The battle to rule the local sports-talk radio airwaves in the all-important afternoon drive time is getting more competitive, according to the latest numbers from New York-based Nielsen Audio.
Indianapolis has three stations cranking out sports talk, more than most markets the city’s size.
WFNI-AM 1070 has typically been the market leader, with John Gliva, known on air as JMV, leading the drive time slot. But WNDE-AM 1260 and its Query & Schultz show tied JMV in January and for the first time surpassed him in February—the last full month for which ratings are available. WXNT-AM 1430’s afternoon show is hosted by Kent Sterling, who trails the two by a wide margin.
Below is a four-month sample of how the afternoon stations stack up from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays in their target market of men 25 to 54. Each share point means 1 percent of the listening audience at the time is tuning in, according to Nielsen. The number in brackets is the station’s rank among all stations in the market in that demographic during the time slot.
WFNI 3.9 (8)
WNDE 2.3 (18)
WFNI 4.5 (6)
WNDE 1.5 (18)
WFNI 4.3 (9t)
WNDE 4.3 (9t)
WXNT 0.2 (29)
WNDE 4.8 (7)
WFNI 4.1 (10)
Mike Killabrew, a senior vice president at iHeartMedia, which owns WNDE, is pleased with the progress Query & Schultz has made.
“Query & Schultz, our market-leading local afternoon drive show, is a great example of our commitment to bring Indianapolis sports fans the very best sports content and programming,” he said in an email. “We are very pleased with the show’s direction and popularity, as well as the great feedback we’re hearing from fans about the show, and we’re confident that Indianapolis listeners will continue to tune into Query & Schultz.”
Bob Richards, Emmis Communications’ local market manager, acknowledged that Emmis’ JMV was beaten in February’s ratings by Query & Schultz. But he compared the month to one game in an NFL season and said JMV already was back on top through the first week of March.
In that week, JMV registered a 5.4 rating compared with Query & Schultz’s 3.4, according to Nielsen.
“Anytime that you see something happen in the ratings, you try to dig in and see what happened,” Richards said. “We’ll evaluate it internally and look at it long-term.”