RADIO WARS: 97.5 Buries WIP Again, and Some Thoughts on Greater Media's Cutbacks
I’ll start this post off with a few caveats: 1) June is typically a slow ratings month for sports talk radio, as is the summer as whole. People in the industry aren’t typically as concerned with these numbers, because they’re not judged or bonused on them. 2) Strangely, neither WIP nor 97.5 recorded any streaming rating for the month. It’s not immediately apparent whether this is due to a measurement error or if it points to the problem of using extremely small sample sizes to base an entire industry around. Whatever the case, one might expect 97.5, which typically crushes WIP on the steam, to struggle here. But, well, that wasn’t the case.
Since I can no longer bring you the actual ratings due to Nielsen’s friendly reminder to the Maestro that their hard data is propriety and can not be shared as it pertains to the all-important men 25-54 demo, here is simply a list of all of the time slots 97.5 won, and all of the time slots WIP won:
Total station, Monday-Friday, 6a-12a
Total station, Monday-Friday, 6a-7p
Mid-days (Harry and Rob), 10a-2p
Afternoons (Mike Missanelli), 2p-6p
Early evenings (Joe “The Hammer” DeCamara), 6p-7p
Mornings (Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team), 6a-10a
Evenings (mostly the Phillies), 7p-12a
Few things to note: 97.5 won all of their time slots handily. Mike Missanelli crushed Josh Innes by nearly three ratings points. Last year, Harry and Rob lost to Mike and Ike by over four ratings points. This year they won. Mike and Ike’s audience was cut in half.
WIP still cleans up in the mornings, and in the evenings. The latter is mostly due to Phillies games, which actually help bring WIP closer in the full-week ratings. During just the prime listening hours, 6a-7p, 97.5 wins by a full point.
Last week, I told you about Greater Media cuts that led to Joe Staszak, Damian Muziani and potentially Barrett Brooks (he had been rumored to be leaving for WIP, anyway) being let go by 97.5, which also cut back its live weekend hours. While things aren’t great for the industry as a whole, 97.5 is relatively stable, especially when you consider that Greater Media last week shuttered its sports station in Detroit, which was getting its ass kicked by the CBS affiliate there. Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, two Detroit hosts even pointed toward 97.5’s success in Philly as a way their station could’ve been saved:
Mazawey and Baligian both said WMGC’s sports-talk format could have succeeded if it had been given more time and continued to work on its shortcomings. Mazawey said WMGC’s sister station in Philadelphia, 97.5 The Fanatic, is beating its CBS rival in Philly, WIP 94.1-FM, after five years.
“They left it alone after three years and it grew,” he said. “And now it’s flourishing. It’s beating WIP now. We would’ve eventually — not caught up (to The Ticket), but we would’ve taken a portion of the audience, no doubt.”
Despite 97.5’s success against WIP in the ratings, it is believed that WIP out-revenues 97.5, perhaps by a wide margin, due to its hosts’ long-standing relationship with advertisers. Whether or not they turn a profit – their morning show is thought to cost over $3 million – is unknown. But they likely generate substantially more revenue than 97.5 despite having been eclipsed in the ratings for essentially four straight months.
WIP’s problem is that they are the New York Yankees of sports talk radio– legendary, but overspend on talent that is past its prime. Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Show are the lone thing the station has going for it, and seeing as though Cataldi himself has said his current contract with WIP, which has a little over two years remaining on it, will be his last… things don’t bode well for WIP. Mike and Ike are borderline unlistenable mid-days, Josh Innes is a mess in the afternoons, and Brian Haddad (Sludge) continually gets nailed by The Hammer in the evenings. What’s the future? is the sentiment more than one industry vet has wondered aloud to me. It appears there is none. 97.5 is in the North. PLAY MUSIC THEN: