After one year, Sports Hub brings the heat on 'EEI
WEEI/Sports Radio 850, was the first all-sports station in Boston and has dominated all newcomers/pretenders since then, first on 890(1995), then on 1510(2001) and then again on 890(2001).
But, finally, WEEI is facing a serious challenge as WBZ 98.5/the Sports Hub, has significantly closed the gap between the two all-sports stations in the past tweleve months.
So, who's winning the battle after Sports Hub's first year on the air? According to July ratings(June 24-July 21) released today, the sports originator WEEI 850 is somewhat comfortably ahead of WBZ 98.5 in the overall listeners ages 6 and over. WEEI's share of listeners declided, dropping from 4.5(in June) to 3.8. Red Sox' collapse on the field is a huge factor behind WEEI's July dip as the station dropped to 11th place while WBZ 98.5 was in 17th with 2.1(down from 2.2). WEEI averaged 497,000 weekly listeners to WBZ's 397,000. However, WBZ 98.5 scored some major victories in both drivetime commute dayparts among its target male demographics. "Toucher and Rich" on 98.5 won the 18-49 male listeners demographic over "Dennis and Callahan" on 850. And, "Felger and Massaroti" bested the "Big Show" in both key male demos - 18-49 and 25-54.
While WEEI and WBZ battle it out, the biggest winner in all of this is Boston sports radio listeners. There are now two very different sports radio alternatives/products/styles in this market. And that's a good thing.
BRW Notebook :
Say "Cheese" : Yes, hard to believe but WBCN 104.1 has been gone a full year now. But you won't find any tears being shed at CBS Radio's local and corporate offices these days. Actually, it's nothing but smiles. In the last ratings period of its life, WBCN scored a 2.8 share ranking 17th place in the male 25-54 category. The Sports Hub placed 7th with a 4.8 audience share a year later. If you're not a math whiz, it's a whopping 71% increase.
Identity crisis : Earlier this week, the Globe ran a pretty balanced piece on the SportsHub's first year on the air and its impact on the change in Boston sports radio landacape. The next day, the paper printed a correction for referring to Boston listeners who tuned in to WEEI's shows via the Providence FM station 103.7 as "Providence listeners". The next day a sarcastic shot from WEEI's programmer who mocked the Globe.(Ed. Note : What do you call a Providence listener listening to Boston's WEEI 850? )
Lunch by the River : WXRV 92.5/The River which just celebrated its 15th anniversary(Aug.1) is bringing David Gray to the Bridge Sound & Stage in Cambridge for an exclusive performance for River listeners on Wednesday August 18th with lunch provided by The Upper Crust Pizzeria. David Gray will perform live for a handful of listeners from noon to 2pm, as well as extend an autograph/picture session with all attendees. David Gray is currently touring with Ray Lamontagne and is playing the Bank of America Pavilion Tuesday(8/17) and Wednesday(8/18). All details regarding winning tickets to this exclusive concert can be found at www.TheRiverBoston.com