Thursday, January 10, 2008

Above the Fold - A spin around the Detroit sports talk radio dial

If you are a Detroit sports junkie, like myself, you tend to listen to a ton of local sports talk radio. (I'm still saving my pennies towards a satellite radio) Which means you listen to both all-sports stations in town, WDFN and WKRK/WXYT. Both stations have been somewhat in flux, thanks to the massive economic downturn we are experiencing in the D.

There have been firings, such as the elimination of DFN's morning show, Jamie and Brady, and the not very amicable parting between KRK and Deminski and Doyle. Then the rehiring of 1/2 of DFN's morning show, Jamie Samuelson, now going solo.

There's also the scheduling of odd shows that don't fit a sports format, specifically KRK's unlistenable Motor City Mornings, which has a TMZ, Perez Hilton, lowest common denominator sensibility to it. Not exactly something that appeals to the 25-54 male demo, which I'll still a member of for quite some time.

Things are getting even more interesting in the competition between the 2 stations. A post on The Sports Inferno website reports that the Mike Valenti and Terry Foster beat the longtime kings of sports afternoon drive time, DFN's Stoney and Wojo, in the latest ratings book.

Not only did the beat S&W, they crushed them..

How bad was it.. how about this.. the AM to AM number.. SportsInferno almost beat S&W. That's right.. the side note station 1270am alone almost booked better numbers 3-7 (Men 18+) then DFN had in the same time slot.

But when you look at WXYT-FM vs WDFN, 3pm to 7pm, Men 25-54; It was Sports Inferno at just over 4.5 to Stoney & Wojo's under 4.0 And if you combine the listenership it was nearly a 7 to less then 4.

So wow.. basically Mike and Terry doubled S&W numbers!

That's an absolute stunner. S & W, and for that matter, DFN, have dominated the Detroit market for a decade. For years it's been Mike Stone and Bob Wojnowski, then everyone else, when it came to sports talk in the D. Have listeners tired of hearing the same old, same old on S & W? Or could the move to FM have more to do with the KRK ratings surge? All I can say is that yes, I am tired of the same old, same old on their show. When you've listened to them religiously for a decade, it's gotten to the where you can predict their whole damn show.

For that matter, I can't get DFN in till 8 am, and then lose the signal around 5, while I can tune in KRK loud and clear, 24/7. It's frustrating as Hell to be listening to DFN, and in the middle of a conversation I suddenly hear nothing but static. I don't want to be tethered to my PC to be able to hear a local radio station. (Sorry Diesel, it's the truth!) It's asinine, when you really think about it...

If they want to continue to compete in Detroit sports talk, Cheap Channel has to be contemplating the idea of moving DFN's format to FM. I'd love to be able to hear Matt Dery's Pistons post game, Baligian's hilarious, bile filed Lions post game, or even just the last hour of Stoney and Wojo. That's out of the question for me till the days get longer.

It appears there is going to be more even changes in local sports talk, as KRK/XYT will be under the direction of a new program director.

More change at 97.1 The Ticket , WXYT (1270 AM and 97.1 FM ), as Tom Bigby comes in to run things as operations manager, effective Monday. Bigby was program director at the legendary Philadelphia sports station WIP-AM from the '80s through 2004, and will definitely bring a sharp edge to the station. More recently, Bigby was operations manager at WYSP-FM, a CBS Free FM station in Philly. Dan Zampillo remains as WXYT program director.

I have one suggestion for Bigby. Ditch Motor City Mornings, ASAP. I don't mind the occasional foray away from sports, but I don't want a constant rehash of the latest Britney Spears breakdown, either. MCM is awful radio for a male oriented station, especially in comparison to Samuelson and Sean Baligian at DFN.

Still, you'd think with a new PD, one who was quite successful in another sports mad town, a few heads will roll at KRK. Who that might be, I'm in no position to guess. I'll defer to someone with more insider knowledge than I'll ever have when it comes to Detroit radio, former PD/host at both stations, and a Michigan ex-pat, Gregg Henson. 3G makes a few guesses as to what might go down...

1. The morning show is toast. Weather you like it or not, Bigby doesn't want a "lifestyle show" he would prefer to have a sports leaning show that discusses issues pertaining to MEN, not women as the current show is so adept to doing. I think he will give them some time but I expect him to take advantage of the 90 day "out clauses" in the morning show deals and send them packing at the soonest possible time.

2. Sadly, Gator is gone. It is well known that Bigby isn't a fan, too bad. I actually liked Gator on the air, I hope I am wrong. If Gator doesn't make the cut, I suspect karsch will be retained but paired with somebody with a little more edge and personality.

That's just scratching the surface. Henson goes on to make educated guesses as what might happen to the entire roster of KRK hosts. Considering the ratings news, maybe tweaking is all that is going to be needed.

For as much as I tend to rant about local sports talk, I'll admit I do enjoy quite a bit of it. Hey, when given the choice of listening to local sports talk, or a nationally broadcast know-nothing bag of douche like Colin Cowherd, the snoozerific Dan Patrick, the infuriatingly dull Mike and Mike, or the utterly lame and generic Sporting News or FOX radio networks?

Give me local sports talk every time.

1 comment:

  1. Big Al,

    I'm in Calgary and I get better reception than you for WDFN. How?,6095.html

    This has been a life-saver. If you need to listen earlier than you are allowed, that's the spot to go.. Of course you need to be around the ol' computer though.. Hope this helps!