Monday, October 12, 2015

Report: Sports WJZ-FM Finding Male-Dominated Target

Jeremy Conn, Scott Garceau at WJZ-FM (Baltimore Sun photo)
Almost entirely devoid of female voices, sports radio call-in shows are scoring — locally and nationally — in the coveted Nielsen ratings demographic of men between the ages of 25 and 54.

"That's the sweet spot," said Rick Scott, an Arizona-based sports radio consultant. "The successful stations are usually in the top five in that demographic."

Aided by being the Orioles' flagship station, CBS Radio WJZ 105.7 FM The Fan often found itself in the top five among men 25 to 54 this past summer — and was sometimes No. 1.

While sports talk shows can be unabashedly lowbrow and occasionally repetitive, analysts say their audiences tend to linger, sometimes as an extension of their allegiance to local teams, acocridng to a lengthy article by Jeff Barker in The Baltimore Sun.

In overall Nielsen ratings, CBS-owned WLIF-FM (adult contemporary), WERQ-FM (urban contemporary) and WPOC-FM (country) rank at the top for Baltimore listeners 6 and older, according to data released Sept. 30.

But in sports, 105.7 is "the Big Kahuna in Baltimore," said Dave Hughes, founder of, a website devoted to Washington and Baltimore media. "It's a very Baltimore-sounding station and they get great ratings."

The station ranks near the top of the Baltimore market in advertising revenue, Robert Philips, senior vice president and director of sales for CBS Radio nationally and its market manager for Baltimore, said in an email. The ranking could not be independently confirmed because the figures are private.

"I would say they are one of the top billers in the market, considering their ratings and their dominance in the male market," Hughes said.

Sports radio has grown in recent years as sports have become increasingly immersed in society. It is a medium with a wellspring of ready-made topics.

WJZ 105.7 FM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
"Talk radio allows for quick drama," Daniel T. Durbin, director of the University of Southern California's Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society, said in an email.

The best sports shows often "talk about a lot other than sports. They will talk popular culture," DCRTV's Hughes said.

Haynie will reference movies, TV shows or songs to engage the audience or illustrate points. On Washington's ESPN 980, host Tony Kornheiser invites media experts to talk politics for long stretches or review films.

"When you go beyond just sports and into culture — talk about movies, a great restaurant you were at, a concert — you are further cementing a connection you have with people," Keller said. "It's just fun talk."

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