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Jonathan Hood: National Media Setting Justin Fields Up to Fail

“If the Bears have seven wins and Justin’s okay, [they’ll say], ‘Oh, Justin sucks.’ There’s no middle ground with this.”

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Ahead of the full NFL schedule release on Thursday, some media members and insiders are predicting a breakout season for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. Selected 11th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Bears, Fields just completed his second season in the league. ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky has predicted for the second consecutive year that Fields will be in the conversation for the Most Valuable Player award.

The ascertainment bothered ESPN 1000’s Jonathan Hood on Wednesday morning and led to a discussion as to whether national media members are fomenting pressure and engendering athletes to fail.

“I listen and watch Get Up and First Take and all the different pundits talking about Justin Fields,” Hood said on Kap & J. Hood. “When you hear people say, ‘Well, Justin Fields – that’s the next dynamic quarterback. He’s going to be Jalen Hurts.’ It’s kind of like, ‘Well, wait a second;. Hold on a second.’ If the Bears are taking it one step at a time, why can’t we?”

While Fields has reportedly told members of the Bears coaching staff that he will be considerably better coming into the 2023 season, the organization and its fans hope to compile a better win-loss record following a 3-14 last-place finish in 2022. It is true that the Bears made acquisitions to improve parts of their team perceived as weak last year, including the offensive line and receiving core. The aspect of this situation that perturbs Hood is the reaction towards the Bears following a piecemeal approach to gradually improve and become a legitimate contender again.

“There’s this penchant to be able to be first, so you’ve got to be able to put your heart out there,” Hood explained. “If the Bears have seven wins and Justin’s okay, [they’ll say], ‘Oh, Justin sucks.’ There’s no middle ground with this.”

Courtney Cronin joined Jonathan Hood on the morning program filling in for David Kaplan. She agreed that it is more important to focus on if the Bears are better than if Fields is in the discussion for the accolade of most valuable player.

“It’s unfair to put him in the conversation last year,” Cronin said. “….I think it does Justin Fields a disservice when he’s being thrown into that conversation – a conversation he’s not ready to be a part of yet.”

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92.9 The Game Enjoys Ratings Growth in Atlanta Summer Book

In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), the station finished 2nd overall with a 6.8 share.

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A photo of the Atlanta skyline

The summer ratings book is out in Atlanta, and 92.9 The Game once again turned in a strong quarterly performance with Men 25-54.

In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), the station finished 2nd overall with a 6.8 share for the book. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid), the station remained 2nd with a 5.6 share.

Looking at the weekday shows, in mornings, the summer book represented the second ratings period for the station’s show helmed by Tiffany Blackmon, Mike Johnson, and Beau Morgan. The Morning Shift saw a slight drop from its first book, finishing with a 7.1 share for the quarter. That figure was an 8.4 share in the spring book. Nonetheless, the program remained in a strong position, 2nd overall in the market.

In middays, the station had a pair of shows finish 2nd, with The Steakhouse — featuring Steak Shapiro and Sandra Golden –enjoying an uptick from a 6.9 in the spring to an 8.1 in the summer. Shapiro and Golden are heard weekdays on the station from 9a-11a.

Additionally, middays with Andy Bunker and Randy McMichael generated a 7.1 share, which was one tenth of a point off from its spring book. Similar to The Morning Shift and The Steakhouse, Bunker and McMichael secured 2nd place in their time slow.

The venerable 92.9 The Game afternoon duo of Carl Dukes and Mike Bell, which airs from 2p-7p, saw a slight dip this quarter to finish with a 6.6 share, good for 3rd in the market. In the spring book, Dukes & Bell were 2nd with a 6.9 share.

Ratings information for 680 The Fan was not made available for the summer book.

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Jon Ritchie: Joe DeCamara Deserves Credit from ESPN For Idea That Turned Phillies Season Around

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A photo of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie
(Photo: 94 WIP)

Earlier this year, 94 WIP producer Jack Fritz received acclaim for sharing an idea that Philadelphia fans should give struggling shortstop Trea Turner a standing ovation. Morning host Jon Ritchie believes his partner, Joe DeCamara isn’t getting the credit he deserves.

