RADIO WARS: The Real Numbers

Hello it is I, maestro. I trust you’ve missed me?

Thyne has been preoccupado by the success of our sports team to be bothered with terrestrial squabbles. As it turns out, the radio ratings race is not quite as interesting when you don’t have one host threatening another or claiming that a former colleague is creating fake Twitter accounts to undermine him.

Indeed, the battles have still raged on. I felt not the need to step down from thy chair (throne?) and concern myself with the challengers rummaging though the fields. The maestro only concerns himself with the greater war.

But last week, my interest was piqued upon the news that Jon Marks and Ike Reese had “dethroned” Mike Missanelli. What’s this? No. Can’t be. However, that’s what Rob Tornoe reported on

Years ago, Jon Marks used to work for Mike Missanelli. Now he’s topping him in the ratings.

Marks and his 94.1 WIP co-host, former Eagles linebacker Ike Reese, defeated 97.5 The Fanatic’s longtime ratings champ in the 2018 winter ratings book, which uses data gathered from January through March to measure popularity.

I won’t purport to know his source, but I’d bet my gold tote that it’s someone with a very vested interest over in WIP. I’ve been on the receiving end of these ratings leaks from people on both sides of the aisle (you haven’t lived until Josh Innes cold calls you with his), and I tend to find there are multiple ways to skin the cat. Particularly with regard to the streaming number. And it’s with the streaming number that maestro finds great fault with this nonsense.

Indeed, WIP had a great quarter, the winter ratings book, which runs from January to March or thereabouts. Even when you combine the stream, with which 97.5 and its younger audience almost always bests WIP in Nielsen estimates, WIP won in mornings, mid-days, and overall among men 25-54, which is the most important demographic for sports talk radio. But as you can see, the headline and great chest-pound opportunity came from Marks and Reese beating Missanelli:

But when you combine Nielsen’s measured streaming estimate, we get a different story. Missanelli walks away with a 9.4 (8.0 OTA and 1.4 on the stream), whereas WIP combines for a 9.1. Still impressively close, but hardly “dethroning” someone.

To be fair, Tornoe asked both 97.5 program director Eric Johnson and WIP program director Spike Eskin about this disparity, and they offered up markedly different responses.


“They surely do win when you take the stream out of it, but in 2018, you can’t take the stream out of it,” Johnson said. “You write what you want to write, but I’m still saying Mike Missanelli beat WIP.”


“That’s not me dismissing the importance of the stream. What I’m dismissing is the notion that you would measure it using a radio rating,” Eskin said. “I’m very confident if you were to compare our actual streaming numbers to our competition in the afternoon, it would show that we have a clear advantage.”

This is spin, plain and simple.

Here’s how the streaming numbers are measured by Nielsen.

Nielsen participants get boxes that listen for a specific tone, or signal, embedded within audio. This data is extrapolated to form an estimate for the entire listening audience. One would think that tone would be the same for a station regardless of the medium. Nielsen, however, in their quest to control things, stipulates that a station must air an exact simulcast (commercials and all) if it wants to count its stream and its OTA number together. If there is not an exact simulcast, and stations run different commercials online and sell it as a different ad product, then the audio must contain different signals and be counted separately. That doesn’t change the fact that those “separate” stations are still being measured in the exact same sample, therefore allowing those two numbers to be added together to get one true measure. It may all be bullshit, but it’s the same bullshit.

It’s archaic and inaccurate. The sample size is comically small. It’s even more absurd when it comes to streaming. Estimates aren’t needed. Streaming listens can be measured directly. The same way websites have Google Analytics embedded which measure exactly visitors and page views, radio stations can see their actual streaming numbers– they don’t need someone to estimate them using a system developed before the Great Depression. Yes, it would be good to have an agreed upon set of metrics, a standard upon which all interested parties adopt, but there is simply not the need for a third-party estimate.

