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The Latest Sports Radio Ratings In Boston

Jason Barrett

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There is no market for sports radio hotter right now than Boston. The work being done by WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub is incredible and it truly is a case of two brands being well positioned for on-air success. That’s helping both CBS and Entercom generate a whole lot of revenue.

In the recent spring book which covers March 24-June 15, the Sports Hub finished 1st M-SU 6a-Mid with an 11.0. WEEI placed 2nd with an 8.1. Making the performance even more impressive is that the Hub was up 2 full points over a 12-month stretch, and WEEI picked up 1.3 shares during that same period.

Toucher and Rich fueled the Hub’s success in morning drive by earning top honors with Men 25-54 with a 14.6. Dennis and Callahan with Kirk Minihane came in 2nd, also in double digits, turning in a 10.5.

Shifting to middays, the Hub’s Scott Zolak and Marc Bertrand popped an 11.8 to finish 1st. WEEI’s Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni, and Christian Fauria were 4th with a 7.0.

In afternoons, the Hub once again led the pack with Felger and Massarotti delivering a 12.8. WEEI’s Dale and Holley with Jerry Thornton was 2nd at an 8.3.

The one area where WEEI defeated the Hub was in evenings where Red Sox baseball propelled the radio station to a 1st place finish and 9.4 share. The Hub was 2nd with Adam Jones’ show recording an 8.1.

On the surface it’s easy to focus on the Hub’s stranglehold on the top position. They absolutely deserve credit for the success they’ve achieved, and have produced one of the best sports radio brands in America. Mike Thomas and his team deserve the accolades they’ve received for a job well done. In the past year alone, Toucher and Rich have improved from a 10.8 to a 14.6, and Zolak and Bertrand went from an 8.8 to an 11.8. Felger and Massarotti were flat with a 12.8, which is still an insane number.

But while applauding the Hub for their growth, don’t overlook what WEEI has done. The radio station was struggling a few years ago and made some great adjustments which have now made it a much closer two station race. Each of these stations are kicking the crap out of the rest of the market in the battle for Men 25-54, and most sports talkers across the country would kill for WEEI’s performance. They just happen to be pulling in big numbers while squaring off against one of the biggest ratings juggernauts in the country, in a market that can’t get enough sports radio conversation.

Did you know that last spring, these two sports stations combined to deliver a 16 share? This spring they eclipsed that mark with a combined 19 share! It’s hard to believe that they could grow that number even higher next spring but given the way Boston sports radio fans have responded to each of their presentations, I wouldn’t bet against it.

WEEI can take solace in the fact that they produced their highest Spring book performance since PPM measurement went into effect in 2010. The station’s previous best was a 7.1 earned in the Spring of 2012. What I was most impressed by were the increases of the station’s top shows year to year. Dennis and Callahan grew from a 7.5 to an 11.1. Ordway/Merloni/Fauria spiked from a 3.6 to a 6.8. And Dale and Holley climbed from a 6.4 to 8.2. That’s outstanding progress, which Kevin Graham, Phil Zachary and the programming team deserve credit for.

Too often in this industry we highlight the top brand and discredit the competitor, but success isn’t measured simply by who turns in a higher share. Each of these brands are unique, compelling, staffed with incredible talent, and they possess the ability to continue generating higher ratings and revenues. The on-air hosts for each brand will undoubtedly look to best their counterparts book after book, and quarter after quarter, but they also recognize that if they deliver their best effort and choose the right content, it’s likely to be supported by local listeners. That in of itself equals success.

 

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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