By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — We’re stepping up to the plate taking this year’s second swing at the ratings performance of Major League Baseball radio flagships.
Unlike most of our other such overviews, this particular one comes with some unique ground rules and fine-print.
Leading off, the following scoreboards are for an MLB team’s English-language, Nielsen Audio subscribing key station during the July 2019 sweep (June 20 – July 17).
Some MLB teams have an AM and FM flagship and/or an emergency alternative (backup); however, we show one “designated hitter” per team.
Mirroring the one-station-per-team model, no MLB flagship in this analysis has ratings data from multiple Nielsen Audio metros.
Stats for the primary stations of the Mets (WCBS-AM) and Yankees (WFAN) are therefore limited to their home market of New York City, even though one or both of those stations may appear in ratings reports for Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island) and/or Middlesex-Somerset-Union.
The same applies regarding KNBR, the primary station of the San Francisco Giants. Even though the Cumulus Media sports talk facility is listed in both San Francisco and San Jose, only information from the SF report is used.
Things get a bit trickier with the Los Angeles Angels. Its main radio home – KLAA – has studios and offices at Anaheim Stadium but is unlisted in both the Los Angeles and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario reports (July 2019). As a result, we are using data from another Angels Radio Network station throughout this entire overview, KSPN “ESPN LA 710.”
No ratings information is available/shown for the flagships of the American League East’s Toronto Blue Jays (CJCL) and the American League West’s Oakland Athletics (KTRB).
Data cited here is not limited to any specific day-part. All stats are full-week, Monday – Sunday, 6:00 am – 12:00 midnight (6+).
With that out of the way, it’s time for the first pitch.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Air Two-Hour ‘Community Conversation.’ In the wake of the violence and protests over the shooting death of an armed black suspect by Milwaukee police last weekend, Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ is presenting a community conversation on the city’s social unrest this afternoon (8/17) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer says the special will create a forum for local residents, clergy, politicians and police to gather in the same studio to talk about life in the most challenged areas of the city. “The violence that erupted this week is a reminder of the struggles many face in our community. WTMJ Radio will lead the way for a productive listening session, where leaders can get together and offer solutions. Now is not a time for finger pointing, it’s a time to listen.” “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” host John Mercure will moderate the program. In addition to being aired on WTMJ, it will be streamed at wtmj.com and via “Facebook Live” at Facebook.com/wtmj.
Dave Hooker Joins WGOW-FM, Chattanooga’s ‘SportTalk.’ Back on July 4, Chattanooga market sports media legend Gary Haskew, a.k.a. Doctor Basketball, died unexpectedly. Now, Cumulus Media introduces air personality Dave Hooker, who is joining the “SportTalk” show to fill the void left by Haskew’s passing. WGOW interim program director Bill Lockhart says Hooker joins “SportTalk” hosts Scott McMahen, a.k.a. Quake, and Joe Varner, a.k.a. Cowboy, on the show. “It’s rare to find someone of Dave’s talent that perfectly meshes with the existing on-air chemistry of the show. Tennessee and SEC athletics are key components of ‘SportTalk’ and Dave will add a fresh new dimension to a show that’s been an afternoon destination for Chattanooga listeners for more than 27 years. Dave’s knowledge and contacts, plus his radio, print, and digital experience will usher in a new era in Chattanooga radio.”
iHeartMedia Launches Re-Tooled Afternoon Show on WDFN, Detroit and WMAX, Grand Rapids. Detroit radio pro Gregg Henson is partnered up with Big Drew and Jim Costa (co-hosts of the former “It Is What It Is” show on WMAX) for the new “Gregg, Big Drew and Jim” show on iHeartMedia’s WDFN, Detroit and WMAX, Grand Rapids “ESPN 96.1.” The show airs in afternoon drive effective today (8/17). Henson also serves the company programming its sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh.
