Sports talk radio war rages

May 8, 2009
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dakichThe battle for sports talk radio supremacy in central Indiana rages on—and is delivering some unlikely results. The biggest winner in 2009’s first quarter radio ratings is basketball coach turned on-air personality Dan Dakich.

More than a few listeners scoffed last October when Emmis Communications officials replaced national talk show host Colin Cowherd with Dakich, who was a communications major in college but had no previous radio experience. But the former Indiana and Bowling Green coach has flourished at the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. time slot.

Dakich earned a 2.9 rating for men 25 to 54, which is a key demographic for sports talk radio. That means Dakich is attracting 2.9 percent of the radio listening audience in that demographic set in this market at the time. That’s a solid rating for niche programming. Even more impressive, Dakich scored a 3.4 rating for all men 18 years old and older. That’s up from his first quarter on the air, when he registered a 2.5 rating. Ratings are tabulated by New York-based Aribitron Inc.

Dakich has the good fortune of following ESPN’s popular nationally syndicated Mike and Mike show, which also airs on WFNI. But he also goes up against nationally syndicated Dan Patrick and Jim Rome, whose shows are on WFNI’s chief rival, WNDE-AM 1260. Dakich’s ratings are outpacing WNDE’s during his time slot.

During the important afternoon drive slot (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) Clear Channel-owned WNDE, which has been doing sports talk for well over a decade, maintains an advantage over WFNI. The Drive with JMV hosted by John Michael Vincent still sits atop the ratings heap, scoring a 3.9 with men 25 to 54 and 3.1 with men 18 plus.

WFNI, whose afternoon drive show is anchored by Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz and former Reebok executive Eddie White registered a 2.6 with men 25 to 54 and a 2.5 with men 18 plus. Perhaps most encouraging for WFNI, the Kravitz and Eddie Show has seen its ratings increase among key demographics almost every quarter, moving up from its 1.7 rating in the spring, 2008 quarter.

WXLW-AM 950 is a distant third in the sports talk war, and its efforts won’t be helped by the defection by on-air personality Greg Rakestraw, whose last WXLW show will be today. Rakestraw, who is largely the face of the station, has hosted WXLW’s afternoon drive show since 2002.
  • I was doubtful about Dakich hosting a show, but he's turned out to be much better than I thought. Plus, it's nice to hear someone talking about local sports in the midday. I find it interesting that the local allegiances shift stations in the drive time...

    I appreciate the IBJ staying on top of this story.
  • Dakich was a good call. I did not agree with replacing Cowherd, but moving Cowherd to the afternoon in place of Tirico fixed that. Kravitz and Eddie are mixed bag. Strong on booking interviews, still poor at execution. Eddie seems drunk on air much of the time. I respect Kravitz (though I disagree with him many times and will not pay to read his columns) but he needs an upgrade in the #1 chair. JMV is solid - but the whole schtick/routine with him is getting tired....but not as tired as Eddie. Let Eddie and MG fool around at 10.

    If WFNI wants to clean house - move Dakich to the afternoon slot with Kravitz on color. Sprinkle Boyle in for good flavor.
  • I wonder why WFNI won't get the hint that we're a local market. Hence Dackich doing so well. That's why JMV does so well...he has a terrific show that's the perfect blend of mostly local topics with good national news mixed in.

    Oh yeah, there's that minor detail of JMV being a terrific personality that isn't annoying by trying to hard, aka Kravitz and especially Eddie White. JMV is a guy you'd like to have a beer with, Eddie White is a guy you'd like to throw a beer on. I had to stop listening because if I heard him refer to one more guest as dog I was going to pull a Sonny Bono and drive into the nearest tree.

