The ratings numbers for the November book (Oct 14th – Nov 10th) are out, and both 98.5 and WEEI are claiming victory, depending on how you look at the numbers.  

The numbers are actually very good for both stations, showing the interest level in Boston sports seems to be at an all-time high.

98.5 FM tied WZLX for number one in the overall ratings (25-to-54-year-old male listeners), pulling a 7.6. 

98.5’s Toucher and Rich were number one among the 25-54 male demo with a 9.4. WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan did an 8.9. However, the station insists that numbers from WEEI-FM in Providence be included. That station did a .8, which when added to the 8.9 gives D&C a 9.7 rating – topping Toucher and Rich. Whether you believe that the ratings should be compiled that way seems to depend on who you work for.

On Mid-days WEEI’s Dale and Holley did a 6.3 (7.4 with FM numbers included) topping Gresh and Zolak, who did a 6.0. That number pops out when you see that the duo did a 3.9 in the previous book.

For afternoon drive, Felger and Massarotti (8.5) topped The Big Show (6.6, 7.2 with FM numbers).

Evenings, 6-11 Mike Adams (and Celtics broadcasts) beat The DA Show (and Bruins broadcasts) 6.2 to 5.1.

No matter how the numbers are spun, one thing is clear, WEEI is facing its first serious challenge, and can’t do too much in the way of changes to regain their ratings dominance. The morning and afternoon drive shows are the most important ones, and they are getting beaten in both, more so especially in the afternoons. As Glenn Ordway would say, Here’s the problem: WEEI is locked in to huge contracts with John Dennis, Gerry Callahan and Ordway. They can’t really do much in the way of making changes. The NESN morning simulcasts were one effort, and I’ll confess to having switched over there briefly almost every morning. More needs to be done.

This is Jason Wolfe’s first serious challenge to WEEI, and it’s not going so well.

Tirico unfazed by double duty – Chad Finn’s media column has Mike Tirico calling Patriots/Jets on Monday night, and Celtics/Nuggets on Wednesday night. He also dives into the radio numbers.

Sports Hub scores big in radio ratings race – Jessica Heslam also reports on the numbers.

From The Childish To The Lame, Everyone’s Talking About The Patriots – In my SB Nation Media column I’m taking a sampling of Patriots talk from this week.

Wins all that count for Patriots defense – Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots defense only concerned with the final results.

Monday night can’t get here fast enough – Tedy Bruschi and Mike Reiss break down Monday night’s matchup.

Patriots defense catches Ryan’s eye – Monique Walker has Rex Ryan saying that the Patriots defense is better than it appears statistically.

Brady’s disdain for Jets remains – Glen Farley has the Patriots QB only making a slight attempt to hide his contempt for the Jets.

Darrelle Revis has several target options – Karen Guregian wonders who the Jets CB will cover with Randy Moss gone.

Pats will beat Jets … I guarantee it – Suddenly I’m very worried about the Patriots chances on Monday Night. Bill Burt has guaranteed a Patriots win.

Brady gets the import of Monday’s game – Tom E Curran has the Patriots QB understanding the significance of this game.

Santonio Holmes disses CB Devin McCourty – Rapoport’s notebook has the Jets WR confident that rookie Devin McCourty cannot hang with him. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has Stephen Neal headed to IR. The Projo Patriots Journal has more on Neal. The Gatehouse notebook from Glen Farley has Ryan admitting to stealing schemes from Belichick. The Sun Chronicle notebook from Mark Farinella has Tom Brady speaking of the rivalry.

Bruins too much for Tampa Bay, 8-1 – Joe Haggerty and Danny Picard report on the Bruins big win last night.

Return of Marc Savard is critical to Bruins’ hopes – Stephen Harris notes the importantance of Savard’s return to the lineup. Joe McDonald says that Savard’s return was just right.

Savard Returns, Krejci dominates and Tim Thomas contributes offensively – DJ Bean has the keys to the game last night.

Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron Thankful to Still Have Marco Sturm as Bruins Teammate – The trade of Marco Sturm to the Kings didn’t happen after all, and Douglas Flynn says that the Bruins are happy about it.

Club’s buzz seems light-years away – John Tomase says that the Red Sox need a Manny Ramirez-like buzz.

Red Sox have reason to their rhyme – Gordon Edes urges patience, insisting that there is a method to the team’s offseason madness.

Varitek, Red Sox a good fit – Mike Fine says that the return of Jason Varitek is good for both sides.

Why Doc Rivers is the perfect coach for the Celtics – Paul Flannery looks at the fit of Rivers and his team.

