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Sports Radio News

The Sports Hub Takes August But WEEI Keeps Surging

Jason Barrett

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For the past few years, 98.5 The Sports Hub has established itself as a dominant brand. The CBS Boston sports talker has enjoyed tremendous success in the Men 25-54 demographic, cementing its position as one of the top rated sports radio stations in the nation.

While The Hub was building momentum, their main competitor WEEI, was undergoing a few changes. After making adjustments and bringing back a few friendly and familiar voices, progress soon followed. Boston sports radio fans began eating up the programming delivered by both brands, helping make the city the highest rated sports radio market in the country. There aren’t many cities in America where two sports radio stations finish 1-2 in the ratings, and their shows combine to reach 20-25% of the Male 25-54 demographic, but that’s exactly what’s transpired over the past few months.

In August, we saw a repeat in terms of the rankings with the Sports Hub finishing 1st and WEEI coming in 2nd. But one noteworthy item that jumped out was the improvement from WEEI and a slight decline from The Hub when you analyze their performances over the past twelve months. To be fair, The Hub has been cranking out record setting numbers, so eventually even the best have to slow down.

If you look at the situation from The Hub’s point of view, their three weekday shows are all number one, and delivering double digit ratings with Men 25-54. That’s phenomenal. They can also feel good about their evening number because although it’s slightly behind WEEI’s, they’re competing against Boston Red Sox baseball which costs a lot more. They also have a sizable lead over WEEI in most dayparts so they have plenty of ammunition to use in selling their story.

Flipping the script to WEEI, they’ve got to feel ecstatic about their year to year growth. During that span they’ve gained two to three ratings points on their weekday shows while the Hub has either declined or stayed flat. Dennis and Callahan led the charge by adding three full points in morning drive while competing against the Hub’s top rated show (Toucher and Rich). It’s even more remarkable when you take into account that they were battling without regular contributions from John Dennis. That’s encouraging news for Kirk Minihane, Gerry Callahan, and station management as they move forward without Dennis who left his full time position in August.

Not to be lost in the shuffle are the midday and afternoon shows which have also made significant strides, adding more than two share points to their performance. WEEI can also point out that they’ve stayed on track while going through a Program Director change, which is a testament to the work being done by Assistant Program Director Joe Zarbano and his team behind the scenes. The station can also lay claim to their ratings dwarfing most of America’s top sports radio stations, even if they don’t defeat The Hub. When you add all of that up and combine it with their Men 35-64 story where they beat the Hub in mornings, middays, and M-F 6a-7p, that’s a whole lot to work with.

Looking at it strictly from a Men 25-54 numbers point of view as most industry folks do, you’re going to recognize The Hub for being in the driver’s seat. They are and they deserve credit for a strong month. To perform the way they have over the past few years is extremely difficult and their work is worth recognizing.

But as I’ve learned over the years that it’s not always about a monthly ratings performance, which is why I highlighted the year to year progress too. Most brands analyze their growth over one year’s time and this is the space where WEEI can feel encouraged and the Hub can find areas to improve upon, despite being on top.

To climb back into the 2nd position and stay there consistently is a big accomplishment for WEEI because they were not in this spot last year. There’s now a serious battle where one or two quarter hours can make the difference in who wins and loses the next book. The combined performance of Toucher and Rich and Dennis and Callahan (now Kirk and Callahan) is as good as it gets in mornings in the sports format, and now it’s up to both brands and their talent to maximize their creativity, abilities, and strategy and hope that the Nielsen gods are on their side next time around.

It’s a pleasure to watch this competition from afar. Judging by the recent trends, I’d be surprised if we didn’t have another great story to share next month. In the meantime, best of luck to both stations and their teams going forward. May the best brand win!

