Radio stations SportsRadio 94WIP and 97.5 The Fanatic are sealed in a extreme conflict for sports articulate supremacy. Photo Illustration | Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI around Getty Images
Reporter- Philadelphia Business Journal
(This is a second in a array of stories looking during a internal sports media industry, concomitant a Jan. 30 imitation cover story, Philly Sports Media Face Off.)
For a improved partial of dual decades 610 WIP-AM had cornered a marketplace on internal sports speak radio. With a assistance of a solid tide of former Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriters and maestro broadcasters, such as Bill Campbell and Howard Eskin, a hire was a solitary alighting mark for sports fans seeking evident news and information about their favorite teams.
And even with a appearance of sports websites and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, WIP was probably alone on a radio airwaves.
But 10 years ago, a visitor began to flesh in on WIP’s territory when Greater Media launched a opposition sports speak hire called The Fanatic 950AM, that goes by a call letters WPEN. In 2008, Fanatic module executive Matt Nahigian hired Mike Missanelli, dismissed by WIP after an purported earthy fight with a co-worker, to horde an afternoon drive-time module that has been a ratings success.
The following year, a hire became an ESPN associate and began to simulcast on 97.5FM. Two years after that, it landed radio promote rights to a Flyers and 76ers as WIP motionless to concentration on a relations with a Eagles and Phillies. Nahigian pronounced a pierce to FM has authorised a hire to double a promotion rates. WIP began simulcasting on 94.1FM in 2011 and observers contend both moves have resulted in a staggering change.
“Sports speak radio has done extensive swell by going from AM to FM,” said, Jeff Long, a former executive of corporate partnerships with a Philadelphia Eagles and now boss of Thornton-based sports attention consultant Pattison Sports Group. “They’re reaching such a larger, younger assembly and have a intensity to make many some-more money.”
FM is a place we ought to be
Nahigian pronounced too many younger listeners didn’t know The Fanatic existed when it was on AM.
“ Bottom line is that we wish to fish where a fish are,” Nahigian said. “ Becoming an ESPN associate and employing Mike were a dual large elements for a expansion of a station. From a radio business standpoint, a pierce to FM was outrageous and afterwards removing a Flyers and a Sixers.”
Nahigian admits a Flyers and Sixers are long-term investments, as both teams have not been really successful in new years. So ratings for their games are not high.
“Those teams are in transition though demeanour during what they’re building,” Nahigian said. “Advertisers don’t usually buy when things are going well. They wish to get in now when things are starting to rise.”
Marc Rayfield, boss of CBS Radio’s six-station Philadelphia operations, that includes WIP, pronounced a station’s government group have been forced to make some formidable decisions in new years.
“We had a Flyers given we became a sports format in 1987,” Rayfield said. “We done a tough preference to partial ways with a Flyers and Sixers a few years ago. We motionless that a Eagles and Phillies were some-more critical to a operations so we didn’t aggressively pursue a renewing rights agreements with a Flyers and Sixers. Similarly, we motionless it was some-more critical to a operations to keep Angelo (Cataldi) than Anthony Gargano, so we did not aggressively pursue resigning Anthony.”
Not usually offering radio
Both Rayfield and Nahigian contend they are offering some-more than sports speak radio. They are offered multi-purpose apps, websites with disdainful calm and special high clarification and online stations, like WIP’s 24/7 Phillies HD hire that was introduced a few years ago.
So where does a adversary mount now from a business perspective? Radio stations are customarily partial of privately-held companies and are not accurately stirring with financial data. But promotion rates and ratings do tell partial of a story.
Ray Mayo of Blue Bell media group MayoSeitz Media pronounced a dual stations are fighting over a same young, masculine assembly and any is doing utterly good during courtship that demographic.
According to ratings from Oct to Dec supposing by MayoSeitz, WIP and WPEN finished second and fourth respectively among Philadelphia area radio stations with group 18 to 49 years aged (93.3 WMMR was tops in that demographic).