During DeCamara and Ritchie Wednesday morning, the former NFL star argued that ESPN’s Karl Ravech got the story wrong in its retelling during the Phillies National League Wild Card Game Tuesday.

“This is good stuff. Last night during the during the broadcast, I started getting texts and tweets about this, but didn’t hear it live because I was at the game,” DeCamara said. “But during the broadcast, Karl Ravech and David Cone talked about what Fritz did and the Trea Turner thing.”

The show then played the clip of Ravech and Cone talking about Fritz’s idea of giving the standing ovation and how it helped turn Turner’s season around. Ritchie jokingly took issue with the fact that it was actually DeCamara’s idea.

“I guess (Fritz) did do the organizing, that is true, but the idea was hatched by Joe DeCamara on our show,” said Ritchie. “This was Joe’s idea. He hatched it. Let’s give him some credit here, and if Jack Fritz is gonna get a ring, why doesn’t Joe DeCamara?”

DeCarama joked Jon Ritchie just “wants to cause trouble”, before his co-host pushed him to say it was his idea.

“If I say yes, I seem like a bad guy. If I say no, I’m lying. So I will say no,” DeCamara said slyly.

Last week, during an appearance on the station, Turner thanked afternoon hosts Jon Marks and Ike Reese for helping turn around his year.

“Obviously, the whole thing happened and the rest is kind of history. Started playing a lot better and it was thanks to you guys and the crowd,” the Phillies star said.

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98.5 The Sports Hub Delivers Strong Summer Ratings But WEEI’s ‘Greg Hill Show’ Closes The Gap in Mornings

“98.5 The Sports Hub remained the top overall station in the summer book but WEEI’s Greg Hill Show made up significant ground in morning drive.”

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A photo of the Boston skyline

Boston has long been one of the hottest sports radio markets in America. With the latest summer ratings period now closed, we know it is also one of the most competitive between 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI.

In morning drive, Toucher & Rich still topped the market with an impressive 15.1 share. That rating is one that most shows would gladly take but after producing a massive 24.3 share last Summer, maintaining that performance was going to be a tall order. Though the show was 1st with a strong number, a decline of more than 9 shares year over year has to get the attention of the morning show and the management team. If anyone can rebound though and regain that past performance, T&R have shown they can.

Scott Zolak and Marc “Beetle” Bertrand continued to earn the number one spot in middays, garnering a 14.6 share for The Hub. That number was also down year-over-year but not as much as mornings. Zo and Bertrand turned in an 18.1 share in the 2022 Summer book.

Felger & Mazz — hosted by Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti — remains the best-performing show in Boston. The afternoon show held a 17.2 share to finish 1st in their time slot. The show did drop from a 19.7 share last summer but remains comfortably ahead of any market competition.

In weekday prime ratings, 98.5 The Sports Hub remained the top overall station with a 15.3 share. That number was down 25% year-over-year when it held a 20.4 share.

Meanwhile, WEEI rose more than 34% in weekday prime to a 7.4 share, up from a 5.5 in the same book a year ago. That placed them 3rd for the book.

WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show was the station’s biggest winner, more than doubling its share year over year. Hill’s program ranked 2nd with an 11.6 share this summer compared to a 5.2, 7th place finish last year. Only 3.5 shares now separate Hill from Toucher & Rich.

The midday pairing of Andy Gresh and Christian Fauria saw a slight increase for WEEI this quarter, moving to a 7.0 share. That figure was up from 6.3 last year. They were ranked 4th overall this quarter.

The afternoon pairing of Adam Jones, Meghan Ottolini, and Christian Arcand saw a noticeable drop, garnering a 3.9 share during the summer book. That put them in an 8th place tie during the summer book. Last year, WEEI’s afternoon show of Lou Merloni, Fauria, and Ottolini saw a 6.0 share in afternoon drive.

All numbers reported above are for sports radio’s target demographic of Men 25-54. The Hub did also have strong stories with Men 18-34 (1st for the full week, 2nd in prime), Persons 25-54 (1st for the full week, 3rd in prime), and Men 18-49 (1st for the full week, 1st in prime).

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