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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

WEBN Down, Eddie & Tracy Up In Ratings

Some big surprises for you in the winter quarter radio ratings in today:

--Eddie Finger and Tracy Jones won the afternoon slot with all listeners (age 12 and up) and the 25-54 demographic advertisers want. Some of you will be surprised too (from reading your posts about them on this blog for four months).

--WEBN-FM, Fingers old rock station down the hall from WLW-AM, had its worst ratings book in years, maybe decades.

First a look at the awful numbers for 'EBN:
WEBN-FM, which has won five consecutive "rock stations of the year" awards from the "Radio & Records" trade magazine, dropped to No. 8 among all stations, losing 34 percent of its audience from fall.

Faced with new competition from WFTK-FM (96.5 ROCK), WEBN-FM fell to No. 4 with young listeners (ages 18-34) and No. 7 with the demographic (ages 25-54) sought by most advertisers.

Fingers' old "Dawn Patrol" was beaten by the Tom Gamble and Richard Skinner, the "Two Angry Guys" morning show on 96.5 ROCK. The "Two Angries" were third, behind WIZF-FM (101.1) and WKFS-FM (KISS 107.1) morning shows, while the "Dawn Patrol" was No. 7, possibly an all-time low.

Already Fingers' replacement has been dropped from the "Dawn Patrol." Jason "Shroom" Schumm was sent to the 7-11 p.m. shift three weeks ago, with music director Dave Fritz moving to mornings. (Has anyone noticed a difference?)

As for Eddie and Tracy, they've opened with a grand slam, according to Arbitron. They had a bigger audience share their first quarter than Burbank has had in any quarter the last 2-1/2 years. They've drawn 70,000 more listeners to WLW afternoons, according to Darryl Parks, FM operations director. The audience is younger and more female than Burbank's listeners. You've heard the women callers.

Says Tracy Jones: "Darryl Parks deserves a lot of credit."

Yes, he does. He took a chance, did something different, and the show is a success. He could have continued the comedy with Duke and somebody new, but he decided to pair two well-known guys who never worked together. Will any of you finally give him any credit?

And what would you do with WEBN?


at 5/01/2008 4:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, for FIngers & Jones that's called a curiosity spike. Let's see if they hold onto it.

at 5/01/2008 4:55 PM Blogger Aggrazel said...

I am very surprised. And disappointed, as there goes any hopes for them to be canceled and something better put on. But I guess as ratings show I am in the minority of that opinion.

I tried to give their show a fair chance but every time I tune in, I get annoyed by something and end up going back to Lance. Oh well, its only 45 minutes of my drive time anyway. Maybe I'll get an ipod.

at 5/01/2008 4:55 PM Anonymous Greg said...

The Dawn Patrol is nearly unlistenable since Eddie left. I would do a couple of things. First try appealing to someone besides 14year old boys. When you do an interview with someone don't ask them about "Shroom", Wildman" or "Buzzkill" they have no idea what you're talking about. If a woman calls in to claim a prize or chime in on a topic don't ask then about the size of their breasts or if they had sex last night. Pretty basic stuff. One more thing, don't play ACDC songs every 45 minutes.

at 5/01/2008 5:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm happy for Eddie and Tracy. It may be popular - but it is bad radio. It is pointless, aimless, unformatted, untalented radio.

If there was any sort of theme, idea, format or purpose to the show, I doubt that people would complain as much.

Eddie and Tracy represent everything wrong with the ClearChannel approach to radio. I guess you could call it the "1000 monkeys on a 1000 microphones...."

Sorry, Darryl Parks may be responsible for the downfall fo Cincinnati Radio, but he's only following the lead of ClearChannel corporate.

at 5/01/2008 5:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

No I will not give parks credit. Sure they gained a new audience but anybody that listens to that sniveling self absorbed Tracy every day for 3 hrs must really have odd taste. but remember lowest common denominator.

I do like Eddie which is the ONLY reason I sometimes tune in but Tracy is tough to stomach. When eddie is gone, Tracy imo is totally unlistenable with his "fake phone in guests."

Takes all kinds to make a world

at 5/01/2008 5:57 PM Blogger Robert Scott said...

Congratulations, Eddie & Tracy.

Talk shows live and die by Arbitron ratings. You made an impressive start because arbitron ratings are not forgiving at all.

I always thought that Tracy's niche was evening sports talk but, Tracy, you have found a good audience in a general local afternoon drive talk format.


at 5/01/2008 6:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole shut up and rock thing worked about as well as shut up & wrestle did for the now defunct WCW. WEBN personalities need to be just that personalities and not liner card readers.

There is a former WEBN personality now doing mornings in a small northern midwest town that would make a difference.

at 5/01/2008 7:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

let's make it a talk station ;)

at 5/01/2008 7:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to see this. That means less chance that 700 will ever change and Parks get the credit. Could not happen to a worse radio person. Hie ego and head barely fit through the door as it is!!
The thing that is really strange. Who do they ask about this. I have yet to find anyone who like this set in the afternoons. Who do these survey people call -- Clear Channel personnel?

at 5/01/2008 8:03 PM Blogger danni said...

