In Boston, sports talk rules the radio dial. The Sports Hub and WEEI are power house stations and dominate the male radio ratings. Makes sense. The Red Sox have been red hot for a decade and a half. The Patriots have won three out of four Superbowls. The Celtics and Bruins are playoff teams every year.
New England is the center of the sports universe with the best teams and biggest names out there. And Boston sports talk radio is scoring as a result.
I took the following notes from an article from Chad Finn and the Boston Globe.
In the winter Nielsen Audio ratings The Sports Hub finished first overall and in all four main day parts in the targeted men 25-54 demographic for the period of Jan. 23-March 27.
WEEI was third.
In morning drive, The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich’’ program was first while WEEI’s “Mut and Callahan’’ program was second.
In afternoon drive, The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Massarotti’’ finished first, while WEEI’s “OMF’’ program was third.
There are dozens of stations in the Boston market, but these two sports stations pile up the ratings and are rolling in the dough.
So is it the same here in eastern Maine with Bangor based sports talk radio?
WEZQ, 92.9 FM The Ticket is the 50,000 watt big boy sports station in Bangor. It is a quality station, an ESPN affiliate, owns the broadcasting rights to all four major pro teams, and is owned by Townsquare Media.
In the fall ratings period here, which fell during the Red Sox historic World Series run and included much of the Pats Super bowl season, my former show The Drive, which airs from 4-6pm, finished seventh in that same coveted male demo discussed above.
WEZQ airs Sox games and The Drive did appear to ride the Sox coattails a bit as in the prior ratings report the show was buried in eleventh place.
The Morning Pitch from 6-8am on The WEZQ typically is between sixth and ninth place in the same demos.
If you want to look at the total ratings numbers, involving all demos, this fall The Morning Pitch finished fourteen. The Drive was sixteen.
To be inclusive, I should mention the Downtown with Rich Kimball show which airs 4-6 on WZON, a Stephen King owned station. WZON was an all sports station but has since morphed from a news talk format into playing oldies.
Mr. Kimball will say he doesn’t do a “sports talk” show but much of every hour consists of University of Maine and regional sports talk with Boston media folks as guests. He also features interviews with singers, actors and local business people.
In total numbers he finished nineteenth for the time period.
In the key male demo mentioned above Downtown with Rich Kimball has received zero ratings for the last two years. He is part of a group of shows and stations that don’t have enough listeners to be measured.
So what does all this mean? Certainly New England sports fans in this region are as loyal and passionate as our counterparts in Boston.
TV ratings for Patriots games are through the roof on WABI TV 5. Everywhere you go around here you see people wearing team merchandise from the regional pro teams or for the Black Bears. But for whatever reason the fire has not spread to local sports talk radio.
SOURCE: Nielsen Topline Radio Ratings, Fall 2018, Bangor Metro, Persons 12+, and men 25-54, Monday-Friday, 4-6pm and 6-8am. Average Quarter-Hour Share.
Notes: I use content from the Boston Globe in this blog as well as local ratings provided to me from multiple sources. I have worked in sports talk radio in Bangor for much of the past 15 years. I was the host of the Afternoon Shootaround on WZON from 2004-2010. I was a weekly guest and fill in host on Downtown With Rich Kimball for almost three years and a co-host of the Drive from 2014-2018.