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The Zone Prevails In The Omaha Winter Ratings

Jason Barrett



The city of Omaha may not have a professional sports team to call its own, but that doesn’t mean its passion for sports doesn’t run deep. It’s because of that desire that the market’s two top local sports radio brands are producing healthy ratings.

In the latest winter book, 1620 The Zone reaped the benefits by leading in all Men 25-54 categories. AM 590 ESPN turned in a respectable finish, but was the clear runner up. However, with 590 adding the rights to the Nebraska Cornhuskers last February, that momentum can change quickly.

What’s undeniable at this point in time is that local listeners have two great options to listen to and each provide a different style of programming. To get a better idea of how each brand stacks up, here’s a look at the individual show performances, and a couple of the traditional timeslots.


M-SU 6A-MID = 6.6 (3rd)

M-F 6A-7P = 8.1 (3rd)

M-F 7A-11A (Sharp & Benning) = 8.8 (2nd)

M-F 11A-2P (Game Time with Nick Bahe) = 8.8 (2nd)

M-F 2P-6P (Unsportsmanlike Conduct with John Bishop and Josh Peterson) = 8.9 (1st)

*** A big month for The Zone headlined by the afternoon show hitting #1. Overall the radio station won the head to head matchups in every timeslot which is huge, but even more importantly was the fact that they finished in the Top 3 in every category. That speaks to the station’s consistency and content/personality appeal.


M-SU 6A-MID = 3.8 (8th)

M-F 6A-7P = 4.4 (8th)

M-F 5A-9A (Mike and Mike) = 7.1 (3rd)

M-F 9A-12P (Dan Le Batard) = 2.4 (12th)

M-F 12P-2P (Russillo and Kanell) = 4.0 (8th)

M-F 2P-6P (The Drive with Joe Quinn and Nick Handley) = 4.3 (8th)

*** 590 is getting a GREAT performance from Mike and Mike. Russillo and Kanell and the afternoon show each turn in Top 10 finishes which is respectable. Le Batard right now is the one program which isn’t popping. We’ll have to see if that’s seasonal or a regular trend. Overall the station is in the Top 10 and during the Fall it’ll likely perform much higher with Huskers football on the station’s airwaves. The key is holding that audience over during the week.


M-F 6A-10A:

  • 1620 The Zone = 7.5 (2nd)
  • AM 590 ESPN = 5.4 (5th)

M-F 10A-3P:

  • 1620 The Zone = 9.6 (2nd)
  • AM 590 ESPN = 3.4 (10th)

M-F 3P-7P:

  • 1620 The Zone = 7.8 (2nd)
  • AM 590 ESPN = 4.3 (7th)

One other item I was able to examine was the Men 18-49 category. Although this isn’t the focus for determining success, it is an area to keep an eye on because as older listeners age and exit the desired demo, younger listeners enter it for the first time, and judging by what I’ve seen, both brands are in good shape.

Similar to the Men 25-54 story, The Zone is in a stronger position with younger listeners. They gain an extra point on many of their key shows. For example, Sharp and Benning delivered a 9.8, Nick Bahe had a 9.9, and Unsportsmanlike Conduct turned in a 9.5. For AM 590 they lost a point on Mike and Mike, and two tenths with Le Batard. However, they gain three tenths with Russillo and Kanell, and one tenth with The Drive.

The interesting book to look at will be the Fall when 590 can leverage the power of Cornhuskers football, and use the increased attention to help drive additional tune ins to its weekday programs. At this point in time though, the market belongs to The Zone. The talent are consistent and providing exceptional programming, and based on the latest numbers, the audience agrees.




Sports Radio News

Doug Gottlieb Details Interviewing For College Basketball Head Coaching Vacancy

“I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up.”





Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb recently interviewed for the vacant head coaching job at Wisconsin-Green Bay and detailed the experience on his podcast.

“I got a chance to talk to (Wisconsin-Green Bay AD) Josh Moon several times during the year after they had made their coaching job available and my approach to how I’ve done these things — and this is not the first time I’ve gone down this path, but this was a different path,” Gottlieb said on his All Ball podcast.

“This is a low-major, mid-major job, and there’s no connection there. I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up. I love doing it and I think there’s a very smart world where if I’m coaching I can still do this podcast and still do it with basketball people all over the country and the world, and it’s kind of like a cheat code.”