What would I do with WEBN? Voice track the entire broadcast day. Does anybody notice that KISS is completely automated? Note to the staff of 'EBN, there's a big future in fast food restaurant management!

at 5/01/2008 8:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news for eddie and tracy. People are really starting to catch on to the best show in the afternoon.
I am also very pleased about the angry guys beating webn in the ratings.

at 5/01/2008 8:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you get access to the monthly breakdowns, you should take a close look at 96 Rock's ratings by month. I think every station in the market is looking twice at those and wondering if something fishy happened.
That in mind I'd leave WEBN alone and see how far they bounce back next book. 96 Rock's male numbers weren't as shocking as their female numbers. You're going to believe that the Angries attract a large female audience?

at 5/01/2008 9:27 PM Anonymous Jim said...

I have to say the Eddie and Tracy show is much better then I thought it would be. You just have to understand Tracys humor. It is some times hard to tell if the guest is a real person or a skit. But over all a real good show.

at 5/01/2008 9:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Eddie and Tracy works because Eddie is kinda uptight and Tracy is unpretentious and brings, in a humorous way, him back to earth.

Their show develops, it's not just a three hour lockeroom banter session.

Quite impressive ratings!!!

at 5/01/2008 10:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Fingers & Jones show is great. Has that "it" factor. I can't really think of a reason besides nostalgia for nay-saying the show. Fingers & Jones really have a good thing going!

at 5/01/2008 11:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9,31

Surely you jest! Tracy is the most pretentious bozo on radio. HE is the one that is uptight....Fingers is laid back.

You must not even listen to this show. I HATE EBN and haven't listened sinced the mid or early 70's when they still played entire albums each week.

But Eddie can be a fun guy even if he does have a bit of that stoned rocker least he seems like a nice guy compared to arrogant, I am better than you ARROGANT EDDIEHASKELL Tracy Jones.

Ugh. I don't believe these ratings. Hello, half the CRAP on tv that gets good ratings I think is dreck so why should radio be any different?

Thanks for the update, John.

I know from folks that worked for CC Parks is one major jerk.

at 5/02/2008 4:42 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missing from this article is the STRONG showing by 55KRC...

To those who posted on the Steve O blog, I guess KRC does know what it's doing.

I expect a response, but not holding my breath

at 5/02/2008 7:51 AM Anonymous quietthom said...

Great news for the Angries!! I admit, when 96.5 changed their format, I was quite worried about the future of the Angries but their show just keeps getting better and I'm glad the ratings are showing that as well. Sister Karen being on the show with them adds to the show as well....hopefully 96.5 keeps going with this good show.

at 5/02/2008 8:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for that comparable "entertainment" program just like Burbank's, as was touted 6 months ago.

"One book doesn't make a station" - Andy Travis

PS. booger

at 5/02/2008 8:32 AM Blogger bmurdock said...

It's great to see 96Rock taking it to WEBN. I won't go so far as to say I hope they fall but it's nice to see them staggering a bit. After all who wins when there is healthy competition? We the listeners thats who. WEBN has gone uncontested for too long. I remember the good old days when the original 96Rock and WEBN battled it out - that's when Cincy radio was fun...

As for WLW... Are they still on the air? I used to listen to 700 almost religously but they've messed with things so much why bother. The only one left worth listening to is McConnell but I'm so out of the habit I usually forget he's on.

at 5/02/2008 8:39 AM Blogger Brad said...

The problem with WEBN is the play list. There are times I turn it on and you can't hear a song from the last 20 years for an hour. They need to dump the classic rock, that is what 92.5 is for.

at 5/02/2008 8:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because someone bolts from a 30-mile radius FM station and goes to a 50kw regional blowtorch and 70,000 lemmings go with him isn't necessarily an accomplishment. It's a MIGRATION. The Dawn Patrol has been unlistenable for some time, and now that concept has spread to afternoons on LW.

at 5/02/2008 9:04 AM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anon 4:42 a.m.
Yes, WKRC -- and lots of other stations -- weren't mentioned in my post. I chose to focus on the two most newsworthy elements. I didn't mention that:
--WKRC-AM was #6, up from 12 in fall. The primaries had to help, right?
--Cumulus' WARM98 and WGRR were 2-3, behind WLW, with listeners 12 and older. WARM98 was tied for #2 with WUBE in 25-54, and WGRR was next at #4. Good book for them too.
--WIZF-FM was #1 18-34, up from #6 last quarter. The WIZ was #1 nights and #2 afternoons with all listeners ages 12 and up.

at 5/02/2008 9:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Angries jumped the shark when they stopped being all about sports. If you want to hear local sports talk in the mornings now you have to flip over to HOMER and try to stomach Alan Cutler. He may have a face for radio, but he is severely lacking in the brains department.

at 5/02/2008 10:06 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary Burbank would be rolling in his grave, were he dead..... Eddie and Tracy, to me, are painful to listen to... I've liked Tracy on his post-game show, but Eddie just strikes me as a 50 year old who still thinks he is 14. Eddie neutralizes Tracy and the result is plain pain.

I agree with the previous poster--I don't know ANYONE who likes this show. Yes, WHO are they polling?!

And yes, the good numbers might mean we are just stuck with this drivel.

A shame....

at 5/02/2008 10:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WEBN may bethe worst station we have here in Cincinnati! It only appeals to the 45 and older crowd. Here is a newsflash EBN, do not play AC/Dc, Metallica and Pink floyd every minute and maybe you will get people my age (27) to actually listen to your station! the only reason WEBN survives is because this city is so stuck in its ways and can not handle change. Until then, The Sound and 