    I find it somewhat troubling that they didn't make the correlation in this article that the reason the terrible Kravitz and Eddie show is rising is due to them following Dackich. It certainly isn't because they have a better product, especially compared to JMV.
  • In response to Kevin - I don't think Kravitz and Eddie follow Dakich. Dakich is on 10-1 and Kravitz & Eddie 3-6 which may be why no correlation was made in the blog post. If you mean follow as in they are on two hours after Dakich then okay but I don't think that is why their ratings are increasing. Also the post says ratings have increased every quarter for Kravitz & Eddie and some of those quarters of rising ratings were before Dakich was even on air. And it is Dakich not Dackich BTW.
  •'re right. If forgot about the terrible Tirico show that's on for a couple hours. And it's just somewhat shocking that those 2 (Kravitz and Eddie) are increasing' but at a miniscule amount and they are NOT increasing in comparison to what JMV is pulling.

    Since it's May...that's like being the crew chief for a 500 team that is feeling good about themselves because their lap times are increasing by a half-second each lap but the leader is getting faster by a full sec per lap. Sure, you may be doing better' but you're still getting it handed to you in comparison to the competition.

    That also doesn't bring up the point that WFNI is a legacy station with 50,000 watts and WNDE has a pea-shooter of a signal that isn't even picked up on the West Side of Indy half the time. Yet, despite that handicap, JMV is literally beating Kravitz and Eddie's backside like a drum and it hasn't gotten any better for WFNI in the year and half those two clowns have been on the air.

    It's pretty simple, really...and that's that JMV has a far superior product and the numbers point that out.
  • Put my vote in for Eddie. I almost never listen to JMV anymore. Of course I am close to the top of the advertiser age bracket, so soon I will not count at all.
  • Dakich is better then I imagined and when Mark Boyle is on it's even better. He and Boyle have a rapport that Mike and Mike took years to build. I think when they are together they are very entertaining and Dakich is pretty good himself.
  • Way to go Dakich! Always good to see a fellow 59er succeed.

    I struggle equally with JMV & Eddie White. So I've abandoned them both and listen to Boers & Bernstein on 670AM out of Chicago.

    Sorry to see Rakestraw go, he is a class guy, but there is no way this town was going to support three all sports stations. Anyone know where he is headed?
  • Here is the deal...This whole blog was co-written by the program director over at WIBC and WFNI, Kent Sterling. How would Schoettle know that there were rumblings about taking Cowherd off to put Dakich on? The line of which has been doing sports talk for well over a decade is straight from the Kent Sterling blogs. In addition to that, the last line of the paragraph that starts with During the important afternoon drive slot..... was originally a statement to the affect that JMV still has more listeners than Dakich. Why was this removed? Was it because the last time Schoettle did this little blog on the radio wars and stated the facts about JMV winning, he was ostersized from WFNI and Kravitz and Eddie. He is now back in their good graces and is regularly on 1070. I wonder how this previous situation jaded his current blog. Kent Sterling is such a slug...that station is losing money left and right...this is the IBJ, how about some specific financials on 1070 WFNI. You can't make a profit paying your on air guys $100K while you only charge $8 for a commercial. There isn't even enough commercial air time to make that up when you roll in actual operating costs. The IBJ has become a schill for Emmis and their stations...Anthony Schoettle has no credibility concerning this topic and anybody reading it should know the full story behind this piece, not just what the program director of WFNI wants us to know. Can Anthony Schoettle actually provide us with these numbers that he is saying as the ratings? I am sure we would all like to make our own opinions concerning the ratings.
  • First, I will answer Joe's simple question. Rakestraw will become vice president of programming and content for HomeTown Sports. Second, to address Thomas Wilson. Let me start by saying yikes! Let me take your assertions one at a time. I wrote this story all by myself, just as I've been doing as a professional journalist for 20 years. I've never read Sterling's blog. Never. No offense, Kent, I have enough difficulty keeping up with my own blog and email accounts. Well, my records show that WNDE has been doing sports talk since at least 1994. That's more than 10 years, right. Well, seems like a pretty simple statement of fact, made by two people, and probably a lot more. The sentence including the phrase during the important afternoon drive slot was removed after I received an email from Amos Brown pointing out to me (and he provided me with lots and lots of Arbitron data to back it up) that shows that several daytime slots get better ratings than the p.m. drive slot. By the way, Amos Brown works for Radio One. He doesn't have a horse in this particular race. So, I admitted my mistake and took out the reference. Case closed. I think everyone in radio and who listens to radio understand JMV's audience draw. Good grief, even Emmis exec. Tom Severino went on about what a talent JMV was in the last IBJ article I wrote about this topic. Severino also discussed WFNI financials in that same article. Drop by the IBJ office, and we'd be happy to sell you the back issue. As for my appearances on the radio, this is how that works. A station calls me, and if I have time and feel I have adequate expertise to speak on the subject, I do so at no charge to the station. Even a roob like me knows that's good PR for my employer, IBJ Corp. If JMV called, or any other non-Emmis station, I'd be happy to accomodate. Heck, I might even drive up to Sullivan's this afternoon if John called. As for the rest of what you said, Thomas, I say: Double yikes!!! You really hurt my feelings. Anyway, Thanks for reading.
  • JMV is hands down better than Kravitz and Eddie....period. I have listened to sports talk radio in Indy for long time now, since the MPOS days when WNDE was the ESPN affiliate...I've heard them all..Rakestraw was competent, Mark Patrick was a self-absorbed dufus who laughed at all his own jokes, and JMV is the most talented by far. This article did gloss over the fact that JMV's show beating Kravitz and Eddie is like Milan beating Muncie Central repeatedly, but the simple fact is a station with 50,000 watts should be getting beat by a station with 5,000 watts unless the talent is that much worse. I know WNDE has been doing this longer, but that's not enough of a reason. The real reason is that K&E are horrible. They step all over each other on the air, the play kiss butt to their guests and it's painfully obvious, and they don't provide hard hitting commentary like JMV does. The listeners in this town get that. A Corvette with no wheels won't beat a Toyota Corolla in a drag race.....
  • all Kent Sterling references are correct. The Severino part is crap as well. 1070 called JMV for the show Dakich has. JMV told them to get lost because 1) he wouldn't work for Sterling and 2) Sterling wanted JMV to be a
  • It's a shame to see Rake leave the air b/c he was a solid on-air host. like JMV, but he channels Jim Rome wayyyyy too much. And while it's radio 101 to plug the station phone number often during call-in shows, JMV does so practically at the end of every paragraph. So, we can hit on that at 239-1260. I got to the point where I was counting the number of times JMV says the phone # during each segment.

