More and more Sports-Talk stations are migrating from AM to FM with Clear Channel's KJR and Entercom's WEEI just the latest in an accelerating trend.
What impact is FM having on Sports-Talk? So far, in a positive way but less than you might think.
There are a total of 51 AM and FM Sports stations now measured by PPM, eleven more than a year ago. Of those, nearly two-thirds (61%) are still on AM.
The median share for all Sports-Talk stations is 2.1. Half of Sports stations have a share higher than this, while half have a lower share. (This is based on stations in all markets now measured by PPM that have at least a one share in the latest three months.)
Perhaps even more interesting is that FM Sports stations are not out-performing their AM brethren by much. Median share for FM Sports stations is 2.2 compared to AM’s 2.1.
New PPM markets coming on-line make it difficult to compare current median shares to last year’s numbers because the newest markets tend to be smaller than the first PPM markets.
To look at median share trends, we calculate median shares for just the stations that have been in the format and measured by PPM for at least a year.
Looking at just these stations, AM shares are steady at 2.2, while the median share for FM stations has gone from 1.8 to 2.3.
That means all of Sport radio’s growth has come from the FM side. This is clear if we look at format momentum.
If you’ve read our other format analyses, you know that we calculate momentum by comparing each station’s share today to what it was last year at this time, using a three month average.
Positive format momentum means that more stations are higher today than they were a year ago.
Momentum for the format is slightly positive at 52.5%, but this over-all performance conceals considerable differences between AM and FM stations in the format.
Fewer than half (46.2%) of AM Sports stations in the format are up over their 2010 numbers. In contrast, nearly two-thirds (64.3%) of FM Sports stations are higher today than comparable months in 2010.
Keep in mind that there were only 14 FM Sports-Talk stations in PPM markets last year, so FM’s positive momentum is based on a limited number of stations.
That said, the modest gains thus far may just be a hint of why lies ahead as more stations make the switch. Stay tuned.