“Most Listened To” vs “Highest Rated”

The summer ratings are out, and once again, 98.5 defeated WEEI pretty soundly.

The morning show battle is interesting. Toucher and Rich (10.8) again came out on top, but Dennis and Callahan got a nice bump finishing second with a 7.2.

(Let’s get this out of the way – when I listen in the mornings, I find that I listen to D&C more often simply because, even though I find their personalities incredibly unlikable, their sports content is generally better than what is on Toucher and Rich. I do go back and forth though, as I suspect many do.)

John Dennis however, wants all to know that his program is the most listened to morning sports show in New England.

And on and on…

What Dennis is claiming here, of course, is that if you take all the WEEI affiliates across New England, plus their television audience on NESN, then more people in New England are listening/watching Dennis and Callahan than are Toucher and Rich.

I don’t have specific numbers on this claim, but I suspect that it is true. If you add them all up, they’re probably more than what Toucher and Rich get only in Boston.

The problem is, this is the argument that D&C used to bash Imus (or Stern) with back in the day. Imus had more outlets, and was thus getting a larger audience. D&C would attack that claim. Now, when it suits their argument, they’re using it for themselves.

The funny thing to me is, all those years when D&C were winning the morning ratings handily, we never heard about these other affiliates. They started to lose, and then all of a sudden there was an emphasis to include Providence in with the Boston numbers, and now, apparently they want to include Providence, NESN and all of their other affiliates across New England.

Seems like moving the goalposts to me. They can’t beat Toucher and Rich in Boston, so let’s make it all of New England, where we have stations, and they don’t. It becomes more about reach than about how they’re actually doing.

A few points on this argument:

  • If 98.5 were going against WEEI in all the areas that the latter has affiliates, does anyone think they’d lose there? 98.5 is not losing to WEEI anyplace they are competing.
  • It seems logical then, that since 98.5 is beating WEEI handily in places where they go head-to-head that they would beat them elsewhere, too.
  • Advertisers don’t care. Boston advertisers do not care that there is a WEEI affiliate in Keene NH, or Portland Me. They care about what the numbers are in Boston, and that is largely why the ratings numbers exist in the first place.

D&C were celebrating their new boss this morning, and that the handcuffs have been taken off, which presumably means a return to politics and current events (read: sex scandals) and less sports talk.

Whether it turns into ratings success remains to be seen. Otherwise, they will just have to remain happy with being the lower-rated-but-most-listened-to morning radio show in New England.

  • OpinionNotFact

    I don’t know that I’ve ever disliked radio personalities more than D and C. Even when things were going well for them, the show was a chore for anyone who didn’t want to listen to right wing propoganda and was under the age of 45 to listen to.
    But let em keep on keeping on. I listen to Toucher and Rich anyway. Not that they’re perfect, but I’m not upset or in a bad mood by the time I get to work.

  • TjM

    Yep. Bruce The little lights are not twinkling

  • Andy Dursin

    Mutt & Lou continuously sinking with each new book. Do they have salacious photos of other Entercom employees they’re holding onto that’s enabling them to keep the time slot?

  • DryHeave

    If this isn’t a clear cut case of, “thou doth protest too much” I don’t know what the hell is.

  • Winning_Again

    John Dennis reinforcing why people hate him and want WEEI to fail, even against the likes of F&M and others with contrived points on TSH.

  • HomerGreenz

    John Dennis: “Nobody is safe anymore.”

    I have nothing to add.

  • HomerGreenz

    “The Baseball Reporters” hosted by Tony Massarotti

    The Tony Mazz Daily Agenda Update Show starring Tony Mazz

  • JonB

    People can bitch and moan all they want about D&C, but it remains WEEI’s most popular and successful time slot by a significant margin. D&C will likely never come close to reaching their ratings peak again so long as T&R are around, but second place and a 7.2 share is still respectable and draws advertisers.

    I’d be much more concerned about the afternoon time slot, where Felger & Mazz now doubles Salk & Holley’s share, 10.9 vs. 5.4. Not sure there’s anything that can be done to reverse that trend unless you replace the two bores, Salk & Holley. Both have been total flops. Holley in particular has been exposed as a dud of a personality – not sure ESPN would take him at this point even if Michael Smith begged them.

    Most people say midday ratings don’t really matter, but Mut & Lou’s 3.8 share is so anemic that EEI almost has to make a move at that time slot, no? Would simply carrying a simulcast of ESPN national programming from 10-2 generate significantly less ratings? I doubt it.

    • bsmfan

      I get why people dislike D&C.

      However, they’re still putting up descent numbers, sans any “sox boost” against T&R. I agree that they’ll never go back to being #1 but here’s the question I keep wondering:

      Why change what they’re doing now?

      (I’m looking at this from the business side, not my personal preference)

      That includes the stuff Bruce brought up, people complain about, and “politics” (already said but worth repeating: alienate almost half your audience alone, if not more, given the political demographics in the area). Just why bother breaking up something still doing a 7.2 share?

      The one “question” I’d have here is.. lets see how long they “do well” if they go back to the frequency of political talk that they had before with legit competition. I don’t see that working. However, they’ve been out of the “lets make sure we spend an hour on politics”, like before, for over a year now.

      Unless a new guy has some major change in mind and D&C won’t agree to some salary reduction and future compensation tied to perf/bonuses, again, why bother changing something that works?

