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104.5 The Zone Enjoys Big Gains in Nashville Winter Book

“Though change has been a part of the narrative surrounding 104.5 The Zone’s programming changes, one thing hasn’t changed, local listeners still love the radio station.”

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If you’ve been following the Nashville sports radio scene for the past year, change has been a large part of local conversation. Market leader 104.5 The Zone, navigated thru a sea of programming changes in August, which included installing a new morning show, midday show, and adjusting the personnel on its afternoon show. That was followed by their popular midday show, Midday 180 exiting for Outkick, Buck Reising stepping in to their spot, a partnership formed with A to Z Sports, and late last week, the station adding former Tennessee basketball star Ron Slay.

Though change has been a part of the narrative surrounding The Zone’s programming changes, one thing hasn’t changed, local listeners still love the radio station. In fact, listening was up in a few key areas this year compared to 2020.

In the 2021 Winter Book, The Zone shined across the board. Starting with weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), The Zone ranked 4th with an 8.0 share among Men 25-54. That was a 2.7 increase from the station’s 2020 Winter Book.

Turning to mornings, Jason Martin and Ramon Foster delivered a 7.5 share to lock up 3rd place. The morning show was up a half point year over year and two ratings positions.

The news was even better in middays (10a-3p) where the combination of Buck Reising, and Mickey Ryan and Blaine Bishop, secured a 3rd place finish with a 9.1. share. That was a 3.6 point improvement year over year and four slots.

Finishing in afternoons, 3HL produced an impressive 6.9 share to rank 4th. Their performance was nearly double their previous year’s result. The show gained 3.4 points and enjoyed a station best eight spot jump.

Data this quarter for 102.5 The Game wasn’t available. However, a local source confirmed the station’s quarter wasn’t strong.

The Zone right now is very healthy. They’re on a different level ratings-wise, a testament to their bond with local listeners. Equally deserving of credit is program director Paul Mason and the station’s new hires. To make significant progress year over year, while undergoing lineup changes and dealing with increased noise is impressive.

102.5 The Game on the other hand has work to do to catch up. They’re hoping the recent addition of Caroline Fenton will help. A good playoff run by the Nashville Predators could provide a boost as well.

Outkick 360 (formerly Midday 180) meanwhile is likely to be heard from again in the market. The show has already gained clearance in Knoxville, and remains interested in finding a Nashville home too. Can Clay Travis and Sam Savage pull it off? I wouldn’t bet against them.

Last but not least, Josh Innes is now in town hosting mornings on 105.9 The Rock. He has proven he can create interest and produce ratings during prior stops. Will he be able to lure local sports radio listeners his way despite hosting a rock morning show? Time will tell.

The choices for Men 25-54 in Nashville are aplenty. How they’ll continue to consume sports talk content in 2021 remains to be seen, but for now, The Zone is comfortably in the driver’s seat.

Sports Radio News

Craig Carton Making Responsible Gambling Content For FanDuel

“He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.”

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FanDuel announced yesterday that it has hired its first ever “responsible gaming ambassador”. WFAN’s Craig Carton has agreed to take on the role. He has been open about his gambling addiction and advocated for those that believe they have a problem to seek help on air since returning to New York radio last year.

The content he creates for FanDuel will have a very specific focus. A press release says Carton will promote messages of “advocacy, prevention awareness and content development focused on the importance of wagering within limits”.

Craig Carton was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a ponzi scheme to defraud investors of money they were told was being invested in tickets for resale. In reality, Carton was using the money to repay some of his gambling debts.

“My story and personal history with gambling has been well documented,” said Carton. “More than ever, I want to use my experience and platform to shine a meaningful spotlight on the issue of problem gambling. It was important to me that I find a real partnership with a company that shared my passion for this issue. It became clear FanDuel shared the same goals and was comfortable working transparently with me for the sole purpose of protecting people.”

FanDuel is planning to utilize Carton in a number of ways. He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.

He will also create audio and video for FanDuel’s Play Safe Campaign. FanDuel will help Carton’s WFAN program “Hello, My Name is Craig” find a bigger audience. The show airs on weekends and features Carton discussing his addiction and offering advice to others seeking help.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Craig to place even more emphasis on responsible gaming behaviors,” said Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Everyone at FanDuel understands the importance of protecting our customers who are also our family, friends, neighbors and community members. Craig’s powerful personal story will help fuel our mission of making sure no bet placed results in hurting a loved one.”

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Sports Radio News

Marc Malusis: Stephen A Smith Spouting ‘Complete & Utter BS’

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

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WFAN’s Marc Malusis wants Stephen A. Smith to acknowledge that he either has inside information regarding the Nets or that he completely made up a trade rumor on First Take earlier this week. Smith said on First Take that the Brooklyn Nets would trade Kyrie Irving to Philadelphia if it meant they got Ben Simmons back in return, but the idea has been nixed by Kevin Durant.

Stephen A. Smith accused some in the media of lying about his report. He tried to claim that he what said on First Take was that the Irving for Simmons deal is a trade the Nets could do. That was enough to sett Malusis off.

“This is just complete and utter BS,” he shouted. “I mean, get the boots on!”

Marc Malusis claims that the idea of an Irving for Simmons trade isn’t totally absurd. Having James Harden on the roster would allow Brooklyn to bring in someone that does everything well but shoot. Still, he says Smith framed his stance as something he knows happened and Malusis is adamant it didn’t.

He was even more upset that Smith would say people in the New York media “lied” about what Smith had said. Marc Malusis pointed out that when you are the local media, you have to dive into a rumor like that. It doesn’t just get to be something that was said on ESPN.

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

It sounds like Malusis’s greatest objection is to Smith’s indignation at the idea that someone took his trade rumor seriously.

“Don’t all the sudden start waking back and saying ‘everyone’s spewing lies about what I had to say yesterday’ because you know what? We had to weed through the BS of what you said yesterday.”

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Sports Radio News

104.5 ESPN’s Matt Moscona Sets Up $100K Donation to Local High School

”It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

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Guaranty Media and 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge recently invited a local Athletic Director from South Lafourche High School Brian Callais to come and promote an upcoming fundraising event host by Central High School on After Further Review with Matt Moscona.

During the phone interview, Callais informed listeners of the impact that Ida had on their school, including major damages to the high school that there are no funds to repair. Additionally, the school’s sports teams will be forced to travel for every game this season as their facilities are not fit to host other schools.

Little did Callais know, Matt Moscona had invited the founder of a Baton-Rouge-based cryptocurrency business called Game Coin to join him in the 104.5 ESPN studio to surprise Callias with a donation of $100,000 dollars to the school.

“This will go a long way,” said Callais after learning of Game Coin’s donation to his program. “Our [senior] student-athletes have not had a normal high school year since their freshman year…Their sophomore year, they were hit with the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to a regular senior year for them. It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

Gamecoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that is not totally for profit, as 4% of their 10% transaction fee goes to charitable donations to help youth sports groups.

“Growing up, I didn’t have everything that I thought I should have,” said founder of Game Coin David Mahler on Moscona’s radio program. “I just always wanted to be able to provide for people…and since I’m able to do that now, I added that as a part of Game Coin.”

Mahler also said in the interview that three more similar donations are already arranged and they will be announced within the next two weeks.

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