Connect with us

Sports Radio News

Making Sense of The Latest Houston Ratings

Jason Barrett

Published

on

The Houston sports radio ratings were published this week in the Houston Chronicle, and I usually refrain from interjecting my opinion on other ratings pieces, but given what I just read, I felt it necessary to do so.

One of the major challenges radio faces as an industry is having their story told by the print media. Most writers don’t understand the complexities of the ratings game or the way radio stations evaluate short-term and long-term success. They simply look at a number for one demographic (Men 25-54) and compare it to the one the station generated the month before. They then use that gain or decrease as the evidence to support their position on defining whether the station was a success or failure for the current month.

First, it’s clear that the intent of this particular article was to stir up controversy by using Josh Innes’ name as the centerpiece. I’m sure Josh won’t mind the exposure, and the publication is probably satisfied with the traffic they’ve generated from it, but unless you understand the way new shows are measured, this is simply an attempt to create buzz around manufactured drama.

Let me be clear, Innes is off to a slow start. That part of the story deserves to be told. But, most new shows take time to develop and capture an audience, which is why most programmers provide a 1-2 year cushion when evaluating the growth of a show. iHeartmedia in Houston didn’t hire Innes with the false belief that he’d lead them to the top of the ratings in 3 months. If it were that simple they’d have hired him sooner.

There are certain situations when shows on highly rated brands win faster, or certain shows are a mess and need to have the plug pulled sooner, but Innes inherited a small audience, and provides a stark contrast in style to his predecessor Charlie Pallilo. That means he has to build an entirely new audience because Pallilo’s listener’s are less likely to stick around for Innes, at least in the short-term. To expect Josh to reverse the station’s ratings woes in afternoons in 90 days is unrealistic.

I understand the local press’ affinity towards Pallilo, but he was given a long leash by the iHeartmedia brass in Houston. I’m sure local executives wrestled with making a change for a while before deciding it was time to change direction.

Every host understands when they accept an opportunity to host a show in this business that they’re a prisoner to the ratings. Unfortunately for Charlie his numbers weren’t there. That doesn’t mean he’s not talented, a good guy, or someone capable of helping another station make money and enjoy success. It simply means he didn’t generate enough ratings to satisfy 790’s business objectives.

The even bigger part of the story that was missing was the credit that Sports Radio 610 deserved for winning the month. There are some very talented people on the airwaves at 790 and 97.5, and to win the head to head competition against them and remain in control as 610 has done for the majority of 2016 is a feat worth highlighting. The station literally received one line of recognition in the first 8 paragraphs of the story.

Since the local outlet didn’t provide it, let me be the first to extend a congrats to Ryan McCredden and the 610 staff on their latest performance.

If the goal was to generate buzz off of negativity, one could’ve pointed to the fact that the ratings were down for all three stations during the past three months. It’s football season, and the Texans were playing for a chance to make the playoffs, and there was a lot of drama surrounding the team’s starting Quarterback Brock Osweiler. The Rockets were also one month into the season, and playing great basketball. You’d think those things would help generate a spike in listening, but for whatever reason, the shares were slightly lower.

Was that due to Nielsen losing 8% of their sample? Maybe. But even if the 8% was located, I don’t believe the numbers would’ve matched what each brand produced in October.

I realize the Innes-Pallilo story provides drama. That then leads to clicks, and given Josh’s track record in Houston and Philadelphia, he’s a newspaper media writer’s dream. But I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the whole story to be told.

I have no horse in this race, I just like seeing the performance of sports radio brands reflected in a fair and honest way. For Houston listeners, I see it as a positive that they have three good options to choose from when they’re in the mood to consume Houston sports radio. Regardless of the ratings, if the brands are generating revenue and showing a profit, then all will be fine inside the walls of each operation.

When you add it all up, here’s what you have.

Sports Radio 610 is in the driver’s seat, and has consistently led the market.

790 is in building mode and counting on Innes to provide a ratings boost in the future, but they need time to take that next step.

ESPN 97.5 remains in the conversation in second place, and is currently giving 610 their strongest ratings competition. Their best performance though is coming from Mike and Mike, which could be problematic down the line if changes occur with ESPN Radio’s morning show.

Here are the numbers the Chronicle published which show how each station and it’s key weekday shows performed in the latest December book.

STATION TIMESLOT/LOCAL SHOWS 16-Dec 16-Nov 16-Oct
M-F 6A-7P
Sports Radio 610 3.2 3.6 3.7
ESPN 97.5 1.6 1.7 2.2
SportsTalk 790 0.8 1.1 1.7
Mornings
Sports Radio 610 Mad Radio – 6a-10a 3.4 3.9 4
ESPN 97.5 Mike & Mike – 5a-9a N/A N/A N/A
SportsTalk 790 Proper Gentlemen – 6a-10a 0.8 1.3 1.8
Middays
Sports Radio 610 John Lopez & Cody Stoots – 10a-2p 2.6 3.5 3
ESPN 97.5 Granato & Ramzanali – 9a-11a 1.5 1.8 2.4
ESPN 97.5 Granato & Salisbury – 11a-1p 2.2 2 2.5
ESPN 97.5 Joel Blank – 1p-4p 1.6 1.3 2
SportsTalk 790 Koch & Kalu – 10a-12p 1 0.8 1.3
SportsTalk 790 Jones & Clanton – 12p-3p 1.1 1.5 1.8
Afternoons
Sports Radio 610 The Triple Threat – 2p-6p 3.8 4.4 4.5
ESPN 97.5 The Blitz – 4p-7p 1.7 2.7 2.7
SportsTalk 790 Josh Innes – 3p-7p 0.9 1.4 N/A
SportsTalk 790 Charlie Pallilo 2.3

*** Mike and Mike’s ratings were not provided but the show delivers the three strongest rated hours of the entire broadcast day on ESPN 97.5. From 5a-6a M&M produce a 5.8. During the 7a-8a hour they record a 3.0, and from 8a-9a they generate a 2.6.

Sports Radio News

16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Published

on

Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets

The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.

Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

Published

on

MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Published

on

Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.