MSG Acquires 12% of Townsquare Media. The acquisition doesn’t put any cash into the hands of Townsquare Media, but The Madison Square Garden Company’s purchase of 3.2 million shares of GE Capital’s Class C Common Stock in a private transaction means MSG now has approximately 12% common equity interest in Townsquare. Upon closing, the stock immediately converted to Class A shares. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We are thrilled that MSG has elected to become a shareholder of our company and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future. MSG is a leading provider of live entertainment with world-class venues and there is no doubt that we will benefit from having their support.” In addition to New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, MSG also operates Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, California; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston. MSG president and CEO David O’Connor comments, “Using its diversified portfolio of radio stations, digital assets and live events, Townsquare creates compelling content that brings people together and builds communities. We understand and share their belief in the value of exceptional, live experiences, and look forward to working together through this new partnership – which is another opportunity that our partner, Irving Azoff, brought to our attention – to drive additional value and growth for both businesses.”
WAPI, Birmingham Presents Signed Flag in Support of Dallas Police Department. In the photo here, WAPI, Birmingham morning show personalities Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg of the “Matt and Aunie Show” present an Alabama state flag signed by hundreds of listeners and Birmingham police officers to representatives of the Dallas Police Department in support of the force after the shooting deaths of five Dallas officers last month. Matt and Aunie also broadcast their program live from Cumulus Media Dallas studios on Monday (8/15).
Scott Shannon to Emcee National Radio Hall of Fame Induction in November. Just two months after emceeing the NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards, legendary WCBS-FM, New York morning personality Scott Shannon will host the 28th Annual National Radio Hall of Fame Induction ceremony at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago on November 17. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Scott Shannon adds a whole lot of fun and energy to an already electric and emotion filled evening. He’s a 2006 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee himself, so he knows just how meaningful this evening is for our Class of 2016 Inductees and will bring the perfect tenor to the ceremony.” This year’s inductees include: George G. Beasley, Delilah, Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Steve Harvey, Bob Kingsley, Kidd Kraddick, Tony Roberts, Neil Rogers, and Michael Savage.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations that serve as flagships for Major League Baseball based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2016 PPM survey. In this report you’ll find charts listing: stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from June 2016 to July 2016; ratings fluctuations from July 2015 to July 2016; and how stations ranked in their respective markets. See it all here.
Mike Gallagher Joins Michael Harrison on Weekly Podcast. This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (8/16), features a wide-ranging, intimate interview with Salem Radio Network syndicated star Mike Gallagher. Harrison and Gallagher get into an array of subjects guaranteed to fascinate the program’s growing audience of “media freaks” around the world. These include the changing nature of the human nervous system in the increasingly frenzied digital era, the impact of Donald Trump on American political discussion, the dark side of political bias in today’s left/right debate, and both men’s lifelong love affair with the theater. Gallagher talks about balancing his tremendously successful radio career with his accomplishments on the professional stage. In a segment about the decline of politeness in contemporary society, Gallagher touchingly reveals the personal anguish he suffered after a momentary lapse in judgement resulted in him fat-shaming singer Kelly Clarkson on the air. According to Harrison, “Mike Gallagher is not only one of the most talented and durable news/talkers in the business – he is also one of the nicest. Whether or not you agree with his political stance, his warmth and love of humanity are universal qualities with which any human being of decency can relate. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing him on this podcast and am proud to share it with our listeners.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. Veteran college football analyst, talk show host and former UNLV head football coach Harvey Hyde begins hosting a new mid-week college football talk show on KLAA, Los Angeles effective September 7. “College Football Mid-Week Review” will air Wednesdays at 7:00 pm and will focus on USC, UCLA, the Pac12 Conference and the College Football Playoff selection committee process…..Alpha Media’s rock WFXH, Savannah-Hilton Head “Rock 106.1” is airing Carolina Panthers football this season, including the Monday night “Panther Talk” show featuring head coach Ron Rivera…..ABC Radio is offering three news/talk-oriented programs for airing during Labor Day weekend. They are: “ABC News Radio’s Powerhouse Politics: 5 Things to Know” with Brad Mielke, “Back to School Survival Guide” with Alex Stone, and “ABC Radio’s 10% Happier with Dan Harris.”…..Entercom sports talk station WAXY, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” is bringing University of Miami and NFL star DJ Williams to the airwaves to appear on three of the station’s shows. Williams will be heard on Mondays from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm alongside Ethan Skolnick and Chris Wittyngham; Tuesdays from 7:00 am to 8:00 am with Zaslow, Romberg and Amber; Wednesdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with Beast and Leroy; and Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on The Ticket’s “Aqua and Orange Pre-Game Show.”…..New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker will appear on WEPN “ESPN New York 98.7” every Tuesday during the NFL season with Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro on “Hahn & Humpty,” beginning August 30.
