WNDE sacks news-commentary morning show to stick with sports

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WNDE-AM 1260 is back to all sports in the morning.

On June 1, WNDE sidelined Rover’s Morning Glory in the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. slot, in favor of Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North.

Last June, WNDE ditched Furman & North for Rover, a syndicated news commentary show out of Cleveland. But iHeart Media Indianapolis President Rick Green said that move didn’t work as expected.

“It was more disjointed to our sports talk audience [than] what we were previously doing,” Green said of Rover’s Morning Glory. “In the morning, sports fans want to hear results from the prior night, and that’s what we lost.”

Green is confident this month’s change will lead to audience growth for WNDE during the important morning drive-time slot.

“I think the Fox Sports Brand is as strong as it has ever been,” Green said. “With the support of Fox Sports, I think the programming will excel and grow our ratings.”

WNDE’s morning ratings could hardly get any worse. It lags far behind the local market’s sports radio leader, WFNI-AM 1070, which airs ESPN Radio’s powerhouse Mike & Mike Show from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

In April in the men 25 to 54 demographic, WNDE’s Rover show registered a 0.0 share, which tied it for 32nd in the local market, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. That means so few people listened, the show didn’t register.

In March, the Rover show was ranked 26th among men 25 to 54 with a 0.3 share locally, meaning .3 percent of the people listening to radio in the demographic in this market at that time were tuned in, according to Nielsen.

By comparison, Mike & Mike on WFNI scored an 8.5 share in April in the same demographic in central Indiana, according to Nielsen.

WXNT-AM 1430 also airs sports talk programming, airing The Gio And Jones Show featuring former NFL linebacker and current CBS Sports Network college football analyst, Brian Jones and radio personality, Gregg Giannotti from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Green thinks WNDE will get another boost July 1 when it begins simulcasting on 97.5 FM. Also, the station will begin airing the Rush Limbaugh Show on July 6 from noon to 3 p.m.

While Limbaugh’s show isn’t sports-centric, it, like WNDE’s sports shows, is predominantly male.

“We feel Rush fits in because we have a talk format,” Green said. “We feel the two (Rush and sports) can fit well together.”

Green hopes to convert some of WNDE’s Rush listeners to the station’s other sports programming and vice versa. Limbaugh, which has aired in this market on WIBC-FM 93.1, is likely to be WNDE’s highest rated show. While the show has lost a bit of steam recently, over its 22 years on WIBC, it regularly brought in high single-digit share numbers.

While Green said he hasn’t gotten much feedback from advertisers concerning the morning change, he said listener feedback has been positive.

“People have been really happy to get sports back on WNDE in the morning with Furman & North,” Green said.

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