    As for Kravitz & Eddie, I tend to agree Eddie tries to hard and is way too am radio guy. Thing is, he's actually getting better. The first 6-9 months he was practically insufferable because he was just rambling like a drunk teenager. Adding Michael the producer in the Ernie Johnson role as voice of logic helps.

    The real surprise is Dakish, and if they added Boyle as a co-host, that show would rule.
  • Eddie is getting better. The show was a little uneven at first, like any show, but Kravitz and Eddie are much better. People who haven't listened in a while should do that. JMV is fine for what he is, but Kravitz and Eddie are much more plugged in, and are funny. The Five O'Clock Fight is good listening everyday, and Bob and Eddie seem very confident now.
  • I lost what little(very little) respect I had left for WFNI and their joke of a program director Kent Sterling when they screwed Jersey Johnny over so hard. That midday slot should have been his, and would be pulling higher numbers than it is now with Dakich had JJ be allowed to take the slot as he was promised.
  • It's all a matter of taste and personal preference. For my money, JMV, as he calls himself, is pretty much midwest white-bread mediocre. Gosh, that sounds nastier than it was meant. He just doesn't stand out in my book. If WFNI is finally giving WNDE a run for the money, it's for good reason.

    I think FNI has a great lineup of local talent: Kravitz & Eddie, Dakich is a joy and quite the surprise, and Jersey and Boyle are all very talented and engaging -- all of them bring unique talent to the table. This is one big-league, big market sports station folks. They do a great job of being entertaining and irreverent, and without the normal jock-talk so common with so many smaller market broadcasters. In a way, it's good that some people really hate K&E. They're pushing somebody's buttons -- that makes for great sports talk radio! Competition and controversy, in anything, is a GOOD thing. All that, and FNI has much better guests.

    Last but not least, they're locally owned. You cannot say the same about WNDE or most radio stations. 1070 is home to the Colts, Pacers, Speedway races, IU, and the high school sports dude (Bob Lovell?). That's a hell of a local lineup. JMV is the ONLY local thing about WNDE. Outside of that, they just plug into something else. Other than Purdue football, what local or state sports do they carry? Unless I'm missing something, there's really little about them that's local, morning, noon, night, and weekends.

    I'm no shill for Emmis, and do not get the personal digs at some of the management. Jeez, who cares? Did Emmis fire some of y'all?
  • Well said, Parkershade. I've never understood why people online bust on The Fan as though it and Emmis represent some corporate giant in Indy, and WNDE is the little engine that could. WNDE owned by Clear Channel for goodness sake, the evil empire of radio. The kings of cuts.

    The Fan seems to make a real effort to bring us sports fans a local station. All of these odd fans of JMV's do nothing but moan about how this is somehow a duel to the death between two shows. I listen to both JMV and Kravitz and Eddie, and I can't recall a single time that either Bob or Eddie ever mentioned JMV. If this is a fight, those guys certainly aren't acting like it. JMV on the other hand sounds like he would have little to talk about without talking about The Fan and other Emmis stations. I have no problem with JMV, but Kravitz and Eddie bring a cool energy to Indy.

    While The Fan was doing live coverage today of Pole Day, where was WNDE? We need more local sports, not less.

    I'm also curious about the constant harrassment of Sterling. What has he done other than program a sports station, and really pretty well?
  • Well Anthony, while WNDE has been doing sports for more than 10 years, the Drive with JMV has only been on for 4 years. K and E have been on for 16 months of that...they have 50000 watts, compared to 5000 watts of antennae power...they have spent ten times the amount of money on marketing as has 1260 WNDE and Clearchannel. I think it should be taken as an embarrassment that this small station with only a 10+ year legacy is beating a legacy station that no matter if it carries news or sports is more than well known in the entire State of Indiana. Since when did Amos Brown become the authority on Arbitron numbers? The other thing about when you are called, you go on and that is good PR, well those on air visits make any opinions given on the two talk shows lack of credibility.
  • I work for a competiting company to both of the companies who own these two stations, and I feel like I can help explain a couple of things to Thomas about signals, ratings, and the coverage of this story by the IBJ.

    The signal is only relevant as it effects the metro area where the ratings are measured. The DMA for the ratings extends only to the 13 counties closest to Indy, and both signals reach the entire area during the day. It can be argued that WNDE enjoys a signal advantage at night because it hits all of Hamilton County, whereas The Fan's catches only the southern most area there.

    Building a new brand takes roughly two years. That is what we have found over here. This bizarre notion Thomas advances that WNDE is in some kind of position as the underdog in this battle is patently ridiculous. Having a 14 year head start formattically is quite a powerful advantage. If Kravitz and Eddie were Bob & Tom, it would still take two years to gain a lot of traction (as it did for Bob & Tom in the mid-1980s).

    This ripping of The Fan, which I only see or hear on silly message boards, is silly and I would assume the folks at WNDE agree. The more good radio we have here, the better for all stations. Kravitz and Eddie (and the rest of The Fan's offerings) are good radio. We need more of it, not less.

    Good for Emmis and The Fan for doing what a lot of companies refuse to - launching a creative and local brand. It's not easy, and I think they have done a great job.
  • K @ E are awefull! which is inline with the rest of espn & 1070's shows. Jock-ich is good if you cheer for the school in Bloomington; so I stick by my statement about 1070. 950 has best local show in afternoon to me b/c it has back and forth. JMV is like a lecture about green county and case study of dead air.
  • I agree with Kevin. I long ago tired of callers being referred to as dog or my man. Eddie might not be so bad if he would knock off the lame imitation of getto gangsta crap. He acts like Bob and Tom, someone who never escaped puberty.
  • Current Ratings
    Hey Anthony how about you up date us with the most recent couple of ratings in the sports talk show wars here in Indy. I am hearing that JMV is doing ok at 1070. Thanks

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