Efficiency becomes Paul Pierce’s game – Peter May looks at the evolution of Paul Pierce as a scorer.

Marquis Daniels: Standing tall – A Sherrod Blakely submits a feature on the Celtics reserve swingman.

Boxer’s life story a real knockout – Ron Borges says that Micky Ward’s life was made for the big screen.

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27 thoughts on “98.5 and WEEI Continue Ratings Wars

  1. Glad to see that the monolith that is WEEI is getting their lunch handed to them by someone, FINALLY. Toucher & Rich is more creative & fun than the tired political hackery from the two Grumpy Old Men on WEEI, and Felger & Mazz is so far superior to Ordway's cast of clowns … since they'll actually debate and ask tough questions.

    1. not saying the "Big Show" is great or anything but Felger & Mazz???…..YEECH! I'd rather listen to nails on a chalkboard

      1. I agree, Felger is an insipid ass. His contrarian shtick was old years ago. Not to mention, his lack of baseball and basketball knowledge is embarrasing.

          1. I'll take the "ballwasher"…..I watch sports for enjoyment. I don't need every interview to be some kind of "investigation" with "tough questions"…..afterall we are talking about grown men chasing balls here. it's not a senate hearing…

  2. Who is having a worse morning: WEEI with the news that their invincibility is in question (unless we add in the Providence market, of course) or the guy administering the sunscreen to the back of the goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning?

  3. I was a long time listener to WEEI but now find myself listening to 98.5 most of the time. I can't stomach Felger's whining for too long so I sometimes switch back to EEI but for the most part I'm now a Sports Hub guy. I could take Ordway in brief spurts if he had Merloni, McAdam, or Tom Curran but it's painful listening to Smerlas and DeOssie talk about sports not related to football. (I hate it when those 3 go off on their 'Martha Coakley's a Yankee fan' political tantrums.) Most of the young guys I work with can't stand Dennis and Callahan and listen to Toucher and Rich. I think it's only a matter of time before 98.5 takes over as the premier sports radio station in its market as EEI keeps losing listeners like me.

  4. I would be happy if WEEI continued serving the older listeners who don't mind mindless politics/liberal bashing/Mikey Adams schtick and the Sports Hub continued such noble experiments as discussing hockey, allowing Felger to pontificate at will, and allowing Adolfo Gonzalez to attempt to answer phones. It's not perfect, but it's okay by me.

  5. The ironic thing is after all those years of infighting between Ordway and Eddie Endelman back in the 90s, Ordway has become Edelman in the war with Felger. the big Show format is tired and outdated.

    I also think WEEI's arrogance is coming back to haunt them. After years of trying to force feed their audience Sox talk almost year long (how many people have complained about calling into the station to talk Pats in October and being told they are only talking Sox that day eventhough WEEI always adamently denied that), they have a real competitor that will talk all the local sports. And now that the Sox interest is waning and Patriots interest is at an all time high, they have to be the guy trying to keep up with the other station on the topic. WEEI has tried to sell the public that this is a Sox town (right to a certain extent) and that is why Sox talk dominated their station year round (and it had nothing to do with them being the Flagship Station of the Red Sox) that they are now caught in a quandry where the Pats are just as popular and people would rather talk Celtics and Bruins this time of the year than Sox.

    1. Because that would lead to having Gresh sing the URI fight song again like he did at 790. No one wants that.

  6. A couple of opinions:

    1) This is not a surprise. People had been begging for an alternative to WEEI for a long time before 98.5 came on the air. The problem was ESPN and 1510 had the coverage of a postage stamp. Only people who lived across the street from the stations could listen. 98.5 is a strong FM signal that goes as far north as Southern Maine. I am not sure how far south or west the signal goes. There are more ears that can listen.

    2) Does this mean that the program has become considerably better at 98.5? Not at all. In fact, 98.5 continues to prove Chad Finn's theory, unfortunately, that the majority of listeners of sports radio are as he called them the "lowest common denominator". People who actually like screaming and hollering to make a point. They do not like thoughtful conversation. Let's look at the weekday shows.

    D&C vs. T&R
    D&C – Two miserable, ugly, grouchy and tottering old fools who out of 20 hours of programming have about 45 minutes of worthwhile listening. Their interviews with Boomer Esiason, Tom Brady and Adam Schefter are the only possible reason to listen. Although, John Dennis does what he can to let everyone know how smart he thinks he is.

