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The Addition of Bernie Miklasz Is Paying Off For 101 ESPN

Jason Barrett

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The Rams’ season was just about to kick off when Bernie Miklasz made his major move, leaving the Post-Dispatch after 26 years as a high-profile sports columnist to go full-time into the radio business.

And the football season is a key time — arguably the most important time — for his new employer, WXOS (101.1 FM). It has been the Rams’ flagship radio outlet since joining the local sports-talk fray in 2009 and has much programming related to the team and NFL.

Miklasz was hired to bring listeners to the station and eyeballs to its website, and adding him was a major investment for parent company Hubbard Radio. The stake was more than financial — it also involved revising the lineup by reducing the amount of time allotted to ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show and pushing existing local shows back an hour.

The Rams’ season now is over, and the bottom line reads thusly: Ratings for the time slot he occupies, 7-10 a.m. weekdays, were flat at first with comparable months last year but rose significantly in December. The station’s overall ratings have improved and its website traffic has increased.

Arbitron measures radio listenership and for the first two full months he was on in which ratings are applicable (October-November), it says he was being heard by 6.9 percent of men in the market ages 25-54. That’s the target audience of sports-talk radio. In those months in 2014, when the station filled the 7-9 a.m. slot with “Mike & Mike” and the 9-10 hour with Kevin Wheeler’s local program, the average was virtually the same.

Then in December, Miklasz’s rating was 27 percent better than what the station drew in same block a year earlier. And his market share has grown each month.

In the bigger picture, the station’s overall rating for the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekday slot, in which it now airs its key local shows, was 9 percent higher than the October-December quarter last year.

And Compete.com, which measures web traffic, says the station’s site was drawing about 15,000 “unique” visitors in November 2014 and the number jumped to about 53,700 in November 2015 — the most recent month for which figures are available.

The trend is upward, but is it a strong enough start for the return on a huge investment for Hubbard, especially at a time when it is in danger of losing its anchor property, as the Rams have applied to the NFL to move to the Los Angeles area?

“As talented as he is, and as well-known as he is, it takes time for people to find out he’s here, and here on a full-time basis,’’ said John Kijowski, who runs Hubbard’s local business. “It actually exploded several months quicker than I thought, to a higher degree than I thought. From a ratings point of view, it actuality is exceeding where I though it would be this quickly.”

Radio stations loaded with local talk shows and high-profile and well-compensated hosts, as 101.1 has, exist in an expensive format — much more so than music stations that have much less overhead. The acquisition of Miklasz and associated costs has created talk in the industry that 101.1 is overextending itself financially, with cutbacks inevitable.

Kijowski scoffs at that notion, saying the station is “100 percent better off” than it was six months ago and that no reductions are in the works. In fact, he said there have been additions to the digital side of the operation and that an editor will be hired for the website because of its growth fueled by Miklasz’s presence.

“Those are some things we didn’t have before on the digital side that we now can sell,” Kijowski said.

 

Overall, Kijowski said he is pleased with the early returns.

 

To read more of this article visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

670 The Score Hosts Congratulate Mike Mulligan on Award From Loyola Chicago

“They’re giving me an award for correctly picking the Super Bowl on September 8th,” Mulligan joked.

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670 The Score morning host Mike Mulligan is being awarded the Father Finnegan Memorial Award from Loyola University Chicago this weekend, and some of his colleagues congratulated him on the air Friday morning.

The award is given “in recognition of outstanding humanitarianism and service to youth through athletics”. Mulligan — a 1984 graduate of Loyola University Chicago — will receive the award Saturday during the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony during a game against George Mason.

“Tremendous award,” co-host David Haugh said. “Proud moment for the show. Proud moment for you family.”

“They’re giving me an award for correctly picking the Super Bowl on September 8th,” Mulligan joked.

“That is fantastic,” Laurence Holmes said, while his co-host, Dan Bernstein, continued to say “wow”. “Congratulations. You shouldn’t be embarrassed. You should be proud.”

“I’m being celebrated for being old,” Mully joked.

“That’s not what that award says,” countered Holmes. “It says something completely different.”

The Mully & Haugh host eventually admitted he was appreciative of the award bestowed upon him by his alma mater.

“It’s a good thing. I’m very moved by it. Sister Jean will be there,” Mully said. “She has a book coming out with — I think — Seth Davis.”

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Sports Radio News

Colin Cowherd: Tony Romo Regressing Because He Loves Golf

“I’ve always felt like Tony Romo is one of those guys — and we all have somebody in our social circle like this — he got the golf bug. He’s had it for 15 years.

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The performance of CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has been a hot-button topic in sports media circles, especially after a widely-regarded lackluster performance during the AFC Championship Game. Colin Cowherd believes he knows why Romo has regressed.

During an episode of The Colin Cowherd Podcast, the sports radio host claimed golf is the reason behind Romo’s regression.

“Romo wants to be on the Tour. He literally wants to be on the Tour,” Cowherd said. “And what’s the first thing Aaron Rodgers does in the off-season? He goes and golfs, he loves it. Both, by the way, great golfers, especially Romo. But I’ve always felt like Tony Romo is one of those guys — and we all have somebody in our social circle like this — he got the golf bug. He’s had it for 15 years.

“Tony wants to be on the PGA Tour — but he likes the paycheck from CBS.”

Cowherd also added he hasn’t hired potential employees in the past if they told him they loved golf during the interview process, saying he has a theory that as men age they “get addicted to golf”.

“They’re on PGATour.com, they’re putting in the backyard, they’re thinking about it at work, they’re scheduling a trip to Scotland and they lose sight of their other job,” Cowherd said.

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Sports Radio News

ESPN Radio Adds Lakers Games As LeBron James Nears Scoring Record

“As of Friday, February 3, LeBron James is 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.”

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The NBA’s all-time scoring record has stood for a long time. Kareem Abdul-Jabar, the current record holder, retired in 1989. LeBron James is on the verge of overtaking him though, and ESPN Radio wants to make sure it is part of history when it happens.

ESPN Radio has added two upcoming Lakers games to its schedule. The network will carry the national feeds of games on February 7 and 9. The first game is against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The second is against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Both games will be played in Los Angeles with a 9:30 PM Eastern tip. Marc Kestecher and Vince Carter will be on the call for both games.

As of Friday, February 3, LeBron James is 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.

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