Nothing gets radio rivals into more of a lather than a good ratings squabble.
Late last week, WEEI 850 released detailed ratings for Arbitron's 3-month spring period(April 1-June 23) to both Boston newspapers(the Herald and the Globe) that showed market's first all-sports station keeping its lead over feisty newcomer Sports Hub 98.5. However, almost immediately, WEEI's numbers triggered a war of words with doubting FM-radio sports rival WBZ-FM.
Yesterday, the Herald's story quoted SportsHub's chief Mike Thomas who challenged WEEI's claim that they are the #1 station in 25-54 Male demographic because its Providence market FM sister station WEEI 103.7 was factored in the spring period totals. This morning, the Herald ran a counter-challenge from Entercom Boston's boss Julie Kahn who stated "We’ve got a whole separate business in Providence. The Providence signal spills over in many parts of the Boston market. We’re not trying to fool anyone.”
Who's right? Who's wrong? Doesn't matter. This is all about the Benjamins.
Aside from typical radio spin and hype being put out on both ends of this ratings argument, it's pretty clear that less than a year old Boston sports radio rivalry is already a pretty intense dog fight for the advertising dollars.
With the football season fast approaching, look for both stations to intensify the competition by increasing their advertising and marketing campaigns and perking up their programming. And they will be doing so at a time when advertising dollars are tighter than in years past.
Boston radio ad revenues declined 19% in 2009(BRW 3/19). It's expected to be better this year but still on the declining end.
BRW Notebook :
Debate time : Three months after its rival WRKO 680 hosted the first radio-only gubernatorial candidates debate back in June, WTKK 96.9 today announced its own hour-long debate between democratic incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick and his challengers - the Republican, Charlie Baker, and the independent, Tim Cahill. WTKK's debate will take place on Thursday September 16 during the last hour(9am-10am) of "Jim and Margery" morning show.
Rocking to satellite radio : Here's an interesting article on why satellite radio has become a major player.
Teflon Don : Three years after his career imploded over racially charged comments he made about the Rutgers women's basketball team, and more than two and a half years after his return to radio, Don Imus is still getting some traction. I-man who celebrated his 70th birthday last Friday no longer creates much controversy, but he continues to attract more serious, high-profile guests, from both the left and the right, than any other radio host according to NY Daily News. And, his syndication now includes 75 stations vs. 60 he had before being fired by CBS Radio. His show is heard on WTKK 96.9 from 5am to 7am weekdays.