He continued by saying that seeing Shaka Smart be successful at Marquette has motivated him to continue to search for the right fit as a college basketball coach.

“That’s what I want to do. And last year when I was coaching in Israel, that also continued to invigorate me…this is something that I would really like to do. It has to be the right thing. It has to be the right AD who hits the right message.”

He continued by saying that a sticking point of negotiations was he wasn’t willing to give up his nationally syndicated radio program for the job. He was willing to take less money for his assistants pool, but also to continue doing his radio show.

Gottlieb did not get the position with the Phoenix, noting that he was a finalist but was never offered the job. The position ultimately went to Wyoming assistant coach Sundance Wicks. Wicks had previous head coaching experience and had worked with Green Bay athletic director Josh Moon at Division II Northern State. He admitted he wasn’t necessarily “all-in” on the job due to the current ages of his children and whether the timing was right to uproot his family to move to Northeastern Wisconsin.

The Fox Sports Radio host does have coaching experience. He has worked as a coach for the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Maccabiah Games, sometimes referred to as the Jewish Olympics.

Gottlieb’s father — Bob — was the head men’s basketball coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1975-1980, compiling a 97-91 record.

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Sports Radio News

Waddle & Silvy: Scott Hanson Told Us to Lose His Number

“We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”





Aaron Rodgers took immense pride in the fact that he told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter to “lose his number” while discussing his future earlier this week on The Pat McAfee Show. ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy said they’ve experienced similar treatment from guests on their radio show.

While discussing the Rodgers interview with McAfee, the pair admitted that NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson once told their producer to stop trying to book him for interviews on the program.

“I believe the presentation was ‘Do me a favor: lose my number after this interview’,” Tom Waddle said. “So he tried to do it politely. Scott Hanson did. Get out of here. That concept is foreign to me. How about ‘Hey, next time you text me, my schedule is full. I can’t do it, but thanks for thinking of me’. ‘Lose my number?’ You ain’t the President, for Christ’s sake. I’m saying that to anyone who would say that. ‘Lose my number?’ We’re all in the communication business. I just don’t know — why be rude like that to people? What does that accomplish? You know what it accomplished? We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”

Co-host Mark Silverman then mentioned that the show once tried to book Hansen and NFL Red Zone host Andrew Siciliano together in the same block, with the idea of doing a trivia game to see who the supreme Red Zone host was. Siciliano agreed, but Hansen declined.

The pair also confirmed that an NFL Network personality had told them to lose their number, but couldn’t remember if it was Rich Eisen or not.

Silverman later joked that maybe Hanson was getting a new phone with a new number, and was politely sharing with the producer that he could lose the current phone number because he would share his new number in short order.

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Sports Radio News

Seth Payne: Aaron Rodgers ‘Makes Gross Inaccuracies’ When Calling Out Media

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations.”




Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is always mad at the media for the inaccurate things he says they report, but according to Sports Radio 610 morning man Seth Payne, no one is more inaccurate than the quarterback himself.

Friday morning, Payne and his partner Sean Pendergast played audio of Aaron Rodgers responding to a question about a list of players he provided to the Jets demanding they sign. Rodgers called the idea that he would make demands “so stupid” and chastised ESPN reporter Dianna Russini, who was the first to report it.

“Now to be clear, Dianna Russini didn’t say demands in her tweet. She said wishlist,” Pendergast clarified.

They also played a clip of Russini responding to Rodgers on NFL Live saying that she stands by her reporting and it is her job to reach out to confirm that it is true.

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations,” Seth Payne said.

He added that if Rodgers is being serious, he is doing some serious nitpicking. He claims that he didn’t give the Jets a list, but that he spoke glowingly about former teammates and told the Jets executives that he met with who he enjoyed playing with during his career.

Payne joked that maybe he wrote down the names in a circle pattern so that it was not a list. Pendergast added that he could have had Fat Head stickers on his wall that he pointed to instead of writing anything at all.

In Payne’s mind, this is a case of Russini catching stray frustration. Neither in her initial tweet nor in any subsequent media appearance did she use the phrase “demands”.

“What he’s actually responding to in that instance is Pat McAfee is the one that described it as a list of demands,” Seth Payne said.

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