Mandel’s Musings: WFAN’s Francesa Ratings Are Eroding; ESPN’s NYC Affiliate Shows Increases in Audience (AUDIO OF OPIE AND ANTHONY)

Published on: 5th September, 2013

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Francesa sleeping on air
Francesa recently fell asleep on-air while chatting with Sweeny Murti, Yankees beat reporter for the FAN  | read this item

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Mike Francesa, the veteran sports talk host of WFAN sports radio in New York City, did what he usually does this past August. He took the month off. Francesa, the highest-paid radio host in the country in the sports call-in business, may be slipping in his popularity, however, according to the most recent Arbitron ratings. His show, known as Mike’s On, is heard during drive time, from 1:00 PM to 6:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

The ratings for Francesa’s time segment in July, when he was on-air every day vs. August, when he was replaced by a number of other FAN on-air personnel were significantly lower. It appears there has been erosion in the King of Sports Radio’s audience, something that has been predicted for a long time but has never come to fruition.

Francesa’s July ratings were 2.9, or 1,528,300 listeners per day. The very next month, when Francesa was not heard on the FAN’s airwaves, the ratings rose significantly to 3.7, and an audience of 1,648,800 per day. These numbers have to have the suits at FAN and at parent company, CBS, concerned, especially since Francesa was recently awarded another five-year contract for over $5 million per year. The last year of the contract will take the rotund Francesa to his 64th birthday.

Francesa recently fell asleep on-air while chatting with Sweeny Murti, Yankees beat reporter for the FAN

Francesa recently fell asleep on-air while chatting with Sweeny Murti, Yankees beat reporter for the FAN

One of Francesa’s saving graces may well be the inability of WEPN, the ESPN radio affiliate in the New York market and the FAN’s only sports-talk competitor in the market, to put together competent programming to compete with Francesa and the FAN. The turnover in personnel at WEPN continues with frequency as they struggle to put together an on-air lineup listeners can get behind. So far, ESPN had failed in the New York market to make a dent in the FAN despite its tremendous resources and connections in the sports arena.

WEPN’s ratings for the July and August period only increased by 3/10 of one percent, from 1.4 and 922,700 listeners in July to 1.7 and 987,400 listeners in August. Management at the ESPN affiliate have to be hoping the increase portends a trend and not just a blip.

Stay tuned.

LISTEN TO OPIE AND ANTHONY HAVE FUN WITH FRANCESA BELOW:

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