Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition


by mike in boston – @mikeinboston – hatemailaccount / gmail / com


Game On


I reluctantly joined Twitter a few months back. The reason for doing so is that this is where many the good media stories originate. This week’s story is the PR battle over the most recent ratings book, which was released on Thursday. TSM and I are working on getting a complete picture, but some of the details have already leaked out here and elsewhere.


We have discussed the morning shows in this space recently. As I see it there are several camps:


  • those who miss Lang
  • those who prefer Walker
  • those who dislike Brady
  • those who dislike Richards


That covers the bulk of the comments, with very few people chiming in to say that they really like Brady or Richards. Well, from what I’ve been told the numbers for the spring shake out like this for males 25-54:


  • Brady & Walker – 8.5
  • Richards – 4.9


[Richards’ number has been edited to reflect new information]


This led to the following on Twitter




As you’ll see if you click on the tweets and read the threads, Richards’ comment prompted more of an outpouring from the listeners than Brady’s did, but both were met with polite congratulations on a job well done.


Here is where I will put my usual disclaimer: I don’t believe that the PPM sample sizes used to generate these ratings are large enough to yield statistically reliable data. Many people have told me things off the record about this, and there is no public disclosure of just how many people are wearing PPMs and how many of those are males 25-54 and how many of those listen to sports radio primarily. Absent that information, specialty radio ratings should be regarded with suspicion. PPMs are probably more reliable when it comes to music stations since more people listen to music radio than to talk radio, though a lot of that music is in dentist’s offices and elevators. That said, this is the best info we have, so we will have to make do.


Let’s start with the FAN’s morning show. The ratings are very very strong and show growth over the 6.3 that TSM reported back in December. Let’s also remember that the switch from diaries to PPM lifted all boats, so all numbers at the FAN will look huge relative to their books from before the use of PPM-based ratings. So that should provide some context for Brady’s proclamation of the best ratings ever for the morning show. Year over year, the addition of Walker seems to have provided a bump vs. the Lang era. It will be interesting to review this a year from now and see if that bump was novelty or sustainable growth.


Richards’ overall number is not impressive. Radio people can comment in more detail about what a 4.3 means in objective terms. But his improvement is hard to ignore. In 3 years he has managed to steadily build and, more impressively, keep an audience. I won’t rehash the reasons why I think Richard’s’ show belongs back in Calgary … in 1993.


Now, it’s pretty obvious that Richards’ performance falls short of virtually “wiping out a 22 year head start” by The FAN. I suspect that comment angered a few people at Rogers, and rightly so. That said, it will be interesting to see if and when any TSN Radio show overtakes its counterpart at the FAN. In Boston, where there was a similar upstart radio station taking on the established giant, it took 5 years for that to happen.


Question for you: which TSN show has the best chance of winning a ratings book vs. The Fan in the not too distant future? Which has the least?


Quick Hits


The story of Qatar’s corrupt world cup bid has exploded and now England and other countries are vying to have the award annulled and redone. FIFA claims to be investigating the corruption end of things, but there is good reason to believe that will as much a sham as the original process that led to Qatar getting the bid in the first place. If you care about the actual games, the always excellent Richard Deitsch has you covered.


The embarrassment that is Dan Snyder, owner of Washington’s NFL team, continues while pressure mounts to change the team’s name to something less racist, or perhaps even not racist at all. A lot has been written about this story but the linked piece does a nice job of breaking down some of the issues. I especially agree with the point that players have a huge role to play in bringing the needed change about, as NBA players did in the Sterling saga.


Dirk Hayhurst pens another enjoyable read, this time on baseball’s unwritten rules. He makes a compelling case for why it is time to turn the page. As with all Hayhurst pieces, it is as much about Dirk as it is about the story he is covering. He writes about interesting issues and as he grows as a columnist I hope he finds ways to talk to more people and be part of a conversation, rather than generalizing from his own case to what must therefore be true.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • The Star has Arthur almost exclusively on hockey so I have not been reading his column with the same regularity since he made the move. Hopefully they encourage him to branch out more and do some more original things.


  • Blundell was on a Bell station this week (how embarrassing for Steve Simmons). I’m not sure what that means for his future with the FAN but it seems plausible that if he had impressed them, then he wouldn’t be working for the competition. I’m sure he will land somewhere. I hope it is not in sports radio.


  • Several commenters complained that Naylor’s opening segment is a little too scripted and wooden. Having listened to a few more, I agree. I like the segment, but encourage Naylor to slow down a little and try to make it more conversational that professorial. The content is good.


  • We’re entering the summer season so we all better get used to the sweet sounds of Rojer Lajoie and Mike Hogan. My suggestion to both PDs would be to use the summer as a time to give new or underused people more of a sustained shot.


have a great weekend everyone,

thanks for reading and commenting

mike (in boston)

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