On Monday, Shams Charania reported news that sent the basketball world into a figurative tailspin. As one of the Association’s most trusted news breakers, Charania stated that sources have told him that free agent guard Kyrie Irving has communicated with LeBron James to see if he would be willing to request a trade to the Dallas Mavericks. Irving’s idea would be to form a ‘Big Three’ featuring him, James and guard Luka Doncic. Irving and James were previously teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014 and 2017, and Irving was spotted at Lakers playoff games over the last month.
Charania was not the only insider to report this circumstance, as it was also written about by Chris Haynes. Haynes stated that sources told Bleacher Report about Irving’s desires, but also expressed how James stated to the outlet that he is considering retiring from basketball entirely.
“Kyrie would do this,” ESPN LA 710 co-host Scott Kaplan said, “but my question really is did he do this?”
“Yeah, I believe it 100%,” replied co-host Jorge Sedano. “I don’t think that Shams and Haynes are making this up independently of each other. They don’t even work together.”
Charania and Haynes have both been in the news-breaking business for several years, and they are viewed by many basketball fans as credible sources of information. Sedano is certain that the reporters received information from people whom they consider to be legitimate sources, perhaps even Irving himself, but he continues to have some doubt about the validity of just what they were told.
“I haven’t heard from LeBron yet,” Sedano stated, “so while I believe that they got it from somebody credible, hence why they reported it, without having heard LeBron’s side of it, I’m not going to say it’s a definitive.”
NBA free agency begins on June 30. While the NBA Finals had stronger Game 1 ratings than expected by industry pundits, the chatter about Irving and James has a stronger audience appeal and has subsequently taken over the airwaves outside of Denver and Miami.
For front offices of teams that did not qualify for the Finals, offseason plans on how to build for the future are squarely in view, with everyone trying to perspicaciously foresee the sequence of events. Not every manager considers external perspectives, but Sedano and Kaplan have discovered that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is a regular listener of their radio program.
In an interview with the Mason & Ireland show, Pelinka said that Kaplan has good ideas and that the team is flexible to consider them. Kaplan, who was informed that Pelinka often listens to the first 45 minutes of the show, has been outspoken in expressing his disdain towards the idea of the Lakers signing Irving.
“He also understands the trendsetters that we have become,” Kaplan said of Pelinka, “and therefore that we not just have our finger on the pulse, but rather actually influence the pulse.”
Kaplan divulged that there is a fan of the show who listens to the program after the fact as a podcast and comments thereafter. He has expressed that Kaplan is “a jerk for not wanting Kyrie,” and apparently has a preference for Sedano and the others on the show. He then asked Sedano if he had seen the tweet the user sent out with a picture of a dartboard where Kaplan’s face was the bullseye. Sedano revealed he had not seen the tweet, leading Kaplan to disclose it was something he made up.
“Shams Charania had somebody tell him that Kyrie had the balls to call LeBron,” Kaplan said. “Give me a break. Give me a freakin’ break, man.”
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.
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.
Jon Ritchie: Joe DeCamara Deserves Credit from ESPN For Idea That Turned Phillies Season Around
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.
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.”
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).