    T&R – Wacky FM DJ's with party horns and whoppie cushions who are just dreadful. They cannot interview and 95% of the time are not funny. They want to be Howard Stern but do not have a pinky's finger worth of talent. At least, for the most part, they are not miserable.

    Both shows have high ratings and both shows stink.

    D&H vs. G&Z
    D&H – Good talk, there is no screaming and hollering. Very well thought out, with the exception of Holley believing Brady was not going to play on Thanksgiving because he was named questionable against the Lions. If someone has a different opinion they do not shout them down. Really good.

    G&Z – I do not have a big problem with Zolak he does a pretty good job. The only issue is when that Chicken Fry song comes on, the radio immediately goes "click". The issue is with Gresh. When he replaced Tanguay I thought he could be minimally better but not much. In fact he is worse. He is just as big a blowhard and makes little sense but could be even more obnoxious. Yet they are only .3 percent from the much better D&H.

    F&M vs The Big Show
    F&M – The only good is that at least F&M do not interrupt or shout down callers. Maz has also not had as many YARM's lately as well. My guess is that Maz has gotten wind of how many times he says that. That being said, both guys continue to say just some of the dumbest things on radio. From Tim Tebow will make a great pro quarterback to not having a clue how NFL tiebreakers work. They are both numb but are really loud about it which the LCD loves.

    The Big Show – I guarantee you that upper management at Entercom bang their heads against walls asking the same question, "Why did we sign him?!" As his ratings dissipate, you would think he would change but it maybe worse. Everyone talks over each other, the host and Fred Smerlas are the worst. They try to bully caller's especially good ones. DeOssie is the worst. Some of the co-host are good like Merloni, Curran and Bradford but they get overwhelmed by the dreadful host and others like Smerlas, Buckley and Stearns. One more thing, Bruce mentioned a couple of weeks ago how Ordway has been trying to push Red Sox talk on the air. He is still doing it. A caller had a Celtics question. Ordway's response? The Red Sox must make a splash now that they have lost Martinez. HUH?

    D.A. vs. Planet Mikey
    D.A. – Terrific talk, sometimes he falls into the unnecessary Boston sports media negative Nancy talk for no real reason, but for the most part he has great show. He has good guests, he does not interrupt, even though he lets some people on a lot longer than they should. There is no screaming and the drops are a riot. But that does not seem to matter because…

    Planet Mikey – The LCD still thinks Mike Adams is a hoot. There maybe no worse host on the radio. He does not seem to have a clue about anything sports related. The show has become dreadful. What is funny is that if Adams left, either John Ryder and Lenny Megliola or Jerry Thornton would be ten times better but ratings do not lie. The LCD wins yet again.

    3) To Julie Khan and Jason Woife; no you cannot count Providence in your books because you never did before and only started to when 98.5 became a legitimate threat. Nice try though.

  7. 1. I kind of like Toucher & Rich in small doses.
    2. If I was a car dealer on the North Shore, I sure wouldn't let WEEI count its Providence ratings when I was buying an ad, and that, after all, is what the ratings are for.

  8. Anyone else think the Planet Mikey era is over?? Rather than putting him on air last night, they aired NFL football between two teams that 99% of their listeners couldn't give a rat's @ss about.

    Maybe it's a financial move if they can't pull in the ad revenue. But, he is almost never on between the Celts and week night football, and even when there's nothing conflicting Ryder does the whole show. Is ta-ta Mikey time??

  9. So has total number of listeners to EEI stayed constant and the sports radio pie has swollen or do they have fewer listeners today than 18-24 months ago (regardless of the amount of the pie)?

  10. Bruce, I'm glad to see you caught Givens on the Big Show. So far he has been very good. If Ordway had co-hosts like this he could actually get back some listeners. Although, of course, the show went in the gutter when it was announced that Jets safety Jim Leonard may have suffered a broken leg at practice today. Brett or Andy thought a Nelson from The Simpsons laugh was the right thing to do while Ordway gave a mocking "There's no need for that." Stay classy Glen.

    P.S. Givens seemed agitated with the drop. Good for him.

  11. EEI "can" do plenty, starting with dumping approximately half the co-hosts on the Big Show and getting rid of the inside jokes. Ordway isn't the problem it's the people he has on the show. It's tired and it's predictable and their analysis isn't actually analysis because it's repeated ad naseum regardless of what is actually taking place. Get rid of the inside jokes and get a tighter format and stick to it and you've got a better show. Pretty simple actually.

