Was It The Celtics, Or The Red Sox, That Killed Felger and Mazz?

Michael Felger trashed the Celtics all spring, and he then lost the ratings book for his entire station.

Fact, not opinion.

Well, it IS a fact, in the same way that Mike Felger states “facts” about the Celtics, Patriots, or whatever team/athlete/coach is in his crosshairs at the moment.

A statement that may be factually true, but actually inaccurate when you look deeper into it.

What about the opening statement of this post? Yes, it’s true that Felger did trash the Celtics all spring, and that yes, his ratings went down during this time period, actually so much so that while the morning and mid-day shows at 98.5 won their time slots, Felger and Massarotti dipped so far as to tip the entire scales in WEEI’s favor for the spring book.

But was it Felger’s trashing of the Celtics that caused this dip, or something else?

Let’s look at the month of June, week by week.

Keep in mind, that with the ratings periods, week four of June ended on June 20th. Even though the ratings show Mon-Fri, in reality they’re Thursday to Wednesday in this case. The spring book began on Thursday, March 29th.

So the ratings “Month of June” is actually this:

Week 1   May 24 to May 30

Week 2   June May 31 – June 6

Week 3   June 7-13

Week 4   June 14-20

So here is the breakdown:

Men 25-54, Mon-Fri 3-7 pm.

Week One       Week Two      Week Three    Week Four
6.6                    8.4                      6.7                     6.6                        WEEI
5.7                    8.4                      7.4                     5.9                        98.5

Men 18-34, Mon-Fri, 3-7 pm.

Week One       Week Two     Week Three     Week Four
3.1                      3.6                      4.2                      4.4                     WEEI
7.9                     10.5                   10.7                   10.0                     98.5

Men 18-49, Mon-Fri, 3-7 pm.

Week One       Week Two   Week Three      Week Four
5.6                     7.0                     6.0                     5.7                       WEEI
5.9                     9.1                       8.5                    7.0                       98.5

So what do we see from these? It seems pretty clear that the younger audience was listening to Felger and Mazz. It’s not even close in the 18-34 demo.

We’ll concede the younger audience to 98.5 across the month. Let’s focus on 25-54 and why WEEI won this month, and this ratings period for the time slot of 3-7 pm.

WEEI won the month of June in the 25-54 demo 7.1 to 6.8.

You also see that in weeks 2 and 3 of that same demo, 98.5 tied and beat WEEI for the time period of May31st to June 13th. The Celtics/Heat series went on from May 28th to June 9th, and so Celtics discussion was at an all-time high during those two weeks.

But Felger and Mazz beat and tied The Big Show during the biggest two weeks of basketball talk. WEEI won the month by winning weeks one and four. So was Felger’s Celtics-bashing as big a turn-off as it might appear by looking at the entire month?

Did something different happen in weeks one and four?

Yes. Red Sox day games.

On May 28th, which was Memorial day, the Red Sox played a 1:35 game. Felger and Mazz were not on the air that day, but this still counts on their record. On June 15th, during week four, there was another Red Sox day game, against the Cubs, starting at 2:20 pm.

While that is only two days out of the month, it’s a trend that goes through the entire spring ratings book.

Nine times during the springs ratings book, WEEI had a Red Sox game on during the 3-7 pm time slot. Those games included the season opener (April 5th, 1:05pm), the home opener (April 13th, 2:05pm) and the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park (April 20th, 3:05pm). All big games.

Who is more likely to listen to a baseball game on the radio? Someone 18-34 or someone 25-54? Was the “old bastard” audience of 34-54 who listened to the Red Sox games on the radio enough to swing the ratings into WEEI’s favor?

I don’t have the week-by-weeks for April and May in front of me, but for the two months, the head-to-head ratings broke down like this:

The Big Show:

25-54: April 8.3, May 7.5
18-34: April 5.3, May 3.9
18-49: April 6.9, May 6.4

Felger and Mazz

25-54: April 7.5, May 6.6
18-34: April 10.0, May 7.9
18-49: April 8.0, May 6.9

Once again, 98.5 won with the younger crowd. The “old bastard” crowd saved WEEI. Or more accurately, having Red Sox day games scheduled which would appeal to the “older” crowd is what saved WEEI, and what ultimately, doomed 98.5.

