In the winter Nielsen Audio ratings, 98.5 The Sports Hub ran away from the field once again, finishing first by an exponential margin in sports radio’s desired men 25-54 demographic and crushing longtime rival WEEI, which saw a huge decline from the fall.
The Sports Hub averaged a 19.4 share, finishing first in all day parts, nights, and weekends, from the period of Jan. 5-March 29. Classic rock station WZLX was a distant second this winter with a 7.5 share.
The Sports Hub’s winter share was nearly five times the share of fellow sports radio station WEEI, which finished tied for eighth with a 4.0.
That was a significant falloff for WEEI since the fall, when it finished second with a 9.0 share to the Sports Hub’s 19.6 share.
The winter period was WEEI’s first since shaking up its lineup with moves that took effect Jan. 3.
Those changes included pairing former afternoon drive host Christian Fauria in middays with Andy Gresh, moving previous midday cohost Rich Keefe to evenings, and parting ways with afternoon drive cohost Lou Merloni. (Merloni remains part of the station’s Red Sox broadcasts.)
WEEI also did not renew the contract of evening host Mike Mutnansky.
Additionally, Adam Jones (formerly of the Sports Hub) joined WEEI as an afternoon drive host (with Meghan Ottolini and Christian Arcand) beginning Jan. 30.
As for how it broke down over specific day parts:
▪ The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” rolled in morning drive with a 25.6 share. WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” was fifth with a 5.7.
▪ In middays, The Sports Hub’s “Zolak and Bertrand” dominated with a 20.7 share. WEEI’s “Gresh and Fauria” tied for seventh with a 3.1.
▪ The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Mazz” won in a rout in afternoon drive with a 19.8 share, while WEEI’s “Jones and Mego” tied for eighth with a 3.6.
▪ In the 6-11 p.m. window, The Sports Hub, which has Bruins and some Celtics broadcasts in that time frame and has rotated hosts when there are no games, got a 15.5 share. “The Rich Keefe Show” and WEEI’s evening programming was 14th with a 2.8.
Last winter, The Sports Hub took first with a 16.3 share. WEEI was seventh with a 4.4.