    1. I disagree. Ordway IS the problem. It's his show. He cuts everybody off, insults his callers, is not objective and whenever there is a decent conversation developing he'll interrupt (Wait! Wait! Hold on, Hold on!) and inject some kind of buffoonery. Yea, I also agree that his guests are bimbos i.e. Smerlas and DeOssie. One talks through his nose and the other talks through his arse – neither one offer intelligent debate. Very rarely do the 3 of them disagree on anything so there is never any stimulating dialouge. Ordway turns off a lot of listeners with his sarcasm and arrogance (and politics). Bottom line though is Jason Wolfe and Julie Kahn are at fault for not being in cinque with their audience and allowing their listeners to leave without doing anything different to counter the 98.5 insurgence.

  12. I don't get why WEEI can't use the FM ratings they are getting from people in the Boston market. It's not like they're trying to count all of the Providence numbers, just Boston people listening to the FM station. Also, I think people are thinking too hard about this. It's all about the signal. I listen to both, and I don't see what's different about either one. Well, actually I do, the Sports Hub is much clearer. If EEI doesn't make a switch to FM soon, they'll continue to lose the market.

  13. No need to listen to any of these shows. They are all terrible and just as bad as Keeping up with the Kardashians.

  14. WEEI on Friday demonstrated with Givens in the co-host role the audience has grown tired of Deossie and Smerlas. Thank God. . I will listen to BIG Show over F&M if they have good co-hosts. I really enjoy Borges, Nemie as co-hosts. Who exactly wants two days a week of Deossie and Smerlas? The careers of Deossie and Smerlas have been this regions greatest mystery. It's impossible to explain how DeOssie continues to get so much air time on variety of tv shows and WEEI.

  15. deossie has posit moments & smerlas can be grating on a steady basis … but 'EEI is still the man — 'BZ's compete has lit a welcome fire under 'EEI-butt !! did u hear about my SATs????? shalom !

  16. One of the biggest problems with 'EEI, that I have, is with the callers. They've got to do away with the "regulars", or restrict them. 'EEI has far too many: Steve from Fall River, Frank from Gloucester, Tony from Bridgewater, Angelo from Everett, Jack from Lynn, Ray from Lynn, Danny from Quincy, Dakota from Braiintree, and of course, The Man on the way up. Most of these weirdos always have the same story every time they call up. There are many others(the names escape me) especially on weekends. I've heard Steve from Fall River six or seven times in a weekend. I guess the weekend call screeners are all part-timers.

    Mustard and Johnson are two talentless knuckleheads, but as bad as they are. their show is an absolute trainwreck because of their callers. These "Yankee Talk" callers are so bad that they don't even call other shows. I'm still shocked that they brought this mess back after they had gotten rid of it.

  17. Wow, there's so much to say about the ratings war. However, I'll choose to focus on one observation, partially related to the Sports Hub. Listening to to each Patriots game on the radio, it's painfully obvious that Gil and Geno are speeding towards retirement. My biggest fear is that the next "voice" of the the Patriots will be Tanguay and Zolak. Talk about going from the penthouse to the outhouse! Gary Plastic & Zolak the village idiot. Seriously, do the sponsors on 890 actually request Zo to read their spots? Hey Zo, is it pronounced "Deal" or "Dell" ?? At least when you start talking, I can check the weather & traffic.
    As for "Truck Guy" Tanguay, I never thought it would be possible to surpass Butch Sterns as King Moron of the Boston sports scene….Congratulations Gary, you win!
    I can't wait until spring training when Zo starts sharing his baseball knowledge with us… Click

  18. It was only a matter of time before WEEI's house-of-cards came crashing down. I mean, Jason Wolfe's next good programming idea will be his FIRST. He's believed his own press-clippings – i.e. he is a wunderkind of programming – for far too long. Please… the clown presided over a station on the rise for so long solely because Boston is a sports-crazy town and there was NO competition. D&C? They haven't been remotely entertaining since they lost their comedic content – "Bobby from Chelmsford", "Nigel the Hooligan", "Michael Jackson", etc. – and opted to go the cut-rate Glenn Beck-wannabe route. Dale & Holley? The "best" of a bad lot. They're knowledgeable and treat their listeners well, but any time Dale is allowed to go on for too long… well, it is like LISTENING to paint dry. And "The Big Show with the Big O"? The "O" most definitely stands for "Odious"… "Overbearing"… "Overblown"… "Obnoxious"… "Offputting"… "Offensive"… "Orotund". Most days, tuning in to Ordway and Company is like listening to a looped recording of old sea-lions bellowing over one another. Apropos, given that the likes of Ordway's contract and show content have "beached" WEEI on the Boston radio shoals.

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