Tis the time of year whence change es en un air.
A new football season often brings with it the beats of change. What’s working, stays. What’s not… changes. Ch-ch-ch-changes. You may recall that last year Josh Innes was jettisoned from WIP ostensibly as the result of a bad Tweet, but perhaps actually due to his suffering ratings and the fact that football season was fast approaching and THOU SHALL NOT STAND! Michael Barkann was similarly removed from the battlefield in October.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the local sports talk radio ratings.
As you may have noticed, THE LEAKS HAVE STOPPED. Someone got to the leakers. Donald Trump would be hard. But no matter, we still have gleaned some insight into the local sports talk radio ratings during this the slowest of times.
As it has been explained to me, Anthony Gargano continues to pose no threat to Angelo Cataldi in the mornings. In the mid-days, Harry Mayes and Rob Ellis on 97.5 are getting beat soundly by Jon Ritchie and Joe DeCamara on WIP, who recently almost doubled their counterparts among men 25-54. Overall, Phillies games tend to help WIP in the mid-days and afternoons, among all audiences 18+, but less so or at times not at all among men 25-54. In the afternoons, Chris Carlin and Ike Reese have improved since the winter and have begun to nip at Mike Missanelli’s heels, though he’s still holding them at an arm’s length away.
As you know, the maestro tends to be well-informed, and it may be worth contemplating possible changes to the lineups.
The 97.5 morning show has lost two of its original four on-air personalities– Jon Marks left on his own accord and went to WIP, and Maureen Williams was fired earlier this year. That has left Gargano with his longtime producer, Jamie Lynch. The two of them have a good rapport, but the morning show lacks an update person and has been using Eytan Shander as what feels like a short-term co-host. And it should be telling that on their website, 97.5 has a picture of only Gargano for its morning show, when it used to have a picture of all four personalities– Gargano, Marks, Lynch and Williams. The result is a show that has struggled to find its place in the market or pose any real threat to Cataldi. I would expect to see an addition to the show before football season.
In the mid-days, the picture is even more bleak. Harry and Rob, who, like, literally lifted our shtick (more on that later), just got trounced by DeCamara and Ritchie. One might wonder if 97.5 would consider pairing Jason Myrtetus, currently Missanelli’s producer and the station’s assistant program director, with Mayes. The two of them had good chemistry and received good feedback when they filled in for Missanelli when he was out after back surgery. Anecdotally, that’s the only sports talk radio show I’ve seen positive Tweets about in a while. People seemed to like the change of pace and authenticity. That pairing would make some sense in mid-days. Myrtetus also just announced that he was launching a hockey podcast, which will give him some space to talk puck given the fact that he’s currently on a show that seemingly refuses to do so.
If Myrtetus were to join Mayes, it would of course mean a different on-air producer for Missanelli, who sounds a bit disengaged of late. To be fair, there’s not much to talk about, but Mike does appear to be going through the motions with half-efforted opinions as WIP’s show has crept up on him.
On the WIP front, they have changed essentially their entire lineup over the past year. Josh Innes is gone, Michael Barkann was let go, and they’ve added Carlin, DeCamara, Ritchie and Marks. It’s debatable whether all of those hosts produce quality content… but the ratings momentum throughout the entire day has been working in their favor. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made no changes heading into football season.
With regards to new ownership, WIP now being owned by Entercom and 97.5 being owned by Beasley, there haven’t been any noticeable on-air changes. My sense is that folks at 97.5 are comfortable with Beasley being a STEWARD of their programming – especially when you consider that any format change to 97.5 would in theory double WIP’s audience and thus weaken Beasley-owned WMMR’s position – and folks at WIP are even more upbeat about Entercom, which seems to embrace sports, as evidenced by the hiring of Mike Dee, a former Dolphins and Padres CEO, to be their president of their sports properties.
Either way, the warm weather always seems to bring with it the winds of change. One might wonder what will happen over these next few months. BEATS BEGINNING: