Things in the radio business have been just about as bleak as they've been in the newspaper world. Okay, maybe not quite that bleak, but the cash cow that was radio has fallen on lean times.
Even the deep pockets of sugar daddy Rogers Communications haven't been enough to shield the FAN 590 from tough times. The station even cut back the number of trips Leafs reporter Howard Berger will take this season, a few months after asking Day Oner Norm Rumack to close the door from the outside.
So the latest radio ratings have to lift spirits at the all-sports radio station, though Berger's frequent flyer account will suffer. The FAN's overall audience share was up from 4.1 to 4.8 in its adult male target group over laat summer, according to the summer ratings.
While the summer ratings, compiled during July and August, are considered the least important of the year, there were some big winners.
Bob McCown's Prime Time Sports saw its audience share jump from 7.1 last summer to 7.8. That stopped a bit of audience erosion in the last year. While 640 Toronto's Bill Watters Show saw its ratings jump from 1.9 to 2.2, it's no longer gaining ground on McCown.
That'w what Watters did last spring when its ratings went up and McCown's dropped a bit.
It was a good summer for Mike Hogan and Mike Toth, whose Bullpen ratings jumped from 1.6 to 4.2. The Game Plan's ratings also rose, from 3.3 to 3.6.
Amazingly, evenings jumped to a 9.2, making it tops among adult males. What's so amazing is that weekday evenings are almost exclusively the property of the Toronto Blue Jays and we all know what kind of year they're having.
The only downer for the FAN were the ratings for the Landry and Stellick morning show, which fell from a 4.5 share to 4.0.
By the way, these are the last radio ratings that will rely exclusively on people filling out diaries, and they probably mean as much as any of the other ratings issued under that system. That is to say, who knows?
When the people meters come in this fall, we should get a more accurate picture of who's listening to whom.