Both stations attract a same forms of male-oriented advertisers — casinos, frame clubs, automobile dealers, personal damage lawyers and end travel.
Mayo pronounced when it comes to promotion rates, there are differences depending on what ad buyers call day tools — morning drive, midday, afternoon drive, evenings and weekends. Mayo pronounced both stations have their advantages.
“WIP has aloft rates though positively in a afternoon, Missanelli is winning a battle,” Mayo said. “He fundamentally booted [Howard] Eskin off a air.”
The rage of Missanelli
WIP uses a morning uncover with Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti as an anchor and tends to have aloft rates though he pronounced WPEN is winning a afternoon expostulate conflict with Missanelli.
WIP has been perplexing to find a right multiple in new years to fight Missanelli and revive a ratings and promotion prevalence during that time slot. It’s been transparent that a hire has been perplexing to captivate younger listeners that are some-more appealing to advertisers.
There has been extensive turnover in that time container over a past 3 years, starting in Sep 2011 when a hire transposed longtime afternoon horde Howard Eskin, and former Eagles linebacker Ike Reese with Anthony Gargano and maestro Glen Macnow. But a small some-more than dual years later, WIP transposed Macnow, 59, with a younger Rob Ellis. And in December, Gargano left a hire after being offering usually a one-year agreement extension. This week WIP announced that maestro talker Tony Bruno, who left The Fanatic in June, would be returning to a hire to join pretender Josh Innes as a new afternoon expostulate team.
Mayo pronounced changeover among hosts can harm a station’s advertising. For example, if Gargano moves to WPEN as has been rumored, he could move some constant advertisers with him and a new hosts competence have to assistance encourage new relations to replenish a mislaid revenue.
Gargano could be in line to start a internal morning uncover for 97.5. Currently a station, an ESPN affiliate, runs a nationally syndicated Mike and Mike uncover during a morning expostulate shift. Nahigian certified that a internal morning uncover was something a hire has discussed.
” we know this is a marketplace that likes to hear internal sports,” Nahigian said. ” We’d like to have a internal morning uncover though for now, Mike Mike is one of a many renouned shows nationally.”
Cataldi, who turns 64 subsequent month, usually distinguished 25 years with WIP and pronounced his many new three-year agreement could be his last. So WIP will have to make certain it is prepared to sufficient reinstate a biggest money-maker or risk losing both listeners and advertisers.
Leveraging Their Corporate Masters
Neither Rayfield nor Nahigian like to plead a approach foe between a dual stations. But infrequently it extends outward a radio airwaves. WIP hosts are frequently featured on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Michael Barkann is a horde for both CSN and WIP while WIP hosts Morganti, Ike Reese, Rhea Hughes and Ray Didinger are unchanging CSN contributors and CSN Eagles contributor Reuben Frank hosts semi-regular shifts on WIP.
The cross-marketing is really profitable for WIP and something Nahigian would like for his hire though that attribute has not materialized.
“I’m open to partner with anyone that creates clarity for a radio station,” he said. “We do a lot with Fox29’s morning show. Comcast we don’t do as many and that’s by their choice.”
WIP also taps into a connection with CBS, that Rayfield pronounced has helped with branding. He remarkable that Ellis and Reese are regulars on CBS3’s Eyewitness News and many of a hosts minister to CBS Radio 5 other internal stations.
“Being a partial of a nation’s series one radio network is important,” Rayfield said. “We can run WIP commercials during a AFC Championship and NCAA tournament.”
As an ESPN affiliate, WPEN has entrance to a talent from a series one sports media brand, as ESPN personalities are unchanging guest on a hire though Nahigian pronounced he simply tries to concentration internally rather than opposite a competition.
“Radio credit comes by a hosts,” Nahigian said. “We have been helped by a attribute with ESPN though a hosts are some-more important. That’s what we are selling. They are a ones who yield what listener panels always tell us they want, that is to be entertained and informed. So we don’t try and opposite module anyone in specific. We usually give a listeners what they want.”
Jeff Blumenthal covers banking, word and law.