By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES —Now might be the perfect time to do our first-ever PPM-era assessment of National Football League radio flagships.
While we will not address in any way the recent heated controversy surrounding certain NFL players (vis-à-vis the national anthem), it is worth mentioning that earlier this week, Bob Costas, who hosted “Football Night in America” on NBC-TV for more than a decade, said the decline of football, once “a cash machine,” is the most significant story in American sports.
The following analysis is comprised of the performance of (certain) NFL radio flagships in the October 2017 sweep, which covered September 14 – October 11.
Whereas Major League Baseball flagships deal with a 162-game regular season schedule that stretches over the course of six months, their NFL counterparts cover a team that (generally) plays once per week. This year’s NFL 16-game regular season schedule runs from early-September through the final day of 2017.
Moreover, unlike what we see throughout the vast majority of MLB, nearly half the NFL teams have multiple radio flagships, so highlighting one flagship per team is much more daunting with the NFL than MLB.
Add to that this full disclosure: In our trade paper arrangement with Nielsen Audio, we are strictly limited to use only 6+ Monday-Sunday 6:00 am – 12:00 midnight stats. Thus, we cannot isolate day-part or demo information for any station – or group of stations.
NFL Radio Flagships Disclaimers (October 2017)
What follows in this section is an admittedly long – but much needed – set of team-by-team disclaimers and explanations for the selection of each radio flagship used throughout this overview.
When the choice is between a music-intensive FM and a spoken-word station, the latter – which theoretically devotes more time to the team during the week – gets the nod.
The top line consists of the team and its flagship noted here. If applicable, any additional information appears on the next line(s).
Teams are noted in descending order of PPM-market size.
- New York Giants: CBS Radio sports/talk WFAN
In conflict situations, co-owned all-news WCBS-AM is the backup.
- New York Jets: Emmis sports/talk WEPN
- Los Angeles Chargers: iHeartMedia news/talk KFI
The team returns to Los Angeles from San Diego; other flagships are co-owned sports talk KLAC and San Diego sports talk KLSD.
- Los Angeles Rams: ESPN Radio/ABC Radio (Disney) sports talk KSPN
Entercom classic rock KSWD is the FM flagship, but it’s about to become contemporary Christian under new owner EMF. This franchise returns to Los Angeles from St. Louis.
- Chicago Bears: CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM
- Oakland Raiders: Entercom San Francisco sports talk KGMZ
Backup is co-owned classic rock KUFX.
- San Francisco 49ers: Cumulus Media sports talk KNBR
Co-owned classic rock KSAN is the FM flagship.
- Dallas Cowboys: CBS Radio sports talk KRLD-FM
The AM flagship is co-owned news-talk KRLD-AM.
- Houston Texans: CBS Radio sports talk KILT-AM
Co-owned country KILT-FM is the FM flagship.
- Washington Redskins: Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL
Red Zebra sports talk WTEM is unlisted in Nielsen Audio’s October 2017 sweep.
- Atlanta Falcons: CBS Radio sports talk WZGC
- Philadelphia Eagles: CBS Radio sports talk WIP
- New England Patriots: CBS Radio sports talk WBZ-FM
- Miami Dolphins: CBS Radio sports talk WQAM
Co-owned country WKIS is the FM flagship.
- Detroit Lions: Cumulus Media news/talk WJR
- Seattle Seahawks: Bonneville sports talk KIRO-AM
The FM flagship is co-owned news/talk KIRO-FM.
- Arizona Cardinals: Bonneville Phoenix news talk KTAR-FM
- Minnesota Vikings: iHeartMedia Minneapolis sports talk KFXN
- Denver Broncos: iHeartMedia news/talk KOA
Co-owned classic rock KRFX is the FM flagship.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: iHeartMedia sports talk WDAE
The FM flagship is co-owned rock WXTB.
- Baltimore Ravens: Hearst news/talk WBAL
Co-owned rock WIYY is the FM flagship.
- Carolina Panthers: Entercom Charlotte news/talk WBT
- Pittsburgh Steelers: iHeartMedia sports talk WBGG
The FM flagship is co-owned classic rock WDVE.
- Cincinnati Bengals: iHeartMedia news/talk WLW
Co-owned rock WEBN is the FM flagship; also, co-owned sports talk WCKY.
- Cleveland Browns: CBS Radio sports talk WKRK
Another FM flagship is co-owned classic rock WNCX, while Good Karma sports talk WKNR-AM does not appear in Nielsen Audio’s October 2017 sweep.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Cumulus Media classic rock KCFX
- Indianapolis Colts: Emmis sports talk WFNI
Co-owned country WLHK is the FM flagship.
- Green Bay Packers: Scripps Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ
- Tennessee Titans: Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Seven Bridges sports talk WJXL is unlisted in Nielsen Audio’s October 2017 sweep.
- New Orleans Saints: Entercom news/talk WWL, but New Orleans is a non-PPM-market
- Buffalo Bills: Entercom sports talk WGR, but Buffalo is a non-PPM-market
Some NFL flagships are MLB key stations as well; those stations are designated by an asterisk (*).
Coming up tomorrow: A look at alternative/modern rock-formatted stations; email managing editor Mike Kinosian at Kinosian@TALKERS.com.