Sunday, January 18, 2015
Live By the Ratings . . . .
Does the recent sports-talk radio ratings -- what do we call it? blip? slide? anomaly? outlier? trend? -- mean anything? I suppose if we knew the right word to use, we'd have our answer.
The improved Fan ratings probably do have something to do with its affiliation with the Cowboys. So we probably won't have our answer until a quarter or two's worth of ratings books come out and we can see what's up.
There are a couple of things I can say about this, having heard from a radio guy I trust on this subject:
-- Don't discount the loss of listeners to sports-talk generally. Some of the hit to The Ticket's ratings is almost certainly because people are turning to music, not other sports stations.
-- Ticket management is not discounting the recent ratings. "Concern" may be too strong a word, but my source does note -- and I think we can all hear this just listening to the station -- that the CTO are cracking down on time management and making sure that the hosts to to breaks on time. Even The Hardline, which only rarely shows any interest in the clock, seems to have gotten religion, at least temporarily. Even The Orphanage kept one eye on the clock yesterday.
-- The on-air talent is also not brushing this off. I heard from someone whose claim to have Ticket ties I tend to credit that there is an overall sense, perhaps not shared by all hosts, that there is a need to "step up their game." Have we not heard more from Mike R since these ratings books began to appear than we've heard from him in ages? (And isn't The Hardline somewhat better?)
-- There is no industry scuttlebutt about major changes at The Ticket in the foreseeable future. Any buttholding would have to be for something pretty marginal that hasn't escaped The Ticket bubble, at least as far as industry insider dirt is concerned.
Don't submit a comment that I'm Predicting The End of The Ticket, OK? Sure, after a couple decades and guys getting older and richer there will be some changes someday. I will suggest that if people get fed up with a show or a host and start wandering to other sportsy stations or returning to music, it's hard to get those lost listeners back by those same shows or hosts all of a sudden "stepping up their game" or taking their show responsibilities more seriously. Maybe the Cowboys being with The Fan have skewed matters -- but that's why stations want those franchises, to get people to move that dial, give them a try when they wouldn't have done so otherwise; maybe they'll stick around if they like what they hear or even just get used to the new voices.
I think The Musers should revive their campaign to have Cumulus spring for a billboard, maybe one of those electronic things that are popping up.
See you at TicketStock. Probably won't try to get a booth this year, but if the harvest is good maybe in the coming year I can put away some coin, get a booth in 2016, print up some T-shirts to sell, hire some redhead booth tunas, have some fun with The Confessors.