The Presidential Race, Milwaukee Protests, Louisiana Floods/SoCal Wildfire, Aetna to Exit Many ObamaCare Exchanges, France Burkini Controversy, Ellen DeGeneres’ Usain Bolt Tweet, London Muslim Cleric Convicted, John McLaughlin Dies, Rio Oylmpics, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the aftermath of the police killing of an armed black man in Milwaukee; the devastating floods affecting Louisiana and the wildfires in Southern California; insurer Aetna’s decision to exit 11 of the 15 health care exchanges in which it’s currently participating; France outlaws the burkini claiming its use has the potential to cause disturbances; Ellen DeGeneres receives flak for her posting of and image of her riding on Usain Bolt’s back; London Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary is jailed for his ties to Islamic State; conservative TV talk host John McLaughlin – creator of “The McLaughlin Group” – dies at 89; the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Annual ‘Bark in the Park’ Events Finds Homes for 20 Dogs. The 6th annual “Bark in the Park” promotion from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, hot AC WPLJ, and country WNSH, New York took place on Saturday (8/13) at New Jersey’s Overpeck Park, hosted by WABC’s Mark Levin and personalities from all three stations. The day featured a wide array of vendors, services, great food, agility courses, doggie pools, demonstrations, a cooling station, and activities for families and dog lovers alike – including the always popular “My Dog Looks Like Me” contest! More than 20 dogs were adopted on site during the event from North Shore Animal League America and other area rescue organizations. Pictured here are (from l-r): WABC’s Ron Kuby, Levin, and WPLJ’s Jayde Donovan.
WGOW, Chattanooga Talk Host Brian Joyce Gets Facebook Suspension; Station Won’t Discipline. According to a story at Nooga.com, management at Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WGOW, Chattanooga will not discipline “Live and Local” show host Brian Joyce after he was suspended from his Facebook account after posting what’s being termed a satirical comment relative to the George Zimmerman–Trayvon Martin case. The story indicated Joyce was flagged by a Facebook friend after posting the following: “Come to think of it, I’m not so sure Hitler was a bad guy. He wasn’t killing Jews, he was simply defending himself and his people against the Jews. He said so himself on many occasions. Granted the Jews had never done anything to Hitler, but then again Trayvon Martin had never done anything to George Zimmerman. This is not murder, it’s not manslaughter. Heck, it’s not even assault with a deadly weapon! It’s self-defense. So how come Hitler gets such a bad rap? If it weren’t for race baiters like the Jews, we probably never even would have heard of Adolph Hitler.” WGOW program director Kevin West told Nooga.com he and Joyce discussed the matter. “We had a conversation and emphasized that most people aren’t going to understand satire. Some people just think literally. I do want to stress that in no way does Brian Joyce believe Hitler was a good man.”
Genesis Communications Network Debuts ‘The Take with Charles Butler.’ Genesis Communications Network adds “The Take with Charles Butler” to its lineup of programs. The show airs live from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET and is based in Chicago. The network describes him as “one of the most didactic radio show hosts of our time. He is known for his keen, conservative political views. Since 2007, Charles has discussed education reform, economics, gun violence, illegal immigration, national, state, and local elections, political maneuvers and all hot topics affecting Chicago, Springfield, Washington, D.C. and the international issues and the key players.”
Envision Radio Networks Announces Debut of New Feature: ‘Brand Like a Rock Star with Steve Jones.’ Envision Radio Networks introduces a new, daily 60-second feature titled “Brand Like a Rock Star with Steve Jones” that “helps listeners learn life lessons from rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest bands.” Envision states that “using advice from his international best-selling book, Brand Like a Rock Star: Lessons From Rock ‘n’ Roll To Make Your Business Rich and Famous, host Steve Jones takes listeners backstage to reveal the core marketing secrets of rock legends and shows how those strategies can be put into use in everyday life. Jones says, “For every entrepreneur, business owner, marketer, or anyone building their personal brand and career, ‘Brand Like a Rock Star’ is a must-listen.” Describing the show, Envision states that by using rock legends as examples, Jones takes an entirely fresh perspective to self-help. How can you build a brand as consistent as AC/DC? What does it take to start a company as distinct as Bob Dylan? How can you create a business as attention-getting as KISS? Each day, Jones will share a powerful story from rock music history and clearly illustrate how it can be applied to achieve success.
