Sources have provided me with some insight into local radio ratings breakdowns by time slot and demographic. These are the numbers, provided by Nielsen (Arbitron), that program directors are slave to. Most important – for sports talk radio – is the Men 25-54 demographic. Success (or lack thereof) in this demo is key (and, apparently, it’s also what determines some hosts’ bonsues).
The information is based, among other things, on two ratings snapshots: September 2014 and November 2013. Unfortunately, the most current one I’ve seen catches the tail-end of the least-important summer Ratings Book and doesn’t account for the spikes that come with football season. Alas.
As detailed yesterday, WIP wins the overall ratings war thanks mostly to a dedicated local morning show, Eagles games and Phillies games. But a breakdown provides more context and paints a more accurate picture. There are three main takeaways: 1) WIP’s listeners are old. 2) Mike Missanelli rakes. 3) WMMR owns Philadelphia. In September, the home of Preston and Steve was number one among men 25-54 from 6am – 6pm, and first among men 18-34 from 6 am – 12 pm.[All ratings information that follows is based on the September 2014 Nielson weekday ratings, unless otherwise noted.]
6 am – 10 am
There’s no competition here. Angelo Cataldi and his Morning Show, while they came in a distant second behind Preston and Steve, had nearly double the local listeners of Mike and Mike among men 25-54. Those ratios were true for last November as well. No surprises there. But things were much different among men 18-34. WIP finished fifth, with an audience only about a quarter of the size of WMMR’s, and their lead over 97.5 was much narrower.
Yesterday, Neil Best of Newsday published a story about sports talk radio ratings in New York, and indeed, there is a similar ratio between the local show (Boomer and Carton) and the national show (Mike and Mike) ratings.
Takeaway: Local will always win when it comes to sports talk radio. Obviously.
10 am – 12 pm
It’s important to note that ratings time slots don’t always correspond to station lineups. WIP has a weird 6-10, 10-1, 1-6 thing going on, so there’s some overlap here. But for all intents and purposes, this is Mike and Ike’s time slot.
I’m told by multiple sources that, during this football season, Harry Mayes and the Brians – Westbrook and Baldinger – beat Mike and Ike among men 25-54, and as recently as September, WIP was getting ABSOLUTELY HAMMERED in the 18-34 demo, finishing 18th overall. 97.5’s ratings nearly quadruple WIP’s in this younger demo. WIP barely beat KYW here.
Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes were hosting on 97.5 last November and finished in a virtual tie with WIP among men 25-54, but were first, overall, among men 18-34. WIP was 10th in the latter demo.
Takeaway: Mike and Ike are bringing WIP down. While the morning drive listening audience is certainly different than the 10-12ers, Mike and Ike struggle to stay even with 97.5 despite a lead-in from the Morning Show and being bookended by shows that win their time slots. By my estimation, Michael Barkann co-hosting with a horse head could achieve a measurable rating in this time slot (partnering with Ike Reese only provides a nominal bump). Imagine if 97.5 had a morning show… not only would things even out in the mornings, but my guess is that Harry Mayes and whomever would clean WIP’s clock with any sort of a local lead-in. Is 97.5’s barely-there ESPN affiliation really important enough to stick with Mike and Mike? I wonder if they would ever consider offering Gargano a morning show?
12 pm – 2 pm
This time slot is funky because WIP has an hour of Mike and Ike and an hour of Anthony and Rob (Anthony and Glen last November), while 97.5 has The Jon and Sean Show. WIP beat 97.5, slightly, among men 25-54 both in September and last November, and they cut, however slightly, into 97.5’s lead among men 18-34.
Takeaway: People in their 40s (a guess) start flipping back to WIP once Gargano and Macnow-Ellis came on.
2 pm – 6 pm
I’ve been told that Anthony and Rob beat Missanelli in the spring quarter, but it’s unclear if that was among men 25-54 or overall. But both in September and last November, Missanelli and 97.5 finished second overall (behind WMMR, of course) and ahead of WIP (third) among men 25-54. And Mike’s lead among men 18-34 is huge. His audience more than doubles WIP’s in the demo.
A source told me that Missanelli “demolish[ed] them even more” once football season started.
Takeaway: If you’re wondering why there’s been so much turmoil at WIP in this time slot, this is your reason. Missanelli ran Howard Eskin off the air, beat Gargano-Macnow-Ellis pretty consistently in the coveted 25-54 demo, and crushed them in the 18-34 demo. WIP wants to get younger here, and now you can see why. Josh Innes is one of their answers. The other? Probably a veteran host.
6 pm – 12 am
INCONCLUSIVE– Phillies games on 94.1 on many nights. But, I’m told that lately Innes has, on some occasions, been beaten by the Sixers on 97.5.
Things to keep in mind: These ratings are mostly a few months old, and it’s football season that really drives both stations. There is nothing that leads me to believe that the rankings you see here, as they apply to WIP and 97.5, have changed in any drastic way. But until we get our hands on a Fall 2014 ratings book, I can’t say for sure.
And these ratings, as we’ve discussed before, are hardly a perfect metric. They’re based on small sample sizes and, in some cases, the honor system of participants logging their listening habits. But, they’re what radio stations use to make programming decisions and to determine (or justify) compensation and ad rates. Play me out: