In the spring Nielsen Audio ratings, which mostly coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that affected listeners’ habits, 98.5 The Sports Hub routed sports radio competitor WEEI (93.7).
The Sports Hub (98.5 FM) finished first, earning an 11.5 overall share in the targeted men 25-54 demographic from the period of March 26-June 17. WEEI finished eighth with a 4.5 share.
WEEI’s number includes its online stream (0.2) and the share it gets from Providence-based WVEI (103.7) in the Boston market (0.2). Without that data included, flagship station WEEI 93.7 would have tied WGBH for eighth.
The Sports Hub’s online stream is included in its share.
In morning drive (6-10 a.m.), The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show was first (12.7). WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” was third (7.3, including 0.2 from WVEI and 0.2 from its stream).
In middays (10 a.m-2 p.m.), The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand” took first (13.8). WEEI’s “Dale and Keefe” was seventh (4.2, including 0.3 from WVEI and 0.3 from its stream).
In afternoon drive (2-6 p.m.), The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Massarotti” was first with a huge 16.9 share, nearly doubling up the second-place program, WZLX’s Chuck Nowlin-hosted show (8.7). WEEI’s “OMF” program, hosted by Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni, and Christian Fauria, was fifth (4.3, including 0.2 for WVEI and 0.2 for its stream).
In the 7 p.m.-midnight window, The Sports Hub, which airs “The Adam Jones Show'' weeknights and had Bruins and Celtics games before their seasons were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, was tied for third (6.4). WEEI, which primarily has the “Mut at Night'' program in that window and would have had Red Sox games had they not been postponed, was tied for 13th (2.9, 0.0 from WVEI and streaming).
Last spring, The Sports Hub had a 9.2 share, good for first place, while WEEI was fourth with a 5.4. In the previous three-month ratings stretch covering the winter, The Sports Hub earned an 11.9 share to WEEI’s 6.4.
Because of the effects of the pandemic on listenership — so much of a sports radio station’s audience comes from listeners in the car — Nielsen has advised potential advertisers not to make buying decisions on data from the COVID-19 period. The radio listening audience in Boston dropped approximately 40 percent in the spring compared to the previous six months.