Salem’s Bainbridge, Washington Transmitter Building Destroyed by Fire. The transmitter building for Salem Communications’ talk KLFE and Spanish religion KNTS in Seattle was destroyed after a fire broke out in the facility. Local authorities say the fire started in the 12×12 transmitter building but soon spread to the grassy area outside. Firefighters were called and were able to keep it from spreading too far – a good thing as they note the dry conditions this year could have made it much worse had a local police officer not notice it and called in fire personnel immediately.
Red Zebra Adds Redskins Great Chris Cooley to Game Day Broadcasts. Former Washington Redskins Pro Bowler Chris Cooley becomes part of Red Zebra Broadcasting’s Washington Redskins Radio Network as an in-game contributor. As part of the multi-year deal, “Cooley’s Corner” will be heard quarterly, every game beginning with the pre-season opener in Tennessee on August 8. Cooley joins Redskins Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen, Rick “Doc” Walker and Brian Mitchell as former Redskin players who are members of the Washington Redskins Radio Network. Redskins Radio Network executive producer Chuck Sapienza says, “To add a talent and fan favorite like Chris to our team will bring excitement to our broadcast and a level of unpredictability for our listeners.”
Filling in This Week. KDWN, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock is sitting in for Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated host Rusty Humphries today and tomorrow (7/17-18) as well as next Monday and Tuesday (7/22-23). Stock tells TALKERS, “It means doing double duty but it’s a blast!”…..Sports talk host Dan Sileo is preparing to fill in on August 2nd and 5th on KLAA, Los Angeles sitting in for Travis Rodgers on the morning drive program. The temp gig is a reuniting of Sileo and KLAA PD Bob Agnew who gave Sileo his start in sports talk radio on KNBR, San Francisco many years ago.
The Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces New Board Members. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it has named four new members and a new officer to its board of directors. The new members were voted in during the recent board meeting, held in New York City. Saying the new board members “represent a cross-section of radio and television broadcasters, the BFoA welcomes: Brian Cobb, president, CobbCorp; Bill Hoffman, president, Cox Media Group; Brian Lawlor, senior vice president, television, E.W. Scripps TV Station Group; and Dan Mason, president and chief executive officer, CBS Radio. At the same time, the BFoA announces Katz Television Group president and chief executive officer Leo MacCourtney as a new officer. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “I am proud to welcome these highly accomplished broadcasters and industry leaders to our board. Their example of giving back to our industry by serving as a board member or officer is inspiring. I hope it will motivate others who work in broadcasting to identify ways they can help advance our cause of delivering financial relief to our colleagues who are struggling under the harshest of circumstances.”
Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, Tsarnaev Rolling Stone Cover, ObamaCare Implementation, and the Edward Snowden Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; Rolling Stone magazine’s controversial cover featuring the surviving Boston Marathon bomber; the debate over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the status of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dr. Joy Browne Joins Radio America. The longtime WOR Radio Network syndicated talk star signs with Radio America for national distribution of her radio program. Dr. Joy Browne – a licensed clinical psychologist – had been a staple of WOR, New York and the associated network for more than 15 years. Now, she makes her debut in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot on the Radio America network on Monday, January 21. Browne states, “What a great way to start the New Year, surrounded by loyal affiliates, being discovered by a whole new audience and working with the terrific group at Radio America. Yay!” Radio America CEO Mike Paradiso says, “We are very excited about working with Dr. Joy. Talk radio listeners are hungry for engaging programming that covers relevant issues outside of politics and Dr. Joy is a perfect fit. She will be a great addition to our existing lineup.”