And yet, that’s still what the industry relies on, in part because Nielsen has forced itself upon media outlets in an attempt at self-preservation. That’s why they’ve made radical changes to the way the measure everything, from TV, to online, to radio, somehow – for now at least – convincing stations and advertisers that their dark matter numbers are more accurate than, you know, the actual numbers. Alas. But they’re what WIP – er, – is citing to declare a big win over Missanelli, while conveniently leaving out the streaming portion because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

I’m sure WIP’s actual streaming numbers are substantial, though I would still be shocked to learn that they’re higher than 97.5’s. The latter has a younger audience and almost always comes in higher in Nielsen’s admittedly faulty estimates.

Many stations, like WMMR and WMGK, already combine their OTA and streaming number – this is called total line reporting – because they air identical simulcasts. 97.5 and WIP, however, don’t, because they sell their streams as a separate ad package and thus have different commercials, which means the ratings for their OTA broadcast and stream have to be separated. But that doesn’t mean that for the purposes of arbitrary publicity you can’t simply add them together, and in doing so, Mike Missanelli beats Marks and Reese.

It’s close, for sure. And that’s not to take anything from WIP, who had a massive quarter win almost across the board in other time slots, among other demographics, and overall. But the notion that they dethroned Missanelli is misleading. It also doesn’t hurt that there is a massive carry-over effect with radios being tuned to Eagles games in January. That’s difficult to measure, but it certainly works in their favor. Let’s see what these numbers looks like in the spring, with Sixers playoff games airing on 97.5. BATTLE RETURN:



41 Responses

  1. Why are you going to bat so hard for 97.5? Even if the stream ratings are included, this isn’t a good look for them. They are getting destroyed in the morning, beaten pretty easily in the middays, and pretty much tied in the afternoon. They have all their eggs in the morning and afternoon salary wise. And the morning isn’t catching on any time soon and the afternoon is barely ahead, if at all, against his former producer. Using the Eagles as this excuse doesn’t work either since they play one day a week. You can use the argument that 97.5 potentially has games every day with the Sixers and Flyers benefitting more.

    1. Few things: You’re right. As I said, great few months for WIP. But the headline, and attention-grabber, is them beating Mike, which is rare. But it’s super misleading. 97.5 morning show is getting crushed and it undoubtedly impacts the mid-day show. With regard to Eagles games– they pull such a huge number that it certainly does impact overall numbers, and think about how many people listen on Sunday, then get back in car on Monday and it’s already tuned to WIP. This also applies to Phillies games, which are daily. Hard to measure for sure, but it does factor in.

  2. This Kinker Guy seems angry. Wonder if he was sold a bad bill of goods full of empty promises by a T shirt huckster who drives a woman’s car and lives near Quakertown in a Lego home built in a field ?

    1. I think maybe Kyle hired SoulGlow to be the media ‘enforcer’ for his Media Empire.
      Sticking up for everyone and giving them a ‘face’…. that sort of thing.
      even putting in comments on other article writers articles….
      which is unprecedented here at CB.

      Not sure why he’s so angry all the time though.
      He knows exactly whats part of the articles are being read
      and how quick the comments come in.

      Maybe he has personal problems or high blood pressure from
      all that salt from the 6tfundergastoentritis food dishes or he’s
      upset about Cosby going to the slam or Oprah running for Pres in 2020.
      Who knows whats going on with SoulGlow.

      I still don’t understand why they don’t just put in the time the original articles was posted.
      It’s not like you can’t get it anyway after the fact.
      Wordpress isn’t very clever software.

  3. I knew as soon as that blabber mouth Natalie, and that bloviating Tyrone were added to the show, it was going to decline. They are both terrible at what they do, and make it unlistenable for me. As soon as they booth those two stiffs off the air, Mike will again run away with it.

    1. I agree about Natalie. She talks way too much. That’s not being sexist. She just doesn’t bring anything to the program. At least, and I don’t want to get blocked so, the woman on 94.1 adds sports content. Natalie just has her annoying laugh and agrees with Mike on everything. Literally everything. I don’t know if that’s a part of her contract or not. I like Tyrone but he also agrees with Mike too much. That’s why Myrtetus and him worked well. The whole show feels forced now.

