June 17 was overall less than impressive for Chicago’s two sports stations. Still, the total drop-off was minimal considering COVID-19 forced a sports shutdown, with some shows even outperforming their winter numbers.
According to Nielsen Audio, the stations were in a tight race for weekday prime (M-F 6a – 7p). The Score finished tied for 12th with a 2.9 share while ESPN 1000 was four spots behind earning a 2.7. In comparison, both stations did a 3.3 in the winter book, which largely took place before the sports hiatus.
In morning drive, The Score’s Mully and Haugh finished the book in 13th place with a 2.8, down from their 4.5 winter number. Year-over-year, Mully and Haugh dropped nearly five points from the 2019 spring book which occurred while the Cubs were in action. ESPN 1000’s simulcast of Golic and Wingo placed ninth in their final book as morning co-hosts. Surprisingly, the show saw a ratings increase in the spring with a 4.3 share, up a half point from the winter book.
For a national host, Golic developed a solid connection with the Chicago audience, in-part thanks to his 18 years with Mike Greenberg, who launched his radio career at The Score in the early ‘90s. But with Greeny having left ESPN Radio’s morning show in 2017, and Golic on his way out next month, a new trio of Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti are set to take over the national airwaves.
Will they get the chance to compete in Chicago? With Good Karma Brands now in control of ESPN 1000, it will be interesting to see if the company elects to go local in mornings or continue featuring network programming courtesy of their partnership with the worldwide leader.
From 9a – noon, both stations were again in a tight ratings battle. ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan finished 12th with a 2.9, while Dan Bernstein was right behind with a 2.8 for The Score. Kap & Company dropped from a 3.5 share in the winter, while Bernstein was up almost a half point from what was his final book with co-host Connor McKnight.
The noon – 2p timeslot went to The Score, as Laurence Holmes fared well during the sports hiatus, tied for 11th with a 3.1 share which was up from his 2.9 in the winter book. For ESPN 1000, Carmen & Jurko dipped from a 3.2 share during the winter, to a 19th place finish and a 2.4 rating in the spring book.
Rounding out the weekday lineup, The Score finished 13th from 2 – 6p as their afternoon show with Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins earned a 3.1 share, a slight drop from their 3.4 over the winter. ESPN 1000’s afternoon duo of Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman finished tied for 18th with a 2 share. But more importantly, it was great to hear Silvy has been able to continue co-hosting the afternoon show on ESPN 1000 while battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a diagnosis he revealed in late April.
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