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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WaPo: From the Basement, It’s No Wonder Radio Reception Is Poor

Don’t let the basement line fool you.  It’s not about bloggers, but about the thousands of people NOT listening to the Nats on the radio.  (And that’s separate from their lousy TV Ratings.

The Washington Nationals, last in the National League East and closing fast on a 100-loss season, have attracted the smallest radio following in the major leagues, according to audience research from Arbitron.

How low? So low that even the microscopic numbers reported by the rating service might be too low to be statistically valid.

Stay the course, Stan!

Chris Needham Posted: August 26, 2008 at 04:14 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, nationals

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   1. PreservedFish Posted: August 26, 2008 at 04:59 PM (#2916501)
No old fans.
   2. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 26, 2008 at 05:08 PM (#2916513)
Is there any market of over 100,000 people in the US where Major League Baseball would make this miniscule an impression? It's all but invisible.

The new stadium gets almost 30K fans a night (and many of those fans of other teams), but with the TV and radio numbers so low as to border on the unbelievable, that figure is sure to plummet over the years.
   3. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: August 26, 2008 at 05:12 PM (#2916521)
No fans.


Fixed.
   4. John Northey Posted: August 26, 2008 at 05:32 PM (#2916555)
So, how long until Washington radio is carried only over the internet ala the old Montreal Expos?

For an old Expos fan this has been great fun to watch, the ratings for tv and radio being so low as to almost not exist for Washington. Lets move them back to Montreal!
   5. Greg Franklin Posted: August 26, 2008 at 06:05 PM (#2916587)
Article: The Nationals have a generally admired pair of announcers -- Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler -- and have two of the most powerful radio frequencies in the Washington area.

The worst label in show business is to be admired. Through the magic of Internet audio, I have heard these gentlemen call 4-6 games. Though they may be admired, they are as dull as a treatise on triple-derivate game theory. They're not clowns or buffoons, they're just very gray.

Teams in their situation, losing and without any personalities on the roster, may as well hire entertainers as their PBP team. Caray/Piersall, Niehaus, Bob Uecker - someone with some enthusiasm for baseball, not necessarily the terrible product on the field. Long-term (if not short-term) it will pay off in terms of fan loyalty.

SBB - is the gameday experience of the Nats exceptional to draw 30K a night? (Does the new park still have an attraction?) How many of them are no-shows?
   6. MM1f Posted: August 26, 2008 at 06:07 PM (#2916592)
Teams in their situation, losing and without any personalities on the roster, may as well hire entertainers as their PBP team. Caray/Piersall, Niehaus, Bob Uecker - someone with some enthusiasm for baseball, not necessarily the terrible product on the field. Long-term (if not short-term) it will pay off in terms of fan loyalty.


I don't think anyone ever thought of Skip as an "entertainer" but he was as good as you can be when it came to commenting on poor teams or poor play.
   7. Chris Needham Posted: August 26, 2008 at 06:33 PM (#2916610)
For an old Expos fan this has been great fun to watch, the ratings for tv and radio being so low as to almost not exist for Washington. Lets move them back to Montreal!

Unlike Les Expos, because of the MASN arrangement, the Nats get their money whether people are watching or not. This team'll make money just on season ticket sales alone.

SBB - is the gameday experience of the Nats exceptional to draw 30K a night? (Does the new park still have an attraction?) How many of them are no-shows?
New stadium. Lots of season ticket sales. Good weather.

It's hard to get a gauge on no-shows. It seems less than at RFK, though. When you're getting people to gleefully suck down $7.50 Buds, though, you don't really have to worry if each seat sold is actually filled.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 26, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#2916615)
Wasn't there a study that showed that their televised games are only getting like 6,000 viewers a game?
   9. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 26, 2008 at 06:42 PM (#2916616)
Wasn't there a study that showed that their televised games are only getting like 6,000 viewers a game?

9,000.
   10. WhoWantsTeixeiraDessert Posted: August 26, 2008 at 06:57 PM (#2916629)
Nobody ever knows what sattelite/cable channel they're on, it's an accident if you stumble across it. Lets face it, MLB had a lot of fun creating this AAAA franchise, and we'll naturally have a crap product unless the Lerning curve is short.

Having an enthusiastic shill isn't pleasant either - they already have a prime example of that with Bob Carpenter doing the TV play-by-play. I prefer Slowes with his modern-day Fred Allen-sounding voice.

Man, I'm old.
   11. WhoWantsTeixeiraDessert Posted: August 26, 2008 at 07:00 PM (#2916633)
I'm pretty sure Stan will stick around just for the palindrome possibilities.
   12. Padraic Posted: August 26, 2008 at 07:17 PM (#2916654)
So, it's about 4000 per game on the radio, plus 9000 on TV...so there are twice as many people at the games then watching or listening to them.

