Radio ratings game sounds like a good battle
And in this week’s extended episode of “Boston Sports Radio Showdown’’ . . .
Excuse the soap-opera style introduction, but it seems fitting given the plot twists and turns of the relentless and intriguing battle between WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub for Boston sports radio supremacy.
We reported in Tuesday’s editions of the Globe that The Sports Hub enjoyed a superb August in the
But that was only part of the story. Here are a few other leftover notes, details we learned over the course of the week, and even some mixed signals on interpreting the numbers in this market.
We’ll let you decide if any of this counts as a cliffhanger.
■Despite trailing The Sports Hub in all the three daytime programming windows, WEEI finished tied for second overall in the demographic with a 5.9 share, while the Sports Hub was tied for fourth (5.3).
Several readers asked how this could happen. Here’s how: WEEI was stronger at night, finishing in third from 7-midnight with a 7.4 share, while The Sports Hub was tied for sixth (4.8). And WEEI was considerably stronger on the weekends, finishing sixth on Saturday-Sunday 6 a.m.-midnight with a 6.8 share, while the Sports Hub was a distant 13th (2.8).
■WEEI defeated The Sports Hub in the 6-7 p.m. hour, which featured its revamped Red Sox pregame show if the team was at home. WEEI was second in the time slot with a 6.8 share, while The Sports Hub’s “The Baseball Reporters,’’ hosted by Tony Massarotti, was fourth (5.9).
■WEEI program director Jason Wolfe continues to insist that the share it receives in Boston from its Providence-based FM affiliate (103.7), should be combined with the Arbitron numbers of its flagship Boston station.
By that measure, in the men 25-54 demographic, WEEI would be first in morning drive (8.1 share), fourth from (10 a.m.-2 p.m., 5.3), second from 2-6 p.m. (7.0), first from 6-7 p.m. (7.7), and first from 7 p.m.-midnight (9.1).
While the practice makes sense on some level, there is also a dubious element to it. WEEI management has refused to combine the two numbers for the sake of bonuses in the past, and the typical response when personnel at other stations are asked about WEEI’s approach is one of incredulity.
“I honestly cannot believe they are still trying to do that,’’ said an executive at another Boston station, noting that it was relatively common for stations to combine shares on simulcast stations, but not one on a different frequency with different advertisers outside of the primary market.
Thomas Mocarsky, vice president of corporate communications and investor relations at Arbitron, called on “a client’s behalf’’ yesterday afternoon. Mocarsky said it is “uncommon, but not incorrect’’ for stations to combine the Arbitron numbers of two outlets into one in a single market, but emphasized that he hadn’t looked at WEEI’s specific situation.
■Arbitron announced Tuesday its ratings agreement with
The distance from Boston to Prague makes for unusual situation for NESN and The Sports Hub, the team’s television- and radio-rights holders.
NESN will send reporter Naoka Funayama with the team, along with a director and videographer. But Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley will not head overseas, instead calling the games while watching a video feed in NESN’s Watertown studios. It’s a tactic ESPN used for several World Cup telecasts in 2006. While it’s not ideal, it’s acceptable so long as the audience isn’t misled that the broadcasters are calling it live from the arena.
The Sports Hub’s Bruins broadcast team — play-by-play voice Dave Goucher and analyst Bob Beers — won’t call the exhibition games in Dublin (Oct. 2) or Liberec, Czech Republic (Oct. 5), but will be in the booth for the regular-season opener in Prague against the Phoenix Coyotes Oct. 9.
TBS announced Wednesday its broadcasting teams for its exclusive coverage of all four Division Series, as well as the American League Championship Series. Don Orsillo, NESN’s play-by-voice of the Red Sox, will be paired with Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez to call a first-round series to be determined. Orsillo, who has done fine work while raising his national profile during his previous three seasons contributing to TBS’s playoff coverage, was also paired with Martinez last year.
Also, Dennis Eckersley, always candid and insightful as a NESN studio analyst, will fill the same role for TBS, where he’ll team with Matt Winer, Cal Ripken Jr., and David Wells.