Toronto Radio Numbers Sum It Up

I have only seen bits and pieces and I will try to get a more detailed view of the big book of radio ratings in the Toronto market. Bruce Dowbiggin has an article this evening that gels with the basics that I heard today:

The new Fan 590 is doing very well with the a younger 18-34 demographic and not so much with the older 25-54 males.

According to Dowbiggin:

“the morning drive show is second in the male 18-34 demographic, a step up from the Don Landry and Gord Stellick show, which was cashiered in the spring. Krystal’s edgy show is ahead of CFRB, another talk format and, so far, appealing to younger males.”

This seems accurate to the type of show the Fan is running in the am. I don’t think CFRB is concerned with losing out in the 18-34 demo.

“Prime Time Sports is more than doubling its competition at AM 640’s Bill Watters show, 7.7 to 3.3.”

Again no shock here. The Watters show with Bill Hayes won’t appeal to anyone under 34 with two hosts who are, well, let’s just say older.

“In the larger male 25-54 demographic, the morning show is behind John Oakley over at its competition AM 640. Krystal is currently ninth overall in the Toronto demographic from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., a slip from the levels of Landry-Stellick.”

This is the one number that surprises me the least, for no other reason then I am in that demographic.

I am told that the Watters show went from a 4.4 rating last fall to a 3.1 this fall in the male 25-54 demographic. That’s a huge drop, year over year. Apparently when you consider adults in total, not just men, Watters drops down to a scary 1.5 rating.

I am most curious to see how Blair is doing, as in my book he is the most improved at the Fan. I am also fascinated to see how Mccown’s repeat hour (mixed in Stellick) 6-7 is doing head to head with live Watters.

While I was told before that the total audience for the fan was up and the time spent listening was down, I am now told that in total the inverse is true. It seems, I am told – and again I haven’t seen this, that the Fan, in this book had impressive listening time, the problem (if any) was in getting people to listen. That gels with my habits (see below). When I tune in, I am fairly loyal.

Here is my day listening radio habits:

I take my kids to school and am rarely in the car or listening to the radio before 8. So on my morning drive, which starts anywhere from 8 to 8:30 I am listening to music, 640, or Mike and Mike. At around 9:05, if I am still in the car, I flip over to Jeff Blair. That rarely lasts any later than 9:30-945. If Blair has something interesting going on when I leave, and I can, I may turn on the web-radio to listen in. Then, unless I see a prompt on twitter about a guest, which would prompt me to listen online I am done until I get back in the car to go home. This is generally between 5:45 and 7pm. I do look at the lineups before I get in the car to get an idea as to what I want to listen to. Based on the guests I am flipping between Mccown, Watters and if neither have appealing material John Tory.

Unless one of you or a MSMer sends me a note, I don’t listen to much more then that. On average I probably listen to about 6 segments on demand, in response to emails over the course of a week.

So when I see things like Dowbiggin wrote I am not surprised. Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available over the next couple of days.

Dowbiggin’s article is here

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December 9, 2010 10:50 pm

i start with oakley around 8am and continue into stafford until 12pm. i switch over to 590 for the rest of my day and on my 8 minute drive home i either have watters or mccown, whichever is not in commercials at the time.

i keep reading that people dont like brady, but i find him ok. i was really hoping watters would be a young host to contrast with him but that didnt happen, and it has kind of turned me off of his show.

i never bothered with 590 until the changes this past august. i really enjoyed the old leafs lunch with marek, but was looking for more sports talk during the daytime hours. so far the fan has my attention and im happy with what they are offering.

ps. enjoy your site.

December 10, 2010 8:20 am

I’m in that 25-54 demographic, and find Krystal absolutely unlistenable. I did enjoy Landry and Stellick, and used to listen to the Fan590 on my morning and evening commute.

Now, I’ll listen to McCown in the evening, and have resorted to podcasts for the morning commute. Puckdaddy Radio is actually quite good.

Krystal knows less, opines more, and just seems to me to be a throwback to the old days of “zany” radio. Don Kollins, I am not a fan of your work.

December 10, 2010 9:08 am

My observations are the following:

1. Krystal – I never listen. That doesn’t mean other people won’t. I never watched Jerry Springer either, but some people did. Understand people that post on these websites (myself included) have a little bit of radio snobbery to them, so if THEY don’t like it, that means it’ll be a ratings failure. It never works that way.