Now, I’m sure that having Felger on the airwaves every afternoon just ripping the Celtics from limb to limb did not sit well with some listeners, and I’m sure a good number switched over to Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley during that time. I know I did.

But can we blame 98.5′s fall solely on Felger’s Celtics-bashing? Considering that his show beat the competition during the most intense period of basketball talk this spring, it seems prudent to at least consider other reasons for WEEI’s triumph.

This is in part, why having the broadcast rights to the Red Sox is such a valuable commodity for WEEI. Do they win this three-month ratings period without them? I have my doubts.

  • http://twitter.com/yees888 Stephen Yee

    The constant trashing that goes on felger & mazz is difficult to tank for 4 straight hours! If they don’t like what’s going on then propose solutions or alternatives.

  • jo

    I stopped listening to Felger when he started attacking Garnett’s manhood. He comes off as a punk. His need to add his politics into discussions like his attacks on Tim Thomas didn’t help either.

  • Winning_Again

    Thanks for the breakdown Bruce! You might have disproved my previous threads posting about how his Celtics bashing is solely responsible for ratings drop, good work!

  • Guestly

    Having the Red Sox day game broadcasts certainly helps WEEI, but I don’t think it was the largest factor in their latest ratings success. WEEI had the same number of day games during the spring book last year, yet 98.5 absolutely killed them in both the midday and afternoon ratings for the male 25-54 demo (9.7 vs. 3.8 from 10-2, 9.4 vs. 5.5 from 2-6). I’ve included a graph that was in the comments section of yesterday’s post that does a decent job demonstrating the drastic ratings shift from 2011 to 2012.

    Also, let’s not forget that most people were a lot more interested in the Red Sox last spring, especially after the team came out of the gate so slowly in 2012. And I think it’s also worth mentioning that 98.5 still had the Bruins playoffs to talk about through April. Judging by the increasing vitriol towards 98.5 on this board and others, I’m leaning toward the quality of the programming being more of a factor in the recent Arbitron numbers rather than just having Sox broadcast rights. It didn’t seem to help WEEI at all last year.

  • The_Pip

    Nice work taking Felger out while defending him. If anyone on either station was as talented and honest as you, we’d all benefit.

  • bsmfan

    If each show isn’t going all Nancy Grace with the PSU stuff, I assume this will make some topics today:

    Gordon Edes wrote something similar to what CHB wrote yesterday, but about 200dB less in volume.

    http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/8162350/boston-red-sox-manager-bobby-valentine-seems-encountering-problems-all-directions

  • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andy Dursin

    We’re going to be seeing more of this trend, especially if EEI ever develops a decent midday program that would provide a lead in to the Big Show — people are eventually going to get tired of Felger’s ranting. EVERYTHING sucks in his mind, everything: Red Sox ownership, Patriots management, everything to do with the Celtics, Bruins ownership, Tim Thomas, anyone who doesn’t agree with his own politics. The most hypocritical Felger becomes is when he starts ranting about Thomas and any athlete who throws their beliefs on others — but then spends the next few minutes preaching from his own pulpit!

    Personally I agree with some of the other posters here that it is impossible to listen to his show for 4 hours at a time. There’s nothing constructive — and over time it’s not going to wear well. Maybe this is the first tangible evidence of that happening…

  • Michael Gee

    Bruce, I AM old, but I don’t think age is why people would choose to listen to an actual sports event on the radio rather than two guys yakking about sports. I think it’s just good sense.

  • NutCracker

    I think Felger and Mazz killed Felger and Mazz. Not easy listening.

  • Ben

    Felger and Mazz with Beatle is the best show on radio. They give objective opinions with no agenda or ballwashing

  • G7on

    Felger is becoming what Ordway was 5 years ago when he was on the top of afternoon drive, arrogant, dismissive and rude. Ordway as toned it down and Holley keeps him accountable. Felger just uses the same old fall back topics and after a few years they have become old. Green Teamers, Texas Tough Guy, Hockey is the best blah blah blah…..Plus as an advertiser i would want the 25-34 age group becuase they have money to spend

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