Sunday, February 14, 2016

"The Fanatic" on FM is an early hit

That FM sports-talk switch clearly worked, according to November's Arbitron ratings.

"The Fanatic" on FM is an early hit


Philly's sports-talk soup is now at a full boil, if November's Arbitron ratings are an indication.

You'll recall how on Oct. 9, Greater Media's WPEN (also known as 950ESPN) began simulcasting most programming on 97.5 FM as "The Fanatic."

The 950-AM signal, which barely registered since its debut in 2005, got a nice, static-free, FM companion.

Sports-talk listeners enjoy comparing The Fanatic against perennial champ WIP (610) when it comes to content. 

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Which sports talk station do you prefer?

But it may be impossible to directly compare The Fanatic's Arbitron ratings against WIP's. The geek in me would love to have some objective comparison.

Logic would seem to dictate that you could add the audience shares of both the 950-AM signal and the 97.5-FM signal and roll them into one number. If someone is listening to Mike Missanelli on AM or FM, why should that matter?

Arbitron told me today that unless the two stations are a true, round-the-clock simulcast, their shares cannot be combined, even for a specific show. These two stations run the same programming from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, except for the 10 o'clock hour, and Villanova games air on the AM side.

So no dice.

We have to move on and return to bickering over content.

The November ratings were great for both WIP and The Fanatic, and both stations have the Phillies' World Series run to thank for it.

In the demographic of men ages 25 to 54, WIP was No.1 with 9.3 percent of the audience, its best showing in at least a year. Each show was up over the previous month's. And though people love to bust on afternooner Howard Eskin, his show has been rising since the beginning of the year.

The Fanatic's FM station was 10th, and the AM station was 22d.

The AM/FM seems to be working. Take September, the last full ratings period that 950-AM was by itself. The share of male listeners ages 25-54 was a 3. In November, the share on just the FM signal was a 4.5. The station's top-rated personality, Mike Missanelli, went from a 6.6 in September on AM to a 7.6 on just the FM station. Missanelli edged out Eskin among men 25-54 and beat him soundly among the younger male demographics.

(This is an attempt to correct my earlier post, in which I combined the two Fanatic stations' audience shares.)

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Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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