Day One of Testimony in the Bubba the Love Sponge –Todd Schnitt Case. Nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt (a former CHR morning show host in Tampa) is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (a.k.a Todd Clem) for defamation and day one of that trial got underway in a Hillsborough County, Florida court room yesterday. Clem spent about six hours on the stand answering questions from Schnitt’s attorney. He defended his use of the word “whore” in describing Schnitt’s wife Michelle, implying his listeners did not really think she’s a prostitute because he used the word. Schnitt’s lawyer is going to try to paint a picture of a battle in which Clem went overboard, causing the Schnitts and their kids to fear for their safety as the result of attacks from the “Bubba Army.” It’s difficult to predict how a jury is going to respond to the evidence but the key for Schnitt appears to be convincing them Clem went too far in encouraging the kind of behavior that caused the Schnitts’ house to be egged and to have ice cream thrown at their car. Case law would indicate Schnitt and his wife are public figures and even Clem’s use of the word “whore” to describe Michelle Schnitt is protected speech. Proving actual damages in this case might be difficult and it will be Schnitt’s lawyer’s job to convince the jury the Schnitts were truly in fear and thus, suffered psychological damage as a result of Clem’s behavior. There are more than 150 potential witnesses and the case could go on for another three weeks.
KLAA, Anaheim Names Bob Agnew Program Director. Sports talk programming pro Bob Agnew takes the PD post at Arte Moreno-controlled KLAA, Anaheim – the flagship station for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Agnew spent years programming KNBR, San Francisco and building it into one of the nation’s most successful sports talk outlets. KLAA general manager David Baronfeld says of Agnew, “If there were a Mt. Rushmore for sports radio programmers, Bob would be one of the faces you’d see. His impact in creating the most successful sports radio station on the West Coast is undeniable and having him join KLAA is truly exciting.” Of his new gig, Agnew says, “This is a great opportunity to continue to grow and develop AM 830 KLAA into one of Southern California’s premier sports radio stations. There has been a tremendous growth of sports programming across the county and I am excited to put my experience and expertise to work with the KLAA staff. I look forward to working alongside Roger Lodge, Travis Rogers and the rest of the very dedicated staff.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Announces Super Bowl XLVII Coverage. As the sports world prepares for the Super Bowl, Fox Sports Radio Network announces its broadcast plans for the week leading up to the game. For the 13th straight year, FSRN will be producing talk shows live from radio row, this year at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, with Andy Furman, Artrell Hawkins, Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Matt “Money” Smith and Petros Papadakis leading the coverage. Fox Sports Radio reports that “as part of the week-long broadcast, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ will host the first-ever virtual experience from radio row at the Super Bowl. Utilizing video conferencing technology, Mohr will transport his show to New Orleans each day via a 46” big screen TV, enabling him to chat with athletes, celebrities and guests in real-time as they come face-to-face with his life-size image atop the official Fox Sports Radio stage.”
Howard Stern Producer Gary Dell’Abate’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Work Includes New Initiative. The man most know as Baba Booey – Howard Stern producer Gary Dell’Abate – also serves as president of the nonprofit organization Lifebeat whose goal is to use the music industry to reach young people with messages of HIV/AIDS prevention. Dell’Abate got involved with LifeBeat after his brother died of AIDS. Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/AIDS and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation are hosting a celebration today for The Arches of Hope interactive art installation. The event takes place at The Out NYC Hotel. The art installation was conceived and created by Patrick Duffy, creative director of the gay-oriented hotel. The Advocate reports that today through January 24, Lifebeat is asking people from around the country to participate in the campaign by tweeting messages that recognize the installation’s message of hope for an HIV-free generation with the hashtag #ArchesofHope. Messages will then be beamed to jumbo screens in Times Square and displayed via digital ticker tape embedded in the installation, and then shared across 12 major social media sites. Dell’Abate says, “We are also encouraging the public to sign a petition calling on President Obama and Congress to designate April 10 as National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day.”
SiriusXM Sports Talk Host Adam Schein Offends “Snooki.” “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was visiting the SiriusXM studios to promote her new TV show when sports talk host Adam Schein walked past her in the hallway. Schein tweeted that after the encounter, he “needed a shower.” The Tweet was quickly found by Polizzi and the followers of the two engaged in a Twitter war. According to Breitbart.com Polizzi complained to SiriusXM management and is “trying to get Schein fired” for the Tweet. This is one of those special moments that cause all of us at TALKERS to reflect on the beauty and value of social media.
Obama Signs Gun Controls, Americans Taken Hostage in Algeria-Mali Violence, Notre Dame Star Hoax, and Boeing 787 Fleet Grounded Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16). President Obama signs gun controls, and asks Congress to do more; American’s taken hostage in Algeria in response to French involvement in Mali; Notre Dame star Manti Te’o’s involvement in a death hoax; and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is grounded after numerous battery fires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.