Do I think Krystal will last? No, I don’t. I think he’s ruffled feathers upstairs already and I’m quite sure Keith Pelley and Scott Moore will understand the need for humour and irreverence in a morning show, but you also have to have a guy who gets sports, who lives it, and who loves to watch games or travel to them. Krystal is none of those – it won’t last.

Blair’s numbers, whatever they are, very hard to judge. He’s finding his way. Some of you say he’d be better off with a co-host. Thanks, Einsteins! Most hosts would be. It’s possible The Fan opens up its wallet a bit more once things are established but am I ever as bored with Blair as I was with the dreary and awful voice and topics of Mike Hogan? Nope. This is an improvement.

HockeyCentral? Has its moments of irritation, but overall, a much more fun show to listen to with Brady, I’m sorry. MacLean stays much more on track with Brady and after the first couple weeks seemed awkward, how could they not be (Kollins fired their buddy and stuck Brady in there – awkward for all), it’s found a real good groove, and I like that they just talk, no guests unless they’re contributing something. Less Howard Berger on there is a good things also.

The best shows on The Fan, McCown & Brady tend not to use the old standbys like Berger, Jack Armstrong, Mike Wilner — that tells me they’ve got enough entertainment value on their own, not to rely on the same old played-out voices.

I don’t know anyone who listens to Watters anymore now that Brady is gone. I mean, no one. It’s sad Watters sounds like he does right now, and thank God they didn’t bring up a young and up-and-coming broadcaster to put up with his senility. He was a very entertaining broadcaster at his best, but I’m actually quite worried something’s really wrong with him. I’m completely serious.

Surely 640 sees though some “erosion” in McCown’s numbers. A 7.7? Seems low. But it is an “older” show. Having John Shannon reference Cab Calloway and Bill Haley & The Comets doesn’t help. 640 deserves credit for seeing McCown was and is now more vulnerable than ever if a solid, hipper, young sports show was up against it. They just bet on a horse in Watters that had no future. We’ll see what they do if Rogers/MLSE doesn’t happen and the Leafs’ rights stay at 640.

If so, don’t be surprised if 640 doesn’t poach back at the Fan as they did with Brady (though I doubt Brady leaves knowing mornings or afternoon drive is a possibility if he hangs tight).

TSM, I agree, I’d be curious on the 6pm hour. Can you get those numbers?

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
December 10, 2010 9:26 am

Do I think Krystal will last? No, I don’t. I think he’s ruffled feathers upstairs already and I’m quite sure Keith Pelley and Scott Moore will understand the need for humour and irreverence in a morning show, but you also have to have a guy who gets sports

this is an interesting thought that i hadn’t really considered before. Kollins is hired by someone higher up at Rogers, Kollins goes and gets Krystal and defends that move to his bosses at Rogers. But now those bosses have changed and the new boss may not have Kollins’ back since he’s not their hire, especially if Krystal’s numbers (9th!) are lousy.

is it possible that the changes at Rogers lead to further changes at the FAN?

Mike S
Mike S
December 10, 2010 10:42 am

Welcome back to Julian…………I always enjoy reading his comments on Toronto sports radio issues.

I could be wrong but I believe the 7.7 rating for McCown is for the male 18-34 category………….I assume his rating for the male 25-54 category would probably be higher than that.

I am not a Krystal fan at all so I don’t listen to him much……………even when he has a good guest on he ruins it with his interview “style”………..I have found myself listening a bit more to the Buffalo WGR 550 morning show.

Blair is decent but not great…………..Hockeycentral is better with Brady as opposed to Millard, who I never liked…………Brady’s show between 1:00-3:00 is a lot of fun

I still listen to Wilbur’s show quite a bit (I listen to the last two hours of McCown on podcast at night or on weekends)…………losing Brady was a huge blow so the show is not as entertaining as it was but it still gets pretty good guests like McKenzie, Ferraro, McGuire, Duff, Naylor, Dreger, etc……………their hockey discussions are still much better than PTS, which has Kypreos and Healy on each week and that’s about it

Raptors Devotee
Raptors Devotee
December 10, 2010 10:56 am

For me, I have Oakley and 640 on, although out of curiosity I tuned in to the FAN590 a couple of times when Roenick was co-hosting, and was actually impressed, not with Krystal, a total tool, but with Roenick. He is very frank, speaks his mind, which is no surprise as we have all followed him in his career, but he does it in an enjoyable and not abrasive way like Krystal does. Sadly, as long as he is paired with Krystal I can’t tune in too long before wanting to throw the radio against a wall.

I switch over to Blair when he is on, and I have to say, after a rough start, Blair is really on his game, and is far better than I expected, just based on how he hosted PTS. He does not need a co-host IMO, as he is doing just fine.

Brady I sm just so so about. Occasional tune-in but he just doesn’t do it for me. He has to stop challenging Bruce Arthur on Twitter though, as every time Arthur just destroys his arguments in a way that makes Brady come across as infantile. Now, Arthur is capable of doing that with his wit and knowledge against pretty much everyone, so if I was Brady, I would stay clear of him.

PTS is still the staple for me as long as BOF are not there. I hate the repeat hour but if I miss it earlier I guess I am O.K. with it, so it does serve some purpose. Still, I would rather have McCown back at 4-7 which works a lot better for me and most others out there.

TSM, thanks for the numbers update. It is much appreciated.

December 10, 2010 1:54 pm

Mike S – would say that it is nice to read all the posters here today! Zelcovich had an article on the ratings, so I quickly checked out TSM – am pleased to see some posters who have been absent.

Mike (in Boston) – I was thinking the same thing last week when I went to the Fan web-site last week. Krystal was no longer the face of the fan and was notably missing as the dominant presence on the landing page. Add JR to the mix and possibly there is some direction to rethink the master plan. No matter how you slice the numbers overall they are down with the exception of Hogan’s old slot where there is a marginal increase. Couple that with the huge increase in time allotted to commercial breaks and one has to wonder how this is translating to revenues. Yes it is a bleak time in the local sports team but can that explain away the decrease.

Raptors Devotee – the only point I differ with you regarding the listening pattern is Blair – while I tune in more than I was – I will only stay tuned in depending on topic/guest.

Regardless – it was great to read both article and posts today … thanks folks

Steve from Waterloo
Steve from Waterloo
December 10, 2010 2:39 pm

Blair’s learning curve is a bit like Harry Neal’s on CBC. Harry was not very good when he started, but game after game, year after year, I found him to be the best colour guy in the business.

I hear Blair once or twice a week, and listening to him this morning “I will damn well let you know when I am having a bad day, so stop asking me how I am” I thought about how much he has improved in the last couple of months.

Oh, the FAN590 has sports programming on from 6-9AM? My fingers simply will not let me push that dial in the AM anymore…

What station is Tory on?

Mike S
Mike S
December 10, 2010 2:47 pm

I agree with Cam……….I enjoy reading everyone’s comments…………the more the better, in my opinion………….the reason why I singled out Julian is because he has been a regular contributor but we haven’t heard from him lately.

I don’t think 590 has more commercials now…………..they just re-arranged their segments a bit…………..I find it easier to know when the commercials are now…………..every hour is the same…………..if you want to avoid the updates & commercials all you need to do is tune in at the following times:

– from 2 minutes after each hour to 16 minutes after each hour
– from 22 minutes after each hour to 36 minutes after each hour
– from 42 minutes after each hour to 56 minutes after each hour

Chris F.
Chris F.
December 10, 2010 5:12 pm

Krystal sucks, I don’t know how the younger demo can listen to him but oh well…Did anyone catch today’s show (12/10) where he annoyed the hell out of the business guy and wouldn’t even let the segment run smoothly. It was pretty disgraceful.

I’m also finding that Krystal’s “i’m smarter than you” attitude to be laughable. This week i’ve counted at least 3 times where he made or was going to make a point and the person he was talking to corrected him. That was damn good stuff.

I really like Blair. Yes, he started off rough but he’s gotten a lot better. I’d prefer more guests to callers but other than that he’s been doing a bang up job.

Brady is ok, tends to throw in pop culture/celebrity stuff a little too much for my tastes but when he sticks to sports he’s pretty good.

Bobcat is well the Gold Standard. ‘Nuff said!

I think Kollins and Krystal will be out of a job by mid 2011 or sooner as the direction of the station may grab the younger demo but it’s killing off the longtime listener. I do think the Morning Show needs to be a bit edgy but bring in a SPORTS guy not some shock jock. If only this market had the money and cache to bring in one of the national US talents i’d suggest that. Oh well…

December 13, 2010 12:44 pm

Here are my two cents on my listening habits during the day, when I am listening (typically 7 or 8 days / month when I drive to the GTA from London) in the car:

7 am – 8 am: Tucker & Taz on FM96, especially for their one sports-specific segment just after 7:30 am. “The Coach” Tim Cunningham (who I believe is based in Kingston as he used to be or is a coach of one of the Queen’s University (hockey??) teams) does an absolutely awesome job in a way-too-short segment. His sports IQ is awesome and he usually provides a unique opinion that is not heard on other stations.

He would be a great add to either the Fan or if TSN started a competing station, if he is willing to leave Kingston.

8 am – 9 am: I am usually on Q107 w/ Derringer and Maureen Holloway as I find them completely more entertaining than any other station. I have only listened to Krystal twice in the past couple of months. Once, I lucked out and caught him with Roenick…Based on the 20 minutes that I did hear, I think the Fan 590 has their new morning co-host in JR. He might even make Krystal listenable on a semi-regular basis if he travels to Toronto more often. I agree with previous comments that Krystal kills any potentially entertaining/informative guest segments with a gradeschool level interviewing style. I still think that Steve Kouleas would be a good replacement for Krystal, though the Fan would need to decide how “hockey-heavy” they want that slot to become if Kouleas is paired with JR. (I am trying to see the good and bad points of my various suggestions.)

Being from London, my personal bias is at play here but, I would love to hear Mike Stubbs from 1290 CJBK in London (currently in the 4-6 pm slot as well as the London Knights play-by-play announcer) take over from Krystal in the 6 to 9 am slot. I realize that this would likely cost the London market of an awesome afternoon host and hockey announcer. However, he does great work as the vacation fill-in at CJBK for the morning drive slot when their over-the-hill morning person is on vacation. Stubbs also deserves (should he desire to) the opportunity to be heard by 10x the radio audience than what he has through CJBK.

If anyone is driving on the 401 between 4 & 6 pm on weekdays, CJBK can usually picked up at, or just west of, Woodstock (there is about a 10 minute gap where Fan 590 becomes unlistenable due to static, and where 1290 comes into range).

After 9 am, if I am in my car, I will flip to 590 for Jeff Blair. I still miss Hogan for the football and CIS focus that he brought to the station. I also found some of his call-in segments (the 9 am hour, if I recall correctly) to be very interesting (i.e. the “your favourite sports memory/sports venue” type of segment). I will listen to Blair with guests, but will generally tune out if he has callers as I find he has way too many “what should the Leafs do” type segments, which get tedious…especially when you’re not a Leafs fan!

I will listen to Brady (including HockeyCentral now that Millard is gone!!) any time he is on air, whenever I am in the car. He seems to control Kypreos and MacLean well, while still generating enough useful/informative discussion. His 1-3 pm slot is entertaining with its humour and variety of topics. I enjoy his non-sports topics as they do not dominate an entire show.

PTS is still a must listen as McCown is indeed the gold standard, though I have found some inconsistency with his work lately, though in a non-specific way so I cannot really complain too much. I am like most in wanting PTS to go back to 4-7 pm, partly because when I am back in the London area after 6 pm, I am stuck listening to the 5-6 pm hour being re-broadcast on CJBK (who has always carried the last hour of PTS…so it used to be original material as the 6-7 hour was essentially simulcast.).

I have never really listened to 640. Sorry for the long post…hopefully some found it a little interesting.

December 13, 2010 8:59 pm

I listen to radio more on podcasts than anything else these days.

I download the Blair show, the Brady show and PTS. Then throughout the day, whether working, driving, cooking or running errands I’ll listen to whatever segments I find interesting. If you don’t mind the time delay its much more convenient.

As for the times when I actually listen over the radio (in the car) I tend to keep it on The Fan (except evenings and weekends, it seems like they stopped trying there). I also like listening to the Jim Richards Show on 1010 (would have been a better choice than Krystal), and CBC Radio 1.

I’m a big music guy, but I don’t bother with music over the radio anymore. I stick with my iPod for that.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x