Temperatures rise during the summer months in Phoenix. The same can’t always be said about sports radio ratings. But in 2021, listenership in Phoenix advanced to a record level.
Following a spring book which saw the Phoenix Suns get hot in the playoffs and begin their push to the NBA Finals, Arizona Sports 98.7 rode that momentum to its most dominant victory ever in the summer book. The station produced a 5.6 share for the quarter in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) to finish 6th overall. That was a nine tenths of a point increase from their spring performance.
The news was even better for 98.7’s afternoon show, Burns and Gambo. The popular duo popped a station best 6.4 share in their timeslot to finish the book in 2nd place. That marked the third straight book of growth for the show, including a seven tenths gain from the spring.
Next best in the lineup were Bickley and Marotta. The new morning team, which had been installed in middays during the summer months, closed out their midday tenure with a 5.5 share. That showing was good enough to place them 4th in the market for the quarter. The midday slot improved by a full point from spring to summer.
Wrapping up in morning drive, the longtime team of Doug and Wolf, which previously featured Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley, signed off for the final time with an 8th place 4.4 share. Doug and Wolf spent more than 14 years together on the station in morning drive. They were up seven tenths from the spring.
The rest of the market didn’t have much of a ratings story among sports radio brands. 1580 The Fanatic and KDUS didn’t record a rating. FOX Sports 910 delivered a 0.1 in weekday prime, and received an 0.2 from Jody Oehler, the only other sports show in the market to record a rating during the summer book.
When the fall book gets released, we’ll get our first look at how the local audience responds to the changes recently made by Arizona Sports. The station now features Bickley and Marotta in mornings, Wolf and Luke Lapinksi in middays, and Burns and Gambo in afternoons. Rod Lakin will also be gone, having left for Philadelphia to program Sports Radio WIP.
One thing to remember, the spring and summer books included a major boost from the Suns, so that carryover isn’t guaranteed to continue into the fall. Some may read that and suggest I’m giving 98.7 a pass following their recent changes. I’m not. I’m simply trying to paint a realistic picture that audience levels could change due to not having a local team battle for a championship during the fall months.
Regardless, Arizona Sports are thriving right now. Congratulations is in order for Scott Sutherland, Ryan Hatch, and the entire programming team.
Chris Lopresti’s Future At WFAN Uncertain
“Lopresti says he received an overwhelming amount of support and well wishes.”
Chris Lopresti isn’t in his usual role on Carton and Roberts anymore. The former update anchor broke the news to listeners and fans via Twitter on Monday.
Lopresti says he received an overwhelming amount of support and well wishes. He also wanted to reiterate that his future is uncertain. He is not totally gone from WFAN.
At some point, a narrative emerged that Craig Carton or Evan Roberts personally fired Chris Lopresti or expressed the desire for him to go. Carton took to Twitter to make sure everyone knew how hard they worked to get Lopresti on the show in the first place and that those rumors and assumptions were not true.
Lopresti confirmed everything Carton wrote in his tweet, saying that he is disappointed not to be part of Carton and Roberts anymore, but that he isn’t gone from WFAN. He has a decision to make regarding his future. That future simply will not include the show he had been part of.
WGNU Radio Flips To Sports Betting Format With VSiN
“The Game will carry VSiN programming 24 hours per day.”
WGNU in St. Louis is now an affiliate of VSiN. The Missouri radio station, which had been operating as a business news format, is going all in on sports betting. The station has officially adopts the moniker “The Game”, airing sports betting content on both 920 AM and 104.5 FM.
“We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk,” WGNU consultant, Bill Moir, said in a press release. “Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”
The Game will carry VSiN programming 24 hours per day. Missouri has not yet legalized sports betting, but state legislators are expected to bring it up for a vote in 2022. St. Louis borders Illinois, where gambling is legal both in person and via mobile apps.
“Entering this top 25 market with a strong signal that spans the St. Louis metro area is just the beginning of our expansion plans at VSiN,” said Brian Musburger, founder and CEO of VSiN. “We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with innovative content providers like the WGNU team to help educate and entertain, even before sports betting is live in Missouri.”