I think Nats broadcasts could be the next ham radio, with a small but dedicated dorky elite gathering around their boxes each night to hear strange tales of Dimitri Young and Emile Bonafacio, afraid to mention it to their friends for fear of being ridiculed or called a liar.
   13. The Original SJ Posted: August 26, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#2916659)
Their only advertiser is a WMATA, which is fine, but the theme of the ads are "its a pain in the ass to get to the park."
   14. Chris Needham Posted: August 26, 2008 at 07:30 PM (#2916666)
I wonder if William Barthman Jewelers wants to expand their sphere on influence?
   15. Gamingboy Posted: August 26, 2008 at 08:30 PM (#2916751)
Jeez, and Angelos thought that the move of a team from Montreal to Washington would kill the Orioles. I mean, seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if there are Minor League teams that get more then 4000 people listening on the radio. I mean, jeez. This is further proof that there are only 3 ways to get attention in Washington: Offend someone (Redskins have been doing this for years), Sleep with someone or buy someone.
   16. stoeten Posted: August 26, 2008 at 08:40 PM (#2916766)
Allez!
   17. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 26, 2008 at 08:42 PM (#2916770)
I'm amazed that the numbers are this low, though. The article doesn't say where the Mariners rank among the 30 teams, just that their listenership is so much more than the Nationals' despite their record being about the same. I'm amazed that their number is so low, as well.

Of course, this doesn't count people listening on the Internet, which I suspect a lot of people now do even in a team's radio market.
   18. Greg Franklin Posted: August 26, 2008 at 09:02 PM (#2916793)
I don't think anyone ever thought of Skip as an "entertainer" but he was as good as you can be when it came to commenting on poor teams or poor play.
Right. I liked him. For some reason, the rotation of him and the "professionals" Ernie Johnson, Van Wieren, and [insert retired jock here] made the bad Braves watchable. He and the guys I mentioned earlier weren't there to shill 24/7.

The article doesn't say where the Mariners rank among the 30 teams, just that their listenership is so much more than the Nationals' despite their record being about the same. I'm amazed that their number is so low, as well.
I believe their listenership is in the middle of the pack of MLB, like their game attendance.

Still, the Mariners are not immune to the suck factor: their current radio contract runs at out at the end of '08, and the next contract is on a different flagship and will pay half of what the current one pays.
   19. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 26, 2008 at 09:19 PM (#2916811)
I wouldn't be surprised if there are Minor League teams that get more then 4000 people listening on the radio. I mean, jeez.

I'll bet the Hudson Valley Renegades get at least that many listeners on WBNR. Hell, the old Catskill Cougars probably had more listeners on WELV in '96...
   20. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 26, 2008 at 09:46 PM (#2916830)
Unlike Les Expos, because of the MASN arrangement, the Nats get their money whether people are watching or not. This team'll make money just on season ticket sales alone.

Doesn't the Asbestos King have a reset on that soon though? The one everyone thought would result in an increase in his payment to the Nats ... before it became evident that fewer people watch the Nats than watch a regular season Blue Jacket/Hurricane game in Lansing?
   21. Fred C. Dobbs Posted: August 26, 2008 at 09:57 PM (#2916841)
Move them to Portland! Or has Portland (Oregon) been deemed by Buddy to be un-baseball worthy?
   22. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 26, 2008 at 10:31 PM (#2916870)
All this shows is that aside from the Redskins, DC fans are the world's greatest frontrunners. I can almost guarantee that if they seriously competed for the division one year and started out strong the next year, they'd draw three million or better. They might even rate more than an hour or two of talk per week on WTEM.

Obviously the operative word there is "if."
   23. Belfry Bob Posted: August 27, 2008 at 01:54 PM (#2918416)
When the MASN deal came to be, I loved how the DC fans moaned and wailed...I wrote even then that the guaranteed money they'd get would be more than they would generate on their own. Even I didn't think it would be this bad, though.
   24. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 27, 2008 at 02:10 PM (#2918424)
Is there a list of the Arbitron ratings for all the teams?
   25. bunyon Posted: August 27, 2008 at 02:32 PM (#2918456)
Right. I liked him. For some reason, the rotation of him and the "professionals" Ernie Johnson, Van Wieren, and [insert retired jock here] made the bad Braves watchable. He and the guys I mentioned earlier weren't there to shill 24/7.

Right. People have pretty high BS meters. If you put a shi!!y product on the field and then try to tell people it's great, they'll tune out. But it was actually kind of fun to watch/root for the Braves along with Skip and the gang. They weren't mean and they would always have some hope, but they were both realistic and honest. Of course, they had to be funny and know some baseball, but they used the Braves characteristics to build a story rather than ignore the team's characteristics in order to create a sham.

Hire someone funny to work with someone that knows baseball and then let them tell the story. It may not bring in millions of viewers, but it won't turn people off, either.

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