A lot has changed since the last time we checked into the ratings of your favorite Philadelphia sports radio stations: SportsRadio 94.1 WIP has two entirely new shows (and added two former 97.5 The Fanatic hosts), Anthony Gargano lost two out of his three co-hosts and Josh Innes is now in Houston.
WIP appears to be the big winner in the 2017 spring ratings book, which uses ratings data gathered over a three month period (March 30 to June 21) to measure both a station and a show’s popularity. In the all-important Men 25-54 demographic, WIP finished third overall in the market, 2 full shares ahead of The Fanatic, which ended the period in 11th place.
But the biggest story to come out of the latest deep dive into sports talk numbers is the surprising ratings decline of Mike Missanelli, The Fanatic’s popular afternoon host.
Missanelli, who missed significant air time from January to March after undergoing major back surgery, saw his ratings share drop by more than 30 percent during the spring ratings book compared to the same time last year, according to Nielsen numbers obtained by Philly.com.
Missanelli’s ratings decline is noteworthy, considering the ratings period included big events such as the NFL Draft, the NBA Lottery, and the start of the Phillies’ season, though WIP airing baseball games in the afternoon certainly didn’t help him in April, when fans still cared enough to tune in.
Despite the drop, Missanelli’s third place finish still managed to top WIP’s afternoon replacements for Innes, Chris Carlin and Ike Reese, who ended the period in fourth place with a slightly higher rating share than the same time slot last year. In fact, despite closing the gap with Missanelli, it doesn’t appear Carlin and Reese benefited dramatically from The Fanatic host’s set back, though the pair have slowly but steadily gained ratings share every month since launching their show last November.
Meanwhile, WIP’s two other newcomers, Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie, managed to grow the station’s midday ratings share by 42 percent, finishing the spring book in fourth place, up from the ninth place finish posted by previous midday hosts Reese and Michael Barkann. The ratings of The Fanatic’s duo of Rob Ellis and Harry Mayes declined slightly compared to the same period last year, dropping them three sports to finish the timeslot in 11th place.
Then there is Angelo Cataldi, WIP’s perennial ratings powerhouse. The 66-year-old host actually managed to grow his morning show’s strong ratings share over last year by nearly 12 percent. Gargano, who once appeared to be Cataldi’s first serious ratings competition, dropped slightly in the ratings while managing to match last year’s fourth place finish.
Back in April, an upset Gargano was off the air several days after update anchor and co-host Maureen Williams was let go by the station. Prior to that, co-host Jon Marks decided to leave the station and joined WIP in February as the new evening host. There’s still no word if the Fanatic plans on naming a full-time replacement for Marks or a new co-host for Gargano. Eytan Shander has filled in many mornings alongside Gargano, as had NFL Network analyst and former Eagles lineman Brian Baldinger.
Change could also be coming to WIP’s morning show. Cataldi’s contract at the station is up at the end of the year, and he’s indicated on multiple occasions he’s considering walking away from the microphone for good this time.
Everybody calm down, please. I am not retiring before the end of 2017, if then. And Wing Bowl will never die. I promise.
— Angelo Cataldi (@AngeloCataldi) August 3, 2016
If he does walk away, WIP program director Spike Eskin will have a big decision to make on who best to fill Cataldi’s empty chair. It’s possible Eskin could be grooming Marks, who has morning experience, to replace Cataldi. Or maybe Eskin goes a completely different route and brings in someone from the outside, the way he did with Carlin, DeCamara and Ritchie.