We haven’t done a ratings post at Crossing Broad in almost two years, but with so many moving parts at both stations, whispers of 2400 Market St. supremacy, and WIP soon to shuffle their lineup, it made sense to update readers/listeners on how each station is faring at the beginning of 2023.
In short, it’s not a radio war at all, because 94 WIP has widened the gap significantly over 97.5 the Fanatic. In years past, Angelo Cataldi was usually far out in front, while middays and afternoons were more competitive, but those latter two time slots have trended sharply in WIP’s favor for several ratings periods now.
Here’s the synopsis of the 2022 Fall book, which runs from about mid-September to mid-December and is generally seen to be the most important in sports talk radio since it includes the largest portion of the NFL season. For context, we’re going with Nielsen meters plus streaming, using the demographic of men aged 25 to 54. While other demos do exist, and are sometimes analyzed, advertising rates are set on the M25-54 numbers, so that’s the primary focus when parsing the data.
Angelo Cataldi approaches retirement with no drop off in listenership. He finished #2 behind Preston and Steve on WMMR, while John Kincade and the Fanatic came in 8th place in the market.
The Kincade show simulcasts on YouTube, while Jamie Lynch was laid off about three weeks into the ratings period, so those are a couple of added bits of context to consider. Angelo and Preston/Steve have enjoyed morning hegemony for a LONG time now, but with Cataldi set to step aside in a matter of weeks, we’ll see if his audience largely sticks with WIP or if some of those listeners go elsewhere.
Interestingly enough, Angelo posted a monolithic streaming number, which seems counterintuitive to the thought that people are getting themselves/their kids ready in the morning or sitting in their car while driving to work. Alas, it was a very strong digital performance from the morning team.
Another big win for WIP, as Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie finished second behind WMMR and Pierre Robert.
At the Fanatic, Anthony Gargano did relatively well, finishing in a tie for 5th place. This time slot featured the smallest gap between WIP and 97.5, a little less than eight share points, so while that separation remains significant, it was a good book for The Cuz considering the chasm dividing the other dayparts.
Jon Marks and Ike Reese romped to a first-place finish, pulling a larger number than Cataldi and DeCamara/Ritchie. It was one of their best books ever, if not the best.
With Mike Missanelli no longer anchoring P.M. drive on the Fanatic, The Best Show Ever? finished eighth in the time slot, though the gap was more than 13 full share points. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering the fact that TBSE? isn’t even six months old, though Tyrone Johnson and company do have the benefit of the NBC Sports Philadelphia simulcast, which gives them a television platform. (I’ve asked some folks if they can provide those television numbers and will update the story if possible)
You might recall that WIP battled with Mikey Miss during the early days of Marks and Reese, but Jon and Ike steadily pulled ahead and were winning consistently over Mike even before he left this past summer. This book has only extended a lead that started to form more than two years ago.
WIP finished #1 in the market with a monstrous number. The Fanatic was 14th.
As rights holder, WIP nights obviously benefited from the Phillies World Series run, though attributing their station-wide success strictly to October baseball is the wrong “narrative,” for lack of a better word. The Fanatic has early-season Sixers and Flyers broadcasts for a portion of the Fall book, but their all-shift topical focus was largely football and baseball and they didn’t push year-to-year growth on the strength of the Birds and Phils being top teams.
Across all time slots, WIP finished in a first-place tie with WMMR. The Fanatic was tied for 8th.
Some of the stations typically rounding out the top seven include 102.9 WMGK, WHYY-FM, KYW News Radio, B101, and 92.5 WXTU, which is impressive since I don’t know a single country music fan in The Delaware Valley. That said, one of the takeaways from the fall book is that Beasley’s portfolio is doing fine on the strength of their non-sports stations. Preston and Steve is an unstoppable behemoth of a show and MGK does very well.
Is the Fanatic lagging behind, or is WIP just doing that well? In my estimation, it’s both. WIP put up incredible numbers this past fall, some of the best numbers the station has ever posted. They’re in fantastic shape as they head into the post-Cataldi era, far out-pacing 97.5. It’s not even close right now.
PLAY THE MUSIC: