Toronto Sports Radio Ratings Deeper Dive

So, as promised I got some more numbers for you on the Toronto Sports radio scene.

Keep in mind the usual disclaimer that the hosts with the exception of Mccown didn’t really sit in their current seats the entire time.

18-34 Males:

Andrew Krystal 10.4 rating up from 1 year ago 6.8
Jeff Blair 10.0 rating up from 1 year ago 6.7
Hockey Central alone 11.9 rating up from 1 year ago 5.1
Hockey Central/Greg Brady total 10.7 rating up from 1 year ago 4.6
Bob Mccown PTS 5.9 rating up from 1 year ago 3.1

25-54 Males:

Andrew Krystal 5.1 rating down from a 6.2 1 year ago
Jeff Blair 4.6 rating up from 1 year ago 4.1
Hockey Central alone 5.3 rating down from 1 year ago 5.6
Hockey Central/Greg Brady total 5.2 rating down from 1 year ago 5.9
Bob Mccown PTS 7.7 rating down from 1 year ago 8.0

A couple of interesting tidbits:

1. many stations, according to my sources experienced a large increase in time spent listening to the station with a dramatic drop in the total number of listeners. This doesn’t gel with the last time we talked numbers. It used to be that a lot of people were flipping around, thus an increase in the total size of the audience but for a shorter amount of time. The fan, I am told had a very big increase in time spent listening, over 30%, however they lost a larger number in terms of actual audience size, somewhere in the 50-60k range I am told. I don’t have info on other stations, but I am told this was common industry wide.

2. In the month of October only, on nights when the Fan repeated an hour from Mccown’s Prime Time Sports they drew an 8.3 audience (in the 18-34 demo I believe) and on those nights in October where Gord Stellick was hosting the Blue and White Tonight the fan earned a massive 11.5 (again in the 18-34 demo I believe).

The Star’s Chris Zelkovich wrote about ratings in today’s paper and took an interestingly different angle than that of Bruce Dowbiggin:

“The FAN 590’s wholesale changes have failed to deliver a bigger audience.

In the first comprehensive ratings since the FAN axed a good portion of its on-air staff last spring, the all-sports radio station experienced an overall drop in its audience share to 5.1 from 5.9 among its target adult male audience.”

It’s funny, as a non Kyrstal listener I don’t find the numbers to be too discouraging at all for the Fan, a sentiment echoed by the stations PD Don Kollins:

“But program director Don Kollins says he’s not concerned about the ratings, which were calculated by BBM Canada from Aug. 30 to Nov. 28.

“If we didn’t make any changes and ratings stayed flat, I would have been disappointed,” said Kollins, noting that although audiences are down, listeners are spending more time with the station.

“There are fewer people, but they’re listening longer. That’s a great thing for the radio station.”

as for up the dial:

“Talk 640 program director Gord Harris said he was happy with his sports ratings. The Bill Watters Show jumped from a 2.6 in the summer to 3.3 in the fall, and ratings for Toronto Maple Leafs games were up 25 per cent in October.”

Kollins told me, for what it’s worth that he was very happy with the results, however he recognizes them for what they are, just one report. Harris confirmed his sentiment with me as well that the folks at 640 were very happy.

From my perspective the numbers are accurate of the way the Fan appears to be going. Krystal, while not a youngin himself draws a younger audience. a 10.4 at that hour is a damn good number. I am not surprised the older demo is so low, again I say that as a member of the demo. I’ve tried listening and stopped.

Blair is doing a great job mixing it up in the 9-12 slot. A 10 in the younger demo is quite amazing. An increase from Hogan’s 4.1 to a 4.6 is something to be proud of (even if it isn’t his entire work). It will be interesting to see if he can get the number up in the older demo and maintain the audience at the younger demo.

11.9 for hockey central is quite amazing. 5.3 with the younger demo is, not so much. As I have said before though (and it holds true with old books and current ones) it’s hard to listen while you are at the work.

Brady’s 10.7 younger demo number is impressive for the same reason Blair’s is, it’s just not a great time to be on the air. The 5.2 (down from 5.9) in the older demo has to be a concern but time will tell if Brady can properly display his non-hockey versatility.

There is nothing about Mccown that says young demo. It’s just an older person’s show. So growing it to a 5.9 from a 3.1 is a good sign. I can’t imagine what caused the slight drop from an 8 to a 7.7 in the core demographic.

I may get some more info in the coming days but this is as comprehensive as I think I am going to get.



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Aurora Barry
Aurora Barry
December 11, 2010 11:19 am

Blair is the story. He’s spot on.
I’m 60

Raptors Devotee
December 11, 2010 2:22 pm

I have no doubt that Blair will not only hold onto his audience in the older demographic, but even the younger demographic after having their brains fried by listening to Krystal, if they stay tuned in, will see how their brain cells can regenerate themselves by listening to Blair.

If they can somehow muster the strength to skip Krystal and go directly to Blair there is real hope for the younger generation yet.

December 11, 2010 2:50 pm

I wonder if Bobcat’s slight drop was a result of Shannon co-hosting for a prolonged period until Brunt came back…

December 11, 2010 8:26 pm

Very interesting. Thanks for the numbers, TSM!