670 The Score Wins Summer Book, ESPN 1000 Makes Progress
“Parkins and Spiegel held one advantage for the book over other shows, they finished #1 in afternoons among non-Hispanic stations.”
Sports radio listening was alive and well in Chicago for the summer book. 670 The Score turned in the stronger numbers for the quarter among local brands, but ESPN 1000 also gained ground, giving both sides positive momentum entering the fall.
Starting with The Score, the station won the quarter, delivering a 4.1 to rank 5th in the M-SU 6a-Mid category. The Score also produced a 4.8 to place 4th M-F 6a-7p. Those numbers and all used throughout this article are for the coveted Men 25-54 demo and include the combined shares of over the air radio listening and streaming.
Among The Score’s weekday shows, middays were where the brand enjoyed its highest shares. Dan Bernstein and Leila Rahimi popped a 5.9 share M-F 9a-12p to rank 3rd. Laurence Holmes was next best with a 5.3 from Noon to 2p to finish 4th. Bernstein and Rahimi were slightly down two tenths from the spring book. Holmes picked up five tenths during the quarter.
In the drive times, Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel popped a 4.7 during their M-F 2p-6p slot to rank 4th. Parkins and Spiegel did hold one advantage for the book over other shows though, they finished #1 in afternoon drive among non-Hispanic stations (the top 3 rated stations during Chicago’s 2p-6p timeslot were Mexican Regional and Spanish Contemporary brands). Rounding things out in morning drive, Mike Mulligan and David Haugh reeled in a 4.6 to finish 6th. Mully and Haugh recorded the best quarter to quarter gain though on the station, adding 1.1 points. Parkins and Spiegel were slightly down by two tenths,
For ESPN 1000, the news was much better in the summer than it was in the spring. The station received a 2.7 M-SU 6a-Mid to finish 18th for the book. Among all stations M-F 6a-7p, ESPN 1000 finished tied for 14th with a 2.9. Both numbers were up over a share from the spring book. Good progress.
Looking at the weekday shows, 1000 elevated its morning performance from the spring, delivering a 2.1 share between 5a-9a to earn a tie for 16th. That was up over a share from the prior book. The 5a-9a hours represent two hours of Max-Keyshawn-Jay Willams and two hours of David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood.
In middays, the combination of one hour of Kaplan and Hood and two hours of Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic, lifted 1000 to an 11th place 3.2 share finish M-F from 9a-12p. That performance represented a gain of ten ranked positions and a 1.7 share increase. Very strong. Mike Greenberg’s national show, which airs on ESPN 1000 M-F 12p-2p remained the station’s best performer for the quarter, securing a 4.4 share to finish in 7th. Greeny was 6th last book with a 4.3 share, showing the program has been consistently well received in the windy city.
Wrapping things up, 1000’s afternoon team of Waddle & Silvy, featuring Marc Silverman and Tom Waddle, helped the brand snag a 14th place finish with a 2.8 share M-F 2p-6p. That was a 1.3 share increase and ten position jump from the spring book, another positive boost for the station.
At night is where ESPN 1000 enjoyed a head to head win against The Score. The combo of Chicago White Sox baseball and Chris Bleck & Adam Abdalla carried 1000 to a tie for 13th with a 3.2. The Score’s airing of Chicago Cubs baseball and evening talk shows produced a 3.0 to finish 16th.
It’s worth pointing out that 1000 had a rough July but saw a big turnaround in the August monthly. The station went from 0.2 5a-7a, 1.2 7a-10a, 1.7 10a-12p, 2.3 12p-2p, and 1.4 2p-6p in the July monthly to an 0.8, 2.6, 3.7, 5.3 and 3.6 in August. If that activity carries forward to the fall book, especially with the White Sox in the playoffs, the station has a chance to make the race tighter.
That said tightening and winning are two different things, and right now The Score is rolling. The station has won all three books in 2021, has good consistency throughout the lineup, and is positioned well to remain strong in the fall.
Congrats goes out to Mitch Rosen and The Score team on winning the book, and to Mike Thomas and the ESPN 1000 team on making significant progress in the summer book. Chicago listeners have two top notch sports radio brands vying for their attention, and it’s nice to see each side with positive stories to tell heading into the fall book.
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