  • Rick W

    I agree that D&C are the “lesser of two evils” in the AM…….as long as they are talking sports. I’ve always disliked it when they’ve drifted into politics or pop culture……for some reason they have resurrected “Headlines”, which back in the day was my cue to change stations…..and still is. Unfortunately, when I switch to 98.5, they too are usually off topic. If either station presented a morning drive show that had hosts with sports competence that stuck to sports talk, they would kick some serious ass.

  • latetodinner

    If I were the new boss at WEEI and was looking for a relatively quick and inexpensive fix…I would bring back Ordway in the afternoon with the rotating band of experts…I would keep a very close oversight and make sure the rotating guests are high quality beat guys and not Butch Sterns/Larry Johnson types. If it means doing the show some days with just one guy that is better than forcing a second weak player on us poor listeners. Ordway has always been pretty good as a fence sitter…he is exposed when he has to opine. Let him moderate and ask questions…don’t let him become pompous, shout or self important and the show becomes a fairly good Sports Talk discussion show.

    I would replace Mutt and Lou with Bradford and Speier. I am not a huge Bradford fan but he is growing on me. This would give WEEI a high quality talk platform that is capable of exploring long form questions and would be a significantly better show that Gresh and Zo…atleast sports quality wise outside football.

    I would replace D&C with with Dale and Minihane….barring that I would consider bringing in someone from out of market to team with Minihane. The thing is there is room on the Boston dial for a sports centric morning show to counter program T&R and even D&C (who I would move to WRKO). I think Dale Arnold runs the best show in Boston…he gets in and out of callers better than anyone, he is aware of breaks and is a true professional. I know some people think he is too milquetoast but teaming him with Minhane gives that show a little edge.

    Lastly, I would give Mike Muttansky the planet Mikey show where he can develop into a better radio guy without the pressure. Muttansky is lousy in the day time show but I think he would be miles better than Mike Adams at night. I think WEEI is better off without the Celtics…I can’t believe Celtic radio broadcasts are more profitable than 4 hours of talk at least for the foreseeable future.

    • nufced

      I think you’re on the right track…WEEI over-reacted to the initial success of 98.5 and made pre-emptive changes rather than let the dust settle and the novelty of the new station wear off…bring back Ordway and the rotating menu of pertinent, qualified guest hosts. I would replace Mutt and Lou with Dale and Bradford, Dale is the most qualified hockey voice in Boston and with the Bruins on a roll and the Celtics in rebuilding he is a natural during the midday, not sure if he can carry the mornings. D & C are fine in the morning but move Minihane to the evenings, Lou can go back to the afternoons with Ordway and I suppose Mutt can do updates in the morning.

    • Trip McNeely

      I like a couple of those shows. I would keep Dale and Minihane and potentially give Mutt another shot at night as well. But I would have Glen do mid-days with Jack Edwards. People seem to forget that he worked at ESPN as a sportscenter anchor. He is more than capable of talking other sports. Plus his strength balances out Glen’s glaring weakness, hockey. And when Jack’s on the road during hockey season you bring in different voices for Glen to play off of. Last but not least, Curran and Bradford in afternoon drive. You can talk football and baseball year round with those two. Curran can be fun when he wants and Bradford can balance that out. They are both relatively young (especially in Boston sports scene) and have great reputations when it comes to reporting. Would be the complete polar opposite of F&M. Just my two cents.

    • bsmfan

      Already said I like Dale, but I think he’s best suited for specific things like Sunday 9-12. He’s the guy you want to have in that spot. But Dale daily? I’m not sure

      Also, the more pressing issue would be the schedule. He probably jets home around 11pm from the NESN studios if he’s not at TD. He’d have to be up at 3am to make it in for 4am at WEEI. I don’t think anyone could keep that up for an entire NHL season, no?

      • latetodinner

        Dale had a highly rated daily show for 25 years in this market. I am sure he could carry one again.

        The schedule would only be an issue on game nights and either they could have a sub or build him a home studio. It could be done.

    • Ryan

      I don’t know about taking Speier off the beat to do a daily show, but if they brought back Glenn to host a sort of panel show on the radio that could work.

  • bsmfan

    If you missed it yesterday, Fred Toucher started an interview with Rick Pitino that ended pretty badly.

    http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/10/03/toucher-rich-hang-up-on-rick-pitino-in-shortest-interview-ever/

    Long story short: Pitino had someone write a book for him on”leadership” as he won the NCAA tournament last year. He’s been doing the media rounds pitching the book. Fred asks him how he is and then tells him, jokingly, that he stinks for ruining the Celtics. Pitino hangs up immediately.

    Reaction around here was pretty mixed but the Louisville messageboards and forums were on-fire with angry people, many who tried calling into SportsHub to troll.

    • HighWireNickEsasky
    • latetodinner

      Nick, Fred did hang up…which is why the bit was funny.

      BSMfan, I am not sure what is better…thin skinned, arrogant, egotistical coach being abused by a local media hack who has no real “news” credentials…or thin skinned, local media hack looking like an idiot as he tries to defend what he did as “comedy”, “a 10 second bit in a career of 25 years” or “the bit that has received the strongest support ever…over 1000 calls of support”.

      We all hate Pitino so we don’t really care. The guy is beyond miserable and I just wish he would go away. The idea that he is writing self help books is hysterical. I wonder if the young woman from the restaurant who is once described as a “mistake” wants his self help advice? In any event, Fred has now made himself part of the story and when that happens it always ends well for the talent. I wonder when the publisher will make another author available to 98.5?

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