STATION/SHOW Aug-16 Aug-15
M-SU 6A-Mid
98.5 THE SPORTS HUB 9.5 10.7
WEEI 7.6 5.8
M-F 6A-7P
98.5 THE SPORTS HUB 12.0 12.8
WEEI 8.2 5.6
M-F 6A-10A
TOUCHER & RICH (98.5) 12.9 14.5
DENNIS & CALLAHAN (WEEI) 10.4 7.2
M-F 10A-12P
ZO & BERTRAND (98.5) 10.7 10.8
ORDWAY, MERLONI & FAURIA 6.7 4.0
M-F 2P-6P
FELGER & MASSAROTTI (98.5) 12.5 13.0
DALE & HOLLEY (WEEI) 7.7 5.6
M-F 6P-Mid
RED SOX/MIKE MUTNANSKY 7.5 7.4
ADAM JONES (98.5) 7.3 8.9

*** All numbers are for Men 25-54

Sports Radio News

Kayla Anderson Added to 104.5 The Zone Morning Show

Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor to WKRN-TV in Nashville.

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Kayla Anderson has been added to the 104.5 The Zone morning show, newly titled Ramon, Kayla, and Will, joining Ramon Foster and Will Boling on the Nashville station.

Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor on WKRN-TV in Nashville. A graduate of Washington State University, she has also worked at television stations in Spokane, Missoula, Tucson, and Columbus in addition to her time in Nashville.

Anderson said on Twitter she is “so excited to join this group!”

Boling had been the interim host of the morning show after the August departure of Jason Martin.

Ramon, Kayla, and Will will be heard from 6:00 AM-10:00 AM each weekday morning.

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Sports Radio News

Derek Wolfe Joining 104.3 The Fan as ‘The Drive’ Co-Host

I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive.”

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Former NFL defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is joining 104.3 The Fan in Denver as Darren “DMac” McKee’s co-host on The Drive With Derek Wolfe and DMac.

Wolfe announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this year after signing a one-day contract to retire with the Denver Broncos. He was the franchise’s top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, spending eight seasons with the team, including a win in Super Bowl 50.

“To the listeners in Denver, ‘The Fan Wolfe-pack,’ I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive,” said Wolfe. “DMac and I are going to fight sometimes, maybe we’ll fight a lot of the time, but we’ll always be working together to entertain you. I’ve always kept it 100 with you, and that’s not going to change one bit.” 

“Derek is one of the most popular players in Broncos history, with the iconic image of his sack celebration in Super Bowl 50 forever etched in Denver sports lore,” said 104.3 The Fan program director Raj Sharan. “What’s so exciting about adding Derek is his connection with the audience goes far beyond his production on the field. He’s never been afraid to mince words and is unapologetically authentic. Those characteristics drew Denver sports fans to fall in love with Derek, and we’re thrilled to help Derek build on that relationship everyday as he entertains his ‘Fan Wolfe-pack!’” 

Wolfe enters a role previously occupied by former Bronco Tyler Polumbus, who departed the station in September. The Drive with Derek Wolfe and DMac will be heard weekday afternoons from 2:00 PM-6:00 PM.

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Sports Radio News

Chick Hearn Headlines Radio Hall of Fame Legends Inductees

Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.

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Chick Hearn

The Museum of Broadcast Communications announced today the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022. This distinction honors those in the industry who have contributed greatly to it and have since passed away.

Chick Hearn, the longtime voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be amongst those inducted in Chicago next month. Hearn was the voice of the Lakers for 41 years (1961-2002). Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.  

The full list of those to be inducted as part of the Legends class are:

  • MrDoug Banks– Nationally syndicated on-air personality;
  • MrJames Brown– Legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE Knoxville, TN;
  • MrBob Coburn– Host of the syndicated Rockline show;
  • Mr. Chick Hearn– Play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers;
  • MsBernice Judis– Owner and General Manager, WNEW-AM, 1930’s–1950’s;
  • MrSid Mark– Host of syndicated program, Sounds of Sinatra show for 60+ years;
  • Mr. Bobby O’Jay– On-air personality, WDIA-AM/Memphis;
  • MrPervis Spann– On-air personality, WVON-AM/Chicago;
  • Mr. James Thompson– Group W Broadcasting President and President of the Broadcasters Foundation;
  • Ms. Rosalie Trombley– Music Director of CKLW-AM/Detroit in the 1960’s–1970’s.

“The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100+ year old industry,” Kraig T. Kitchin, Co-Chairman, Radio Hall of Fame said. “I’m thrilled to see the Nominating Committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.”    

The Radio Hall of Fame will recognize its 2022 class of inductees, including the class announced in July, during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 1st.

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