OH YEAH BABY!!!! OHHHHH YEAHHHHHHHHHH. – SPLAT –
That’s the reaction I imagine Mike Missanelli had this week as his competitor’s show devolved into complete lunacy, ultimately disintegrating live on-air before being quickly spackled over by Josh Innes while his boss, Andy Bloom, scraped away the powdery white residue to complete the whitewashing of WIP’s fresh, new wall. Figuratively speaking, of course.
It took just under 48 hours for Missanelli to address his victory at Inane Hill with this column – or, if you’d prefer, blog post – for Philly Mag.
Many people lately have asked me to comment on the state of Philadelphia sports talk radio, which finds a competitor station acting out a myriad of desperate acts and claims that attempt to prove their viability.
They have used personal insults, sophomoric phone calls and embarrassing bits on the street, in the wake of the Caitlyn Jenner announcement, that had 19-year-old interns go up to random men on the street and ask whether they would “hit” Caitlyn Jenner.
The topics discussed at that station — where I worked during the time of the true Genesis of sports radio in Philadelphia, when most of the hosts came from legitimate sports reporting backgrounds — during evening drive became so distasteful to one of the co-hosts of this evening drive show, this week he abruptly resigned.
I have been doing sports talk radio for 20 years now. And while I have pushed an envelope or two over the years, my discourse has always served what I think is the most important part of this industry: the great sports fans of Philadelphia.
If you look closely enough, you can actually see the celebratory cigar ashes and
cu champagne stains in-between those letters. But, everything he said was quite accurate and, really, fair.
He then went on to play the “Man of the People” card, which is an interesting strategy seeing as though his final thought took aim at the “Average Joe”, who, according to Mike, is too stupid to interpret radio ratings. As if they’re some indecipherable matrix containing the hidden truths of the galaxy in numerical form.
Look at this shit:
From this other station come claims that their ratings are now beating mine. Claims like that resonate with the average Joe because the average Joe really doesn’t fully understand how ratings work. There are different measurables in radio ratings, the numbers are grouped by different age group listeners. There are elements like TSL, which is the amount of time an audience spends listening, and CUME, the overall number of people who listen to you. Other stations can fudge numbers publicly to make it look like they are winning.
Ratings numbers also work like this: ANY new show is going to get an automatic boost in the ratings. It’s called “sampling.” People will tune in to a new show just to see what it’s about. At first, perhaps, a show that sends interns on the street to ask men whether they’d “hit” Caitlyn Jenner, might be amusing. At first. And then anything akin to that is simply a cheap and bad imitation of Howard Stern, which is better served as a morning zoo, than an important evening drive slot.
The concept of “sampling” is not unlike the concept of opening a new restaurant. People will flock to something new. And maybe in the first couple of weeks of the restaurant, the food and the ambiance are an interesting change. But unless that restaurant stays excellent, people won’t come back. It was just a blip on the radar screen.
OK, there are two responses here, if we want to “look within” and “keep it real,” as Mike might encourage his audience to do:
1) I can assure you that Mike would’ve previously claimed – oh around last December – that all that matters in radio is the men 25-54 demo over a three-month period – one ratings book – upon which hosts’ bonuses are typically based.* He’s right in that anyone can contort ratings to their advantage, because it’s exactly what he’s doing here. Tony and Josh won 25-54 quite handily for about five months, and Mike typically beat them in time spent listening and CUME (total audience). What matters? To radio people, it’s the 25-54 ratings book. But it’s all bullshit anyway. The PPM meters used to determine radio ratings are precisely the sort of imprecise tool that is dooming mainstream media. They produce estimates agreed upon by those in the industry to be the snake oil that gets sold to advertisers. Are they accurate? Who cares… as long everyone’s making money. All involved know the ratings are unreliable at best. A recent article by FiveThirtyEight explained how PPMs may have unexpectedly killed smooth jazz (WHAT WILL CARRIE MATHISON DO NOW?!).
So both sides here can boast about their ratings, but all it amounts to is who can be furthest from the pool when they decide to measure their own dick. And in this specific case, Mike’s doing everything he can to not be George Costanza. Mike was in the pool! Mike was in the pool!
*I reached out to Mike to reconcile this shift, but he declined to comment on the record on the matter and instead berated me for being a salacious blogger who creates mayhem in people’s lives and argued that a real journalist would’ve instead followed up on his tip from a few weeks ago and called the wife of a rival employee and asked her to confirm that her husband was indeed in rehab. Presumably, that would’ve been the less salacious route. The more you know.
2) Ratings numbers also work like this: ANY new show is going to get an automatic boost in the ratings. It’s called “sampling.” People will tune in to a new show just to see what it’s about. This is a totally fair and reasonable claim, and it’s not a new assertion about Innes and Bruno’s success. And while it might be accurate in a vacuum, unfortunately for Mike, he doesn’t exist inside the bowels of a Hoover and completely neglected the fact that this phenomenon did not impact 97.5’s new morning show. So before capitalizing “ANY,” maybe it would’ve been wise to examine the obvious retort.
Mike liked to call the Innes and Bruno Show a clown show. Maybe it was. But in reality, all of sports talk radio is a clown show. All that matters is which birthday party you choose to attend. But remember: always stay away from the pool. BLAZING NOTES: