The Phillies season ended up being such a disappointment that it could cost manager Gabe Kapler his job, but interest in the team was good enough to drive listeners to Philadelphia’s two main sports talk radio stations.
Both 94.1 WIP and 97.5 The Fanatic grew their radio ratings among male listeners between the ages of 25 to 54 (the most-important demographic for both stations) during every daypart compared to last summer, according to numbers obtained by the Inquirer. But it was WIP that remained dominant, finishing first place overall in the market (Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to noon,) well ahead of The Fanatic, which ended the quarter in fourth place.
“The Phillies resonated because they brought in Bryce Harper and Kapler himself is a personality. But there was also so much anticipation for Eagles training camp and the pairing of Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson,” said Eric Johnson, the program director at The Fanatic. “I guess all that anticipation is what we saw in the September ratings book.”
The biggest growth came from WIP’s afternoon duo of Jon Marks and former Eagles linebacker Ike Reese, who finished in first place after increasing their audience by nearly 54 percent compared to last summer.
It’s the third-straight quarter the duo defeated The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli, who finished just one-tenth of a percentage behind in second place. But Missanelli and co-hosts Tyrone Johnson and Natalie Egenolf are also pulling in a second audience on television, thanks to their simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia, though the network declined to provide ratings information.
In the mornings, Angelo Cataldi and co-hosts Rhea Hughes and Al Morganti reign supreme, nearly doubling the ratings of their former colleague Marc Farzetta, who left WIP in August 2018 to launch his own show at The Fanatic alongside former Eagles offensive lineman Tra Thomas and ex-Daily News reporter Bob Cooney.
Farzetta and company will mark their one-year anniversary at The Fanatic on Tuesday by launching a new livestream of their show on Twitch, a first for either radio station (though semi-retired sports talker Tony Bruno has been broadcasting his podcast on Twitch for the better part of a year).
On Monday, Cataldi announced the station was adding former Sixers president Billy King as a part-time co-host on the morning show. King is expected to host one or two mornings a week, similar to the role former Eagles defender Hollis Thomas filled prior to being fired by the station last week.
As far as middays are concerned, WIP’s duo of Joe DeCamara and former Eagles fullback Jon Ritchie once again easily outpaced their Fanatic rivals, Anthony Gargano and Jason Myrtetus. The two shows finished in third and fourth place for their time slots, respectively.
Speaking of ratings, despite the team’s disappointing finish, 2019 ended up being the highest-rated Phillies season on NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC10 since 2012.
Over the 153 games that aired locally, the Phillies averaged a 4.25 household rating (about 119,700 households), a 21 percent increase over 2018. But the ratings were largely powered by a strong start fueled by interest in newly acquired slugger Bryce Harper, and not surprisingly, began to drop as the team fell out of contention for the playoffs.
Over the first two months of the season, the Phillies were averaging a 4.6 household rating (about 129,600 households) locally. By the All-Star break, that number had already dipped to a 4.4 rating (about 123,900 households).
The same goes for attendance. The Phillies averaged over 33,672 fans per game at Citizens Bank Park this season, the highest number since 2013. Over the team’s first 31 home games, the Phillies averaged 35,396 fans per game, average attendance dipped all the way down to 29,564 over their last 15 games.