Hm.. Interesting to see how well the new shows are doing with that young demo, but dipped with the slighly older crowd.

As I’ve said before, I don’t mind Krystal because he is at least entertaining. And I found Stellick and Landry to be far, far too boring for that slot. But his lack of sports knowledge really shows, and forces him to rely on acting like kind of a jerk. I wouldn’t mind seeing The Fan stick with him to see if he can make a go of it. But I also wouldn’t be too bothered if they replaced him. He should really be at 1010 or 640.

Everyone seems to agree that the Blair show has really improved and showed a lot of promise. As many said, he’s a little rough, but he has great insight. A big upgrade from Hogan I think. I really like it.

I thnk Brady is great. Knows sports very well. And I find his segways into popculture to be really enjoyable. The only thing for me is that his passions seem to be NHL and NFL, and I’m more of a MLB, NBA kind of guy. But that’s just me. He’s a great host, and I think he’ll do very well there.

I think it’s very telling that PTS has massively higher ratings when they don’t replay the 6 oclock hour. What a dumb idea that is! I’ve said it before – put Stellick there every night! Make it 6 to 8 or something and just preempt an hour when the Jays or Raps are on. Stellick deserves to be on The Fan is some capacity. He is a good host, just not right for mornings.

I’m shocked the Watters Show still gets even those ratings with Hayes in over Brady. They must benefit going up against that replay hour.

December 13, 2010 10:34 am

Thanks once again for this ratings info TSM, its always a treat.

Personally, I honestly cannot fathom for the life of me how any human being with a modicum of intelligence can listen to Andrew Krystal.

Its not just that he is offensive, i don’t mind that. Its that he is just plain stupid and boring. He has NEVER had a real ‘point’ or ‘argument’, and he isn’t even slightly amusing. Even when he gets a decent guest (rarer and rarer as they learn to hate him too) its rendered moot by his incessant interruptions.

Blair/Brady are both great, and especially since their “main sports” seem to compliment each other very well.

My only problem with the FAN is Krystal (although now the FAN only comes on at 9), and that I really wish Hockeycentral was still 2 hours. I feel ripped off with only 1.


I am 21 and from Cambridge, so haven’t exactly lived the same lifestyle that many in TO would. But all of my friends are just as into sports as me, and I am hard-pressed to find more than a couple that listen to the radio AT ALL.

Maybe this is a small-city thing, but most males 18-24 in the modern day are either going to get their sports info on the internet, tv, or mobile device.

I honestly am the exception, and this truly makes me question the viability of sports radio in the long-long-term.

Roy Green
December 13, 2010 3:53 pm

Anyone who thinks Blair is an improvement over Hogan – given the perspective – is nuts.

December 13, 2010 4:02 pm

Hogan is a much better broadcaster, but I think Blair has a more compelling show.

In the case of Hogan, I do think he is a good sports radio host, but I think his show became tired. It’s understandable. He had been doing it for what? 10 years? That’s an awfully long time for radio.

Like with Stellick, I’d be happy to hear Hogan in another capacity or time slot on The Fan if both parties would be interested.

December 13, 2010 4:03 pm

Still with Hogan – I can’t imagine why 640 didn’t go after him or Stellick to cohost with Bill Watters.

December 14, 2010 8:39 pm

I like Blair more than Hogan, this is a few times that I don’t really have a problem with former broadcaster as host, but it’s just that he’s been around so long that at times you just need a fresher voice on things. First few weeks he tried too much to be confrontational for the sake of it, but he is getting better and is more now much more in his comfort zone. He will never be the smoothest sounding guy on radio, but that’s okay, there is substance there. The only fault is a bit too pro-Jays but it’s not as bad as some others who follow there teams.

Brady to me is the MVP of the station, he really mixes serious sports issues with fun popculture stuff better than anybody I’ve seen. He does it really naturally and it never comes off IMO as somebody trying to be “wacky ” for the sake of it.

As for the morning show, the previous guys I was so apathetic towards it. Not a fan of Krystal either, so the morning show is a push.

December 14, 2010 9:32 pm

I agree with you FMT..

Except that this time last year, Blair was saying the Jays might be the worst team in baseball and painted a pretty bleak picture. I wouldn’t say he’s a Jays homer. I think he’s pretty objective. I think that if anyone on the station is a Jays homer it’s probably McCown, actually..

December 14, 2010 11:19 pm

Daniel I think if you were honest, you’d admit you are basing Bob being a Jays-homer off of the latest season alone. He among few others predicted the Jays having a ‘good’ season and even coming close to their win total.

He has brought it up a lot since though, so I can’t blame you. Pretty much through entire season up until, well, yesterday. Weekly at least. Rightly so I’d say.

I recall him being quite anti Jay in Ricciardi’s time especially.

Mike S
Mike S
December 15, 2010 12:59 am

McCown was definitely anti-Ricciardi but this past season was not the only one where he predicted a higher win total for the Jays than everyone else.

At the start of the 2009 season McCown predicted that they would get between 85 and 90 wins…………….he looked like a genius when they got off to a 27-14 start……………but they fell apart and finished with only 75 wins that season

January 25, 2011 5:32 pm

AK im no fan of and hockey central is awful now as well i do think hogans departure is a loss

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