Seen & Heard – Spring Ratings Edition

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


I really want to talk about the NCAA as well as the Sterling on again – off again lawsuit but those will have to wait until next week. The ratings came out this week and TSM and I are pleased to bring them to you for dissection and analysis.


Radio Ratings


At long last we have an updated picture of how the Toronto sports radio competition is shaking out. Here are the ratings for MALES 25-54. This is the average of March, April, and May:


  • Brady & Walker: 8.5
  • Richards: 4.9


  • The Jeff Blair Show: 7.4
  • Macko & Cauz: 2.4


  • FAN 590 12-1pm (Hockey Central) : 7.6
  • TSN 1050 12-1pm (Leafs Lunch): 2.9


  • Tim & Sid: 7.6
  • TSN 1050 1-4pm (Hayes): 2.7


  • PTS: 7.9
  • TSN Drive with Dave Naylor: 2.0


  • FAN 590 7-11pm: 7.2
  • TSN 1050 7-11pm: 5.3


  • FAN 590 11-1am: 3.8
  • TSN 1050 11-1am: 3.9


Some quick takeaways:


1. The FAN is really strong throughout its entire line-up. All hosts are clearly holding their audiences and no show is struggling. One interesting thing to note is how little variation there is between the daytime shows. The top rated show (B&W) has an 8.5 while the lowest rated show (Blair) has a 7.4. I’m not sure what, if anything, follows from this, but I would have expected the gaps to be larger.


Notice also that PTS and Tim & Sid seem to command similar percentage of the audience, and that B&W are outperforming PTS in terms of share. As much heat as Don Kollins (if that is his real name) gets on this site, his bosses have to be happy with the overall strength of the station in the face of TSN’s entry into the market.


2. TSN 1050 cannot be happy with these numbers. They are getting thoroughly trounced in every daytime slot, except for the morning show. I imagine that when the radio station launched TSN believed that their TV name brand would spill over to the radio side and help eliminate the FAN’s lead. That has simply not happened.


3. TSN 1050 is building their audience but they have a lot of work ahead of them. The good news is that no show is a complete ratings flop that calls for immediate termination. The success of Mike Richards is hard to fathom but there it is. It’s a far cry from his laughable claim to have wiped out the FAN’s 22 year head-start, but he has a respectable number (the only one at TSN radio) and has been steadily growing. That reflects, in my opinion, the fact that the morning show has been the only stable slot since TSN 1050 launched.


It will be very interesting to see if stability in the other time slots leads to ratings rewards. I think the first 3 years are essentially a grace period for TSN, but that they need to show year over year growth going forward.


4. PTS has lost a lot of audience. This will not come as a surprise to most regular listeners. Bob has surrounded himself with people who bring out the worst in him, and until that changes then the quality of the show will continue to suffer.


The most surprising thing to me is that Naylor’s show hasn’t picked up more PTS deserters. It’s early still — his show is only 15 months old — and I expect that stability in that slot will lead to bigger shares in the future. People are stuck in their cars in ever increasing numbers and the average PTS show is not very engaging currently. Remember that Bob is well past the age of the coveted demographic. I think you’re seeing that reflected in his numbers, as well as in the success of Brady’s show since the younger Walker was brought in.


5. Both morning shows are benefitting from Leafs/Raptors radio rights. This is not surprising. A lot of people tune in to hear about last night’s results, and in many cases they will do that based on having caught the 1st period in the car on the way home. So both stations are getting a lot of “passive” audience share in the morning. Given the Bell/Rogers MLSE relationship, this will likely continue going forward. Rogers, though, will get a boost from increased Jays listenership over the summer. Bell will want to counter that in the long run, and I’m not sure the CFL is the answer.


6. If you had the 11pm to 1am slot in the pool, you win. Last week I asked which TSN show had the best chance of beating the FAN in a book. Does anyone know what happens on either station at those hours? Congratulations to someone at TSN for winning a ratings battle.




Tons of interesting stuff here. I’m not in the radio industry so my analysis may be way off. I welcome corrections in the comments or via email. I’m working on getting comments from Rob Gray of TSN radio, as well as comments from the incoming PD for TSN 1050. I will also continue to reach out to Don Kollins for comment.


Thanks for reading,

mike (in boston)

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