      1. Yep, but as terrible as Egenolf is, Kyle still white-knights her on his podcast, and continues to flaunt his ageism by harping on how “valuable” the younger audience is. Its never been more evident that Kyle is trying to align with 97.5 in hopes of some sort of partnership down the road. Keep the batphone with Myrtetus open, Kyle. Keep echoing Johnson’s only-card spin on the numbers, keep licking Nats cooch, you might actually get to join forces just in time for Beasley to pull the plug on that entire rat show going on in Bala.

        1. Kyle,’
          Is this true?
          Are you brown nosing/talking up 97.5 in hopes of expanding your media empire?

        1. She doesn’t have an annoying laugh that you hear constantly after Mike’s unfunny jokes. So that is one thing that 94.1 has over 97.5

    2. Yesterday she was chuckling over G losing his C patch on his sweater. She can’t even tell you who the Flyers first line is. Just so annoying.

  4. Mikey Miss is getting beat by Ike Reese?
    Mikey’s bloodpressure is going to go even higher and he;ll be even more pissed
    off with his shitty bossy MyWayOrTheHighway attitude…………

    1. He couldn’t win against Mike and Marks can. That is why Mike Francesa is returning and bumping Chris show to 1-3.

  5. It doesn’t generate much discussion in the comments or on Twitter. Sometimes none at all.

    1. According to Kyle, CB gets 3 million hits a month.
      So i’d say at least 400 thousand people are listening to that podcast everytime.
      I hope Kyle bulked up the IT backbone to handle future listeners…it could burst through to
      over 1 million listeners any month now. Handling 1 million listeners isn’t cheap.

      Maybe he used some of the fake dog shirt money that he pocketed for that
      (it had to be 75 G’s right?)
      while lane johnson and the NFL donated theirs to the children charity.

  6. I want my money back Kyle. You guys won’t let me write any posts and you all have been meeting for whiskey tastings without me. You sold me on huge listener events and absolutely nobody showed up to the 6 ft under live podcast. Russ is a sniveling little twerp, Kinkead isn’t the radio guy from Atlanta you portrayed him to be: he’s simply another dopey hipster that will be losing his CBS3 sixers credentials at the end of the season. There’s some creep named Philip (one ‘L’…really?) and our best talent, Tyler Trumbauer left because he refused to pack T shirts for you.

    I don’t get what we do here. This is a miserable failure.

    1. Kyle….you didn’t hire Kinker just because he has sixers credentials did you?
      Is this true?

    2. I will admit I got a good chuckle out of this. But don’t you dare disparage Russ like that again.

  7. CB getting EVISCERATED today. The people have spoken.

    Eminem murdered you on your own shit.

  8. Kyle, does the mike miss show airing on tv potentially hurt their Neilson radio numbers, if elected to watch the show on tv as opposed to listen on radio?

    1. No its impacts nothing.
      My Radio Scene insiders tell me that Mikey Misses contract will not be renewed in 2028.

  9. In the top picture, who is the strange looking guy on the left with the awful attempt at a beard and high school tattoos?

  10. Stations that do not subscribe to nielson should simply turn off their encoders. Then none of the numbers in the market will be accurate since they are not counting them all, just the ones that pay.

  11. I can’t find a show on WIP anymore that is listenable and I used to be a die-hard. The Hammer is absolutely terrible…Richie is boring as hell. Ike Reese makes me want to jam pencils into my ears. Cataldi is so overdone – you’re 80 years old and horny, got it. The station is trying to get younger and it’s just not succeeding. I think bringing Eskin back would be the only think half worthwhile and even that move would be completely desperate.

    1. Pretty much true. But Angelo is OK, weekend guys better than the full-timers. Mid day and afternoon shows are boring and retarded.

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