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The Tide Is Turning In The Houston Ratings Race

Jason Barrett

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The January ratings are now available for Houston, and this month there were some new developments which are certain to have one brand celebrating, another frustrated, and a third feeling encouraged but far from satisfied.

The ratings report covers December 31st to January 27th, and during that period SportsTalk 790 (KBME-AM) made some noticeable adjustments to their programming. The radio station moved Matt Thomas to mornings opposite Lance Zierlein, and shifted Adam Clanton from mornings to middays where he debuted a new program alongside former NFL player Sean Jones.

Additionally, Sports Radio 610 KILT made a change to their evening programming, giving Paul Gallant an opportunity to host a solo show.

In analyzing the numbers, here is the comparison for M-Su 6a-Mid among Men 25-54.

  • Sports Radio 610 KILT = 3.4 (tied for 11th)
  • ESPN 97.5 = 2.6 (tied for 18th)
  • Sports Talk 790 = 1.5 (25th)
  • KGOW 1560 = 0.1 (tied for 39th)

*** 610 added a half of a point from month to month, and 97.5 and 790 also added three tenths of a point. KGOW remained flat. Overall the format saw a spike from the Holiday book to January, but if you go back to the same period last year, KILT is down nearly a full point. They delivered a 4.3 last January. During that same time, 97.5 has gained a point, climbing from 1.6 to 2.6, and 790 is down seven tenths going from a 2.2 to 1.5. KGOW also has seen a major decline dropping from 0.6 to 0.1.

Next up is morning drive M-F 6a-10a. Here’s the Men 25-54 breakdown.

  • ESPN 97.5 = 3.5 (10th)
  • Sports Radio 610 KILT = 3.2 (12th)
  • Sports Talk 790 = 2.7 (tied for 16th)
  • KGOW 1560 = 0.1 (37th)

*** This was the third book in a row where ESPN 97.5 won mornings and they continue to gain share which is very impressive. When you consider that KILT and 790 go with local programming and 97.5 features “Mike and Mike” and 1-hour of the local program “Reality Check” hosted by Dylan Gwynn and Barry Warner, this is a major win for the brand. Making it even more impressive is that one year ago, the station was producing a 1.3 in mornings. This means they’ve gained more than 2 points in morning drive year to year. For KILT the news isn’t bad. They were up month to month and only three tenths away from tying 97.5. They’re also consistent year to year. For 790, they too saw an increase, which is great news given that they recently made a change in mornings. They improved by three tenths of a point from the Holiday book to January. The one concern would be the decline year to year which has seen the brand slip from a 4.1 to 2.7. However, with a new show in place, I’m sure they’re expecting bigger things to come in the future.

When you examine M-F 10a-3p this is what the midday story looks like with Men 25-54:

  • Sports Radio 610 KILT = 3.0 (13th)
  • ESPN 97.5 = 2.4 (tied for 18th)
  • Sports Talk 790 = 1.6 (25th)
  • KGOW 1560 = 0.1 (tied for 35th)

*** Middays are where KILT regains the lead and holds a comfortable six tenths of a point advantage. However, 790 rew from a 0.9 in December to 1.6 in January which is really strong and indicates that Clanton and Jones may have attracted an extra meter or two. KILT was up a tenth month to month, and 97.5 saw growth as well, picking up four tenths from the Holiday monthly to January. Looking back to the same time last year, KILT has lost 2 points slipping from a 5.0 to 3.0, 790 has dropped eight tenths falling from a 2.4 to 1.6, and 97.5 which has added John Granato to the local mix and also includes Sean Salisbury, has added nine tenths growing from a 1.5 to 2.4. Also, KGOW has fallen hard dropping from 0.9 to 0.1 during the past 12 months. 

Rounding out the key prime time matchups is the afternoon drive slot. Here’s how M-F 3p-7p with Men 25-54 stacked up.

  • ESPN 97.5 = 3.6 (11th)
  • Sports Radio 610 KILT = 3.2 (15th)
  • Sports Talk 790 = 1.4 (25th)
  • KGOW 1560 = 0.0 (tied for 41st)

*** This was a huge win for 97.5 as KILT has consistently led the afternoon battle. Month to month the radio station grew eight tenths of a point, improving from a 2.8 to 3.6, and during the past twelve months that number has risen from 2.3 to 3.6. Congrats are in order for AJ Hoffman, Fred Faour, and Russillo and Kanell who all contributed to the station’s afternoon growth. For KILT, I’m sure they’re not satisfied finishing behind 97.5 but they are only four tenths away, and one ranking position behind. They did experience slight growth month to month going from a 3.0 to a 3.2 but year to year they’ve suffered some bad luck, falling from a 4.9 to 3.2. For 790, they saw slight improvement climbing from a 1.2 to 1.4, but year to year they too are down, dropping from 1.9 in 2015 to 1.4 in 2016. KGOW had no impact for the month and are down 0.6 to 0.0 year to year.

Taking a look at the evenings, where KILT debuted a new program, here’s what the picture looked like M-F 7p-12a among Men 25-54.

  • Sports Radio 610 KILT = 2.5 (18th)
  • ESPN 97.5 = 1.3 (24th)
  • Sports Talk 790 = 1.2 (25th)
  • KGOW 1560 = 0.0 (tied for 39th)

*** It was a good start for KILT’s new evening program, as the show added two tenths month to month. The concern however would be a drop year to year from 3.9 to 2.5. Given though that this is the first month of a new program, we’ll need a longer sample size to see how the changes are received, but so far so good. For 97.5 and 790, this is the area where they’re not as strong. Given that these are the off-peak hours, I’m sure they’re not too concerned about it. 

To summarize, it was a big month for ESPN 97.5. Make no mistake about it, when you win mornings and afternoons and unseat the leading brand in the market, it’s going to be a little sweeter entering the workplace. We weren’t privy to the M-F 6a-7p numbers with Men 25-54 but I’m sure the story is a strong one for 97.5, and as this train continues to pick up steam, I’m sure local and national advertisers are taking notice.

For KILT, they’re used to winning so this isn’t familiar territory. That said, they are only a few tenths of a point away from reversing the latest setback. The real test will come next month when the February monthly offers little play-by-play benefit and the market’s best personalities and content stand out. Their decision to run a trade deadline promotion around their personalities was smart, but only time will tell if it made a difference in the numbers.

Last but not least is 790. Where they have to feel really good is when they look month to month and they see their latest changes paying immediate dividends. To grow four tenths in mornings, and seven tenths in middays is excellent. Now the station needs to continue that momentum in order to make up ground from where they were last year and ultimately unseat one of the top two leading brands.

As for KGOW, they’re in a different category and not a factor in the ratings.

Credit to the Houston Chronicle who were first to report this story

Sports Radio News

FOX Sports Radio Broadcasting Live From Arizona & Las Vegas For Super Bowl Week

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports radio will descend upon Glendale, Arizona and the greater Phoenix area next week for Super Bowl LVII, and FOX Sports Radio will be out in full force.

FOX Sports Radio announced Thursday that Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn, Jonas Knox, Doug Gottlieb, Steve Covino, Rich Davis, Chris Broussard and Rob Parker will all be live from either radio row, State Farm Stadium or Scottsdale Stadium starting Monday.

Dan Patrick and his crew will be at Scottsdale Stadium, which is the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants and the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League. Colin Cowherd will broadcast two shows from State Farm Stadium, site of this year’s Super Bowl, on Thursday and Friday.

The rest of the FSR names mentioned above will all be doing their respective shows from radio row at the Phoenix Convention Center.

FOX Sports Radio also announced Jason Smith and Mike Harmon will broadcast from the Wynn Las Vegas resort on Thursday and Friday. They will have a strong focus on all things betting with regards to the Super Bowl.

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Sports Radio News

Alpha Media Ends San Antonio Sports Star Simulcast, 1250 AM Goes All ESPN Radio

“Alpha launched Sports Star on 94.1 back in June of last year, giving San Antonio its first FM sports talk station.”

Jordan Bondurant

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San Antonio now has a frequency where people can find local sports talk and the full ESPN Radio lineup.

RadioInsight reported owner Alpha Media has tweaked what was on 1250 AM, launching it as ESPN 1250. The station will be San Antonio’s 24/7/365 home for ESPN Radio. That will include NBA, NFL and MLB play-by-play on top of talk.

San Antonio’s Sports Star had been simulcasting on 1250, but Alpha will carry on with live and local programming on the stronger FM frequency. Alpha launched Sports Star on 94.1 back in June of last year, giving San Antonio its first FM sports talk station.

Sports Star is the home of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers in San Antonio.

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Sports Radio News

ESPN Radio 94.1 Sells Station Naming Rights To Priority Automotive Group

“The programming on the station does not change.”

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Max Media has found an interesting new revenue stream in Virginia Beach. ESPN Radio 94.1 has sold its naming rights. The station has rebranded as Priority Auto Sports Radio 94.1 ESPN.

“This is an important partnership for us,” said Priority Automotive COO Matt Elmer. “At Priority Automotive we think sports ties everyone together, so this is a great opportunity for us to be a voice in the community and partner with the number one voice for sports in Hampton Roads, ESPN 94.1.”

The programming on the station does not change. Listeners in the 757 will still hear the nationally syndicated ESPN Radio lineup except for in afternoon drive when The Tim Donnelly Show is on the air.

“The partnership between ESPN 94.1 and Priority Automotive is a natural evolution for both companies,” President and Market Manager Keith Barton added. “From the many youth organizations to college teams, Priority Automotive Has been dedicated to sports in Hampton Roads for decades. Max Media is incredibly proud to be partnered with such a class organization.”

Priority Automotive owns 17 car dealerships across Virginia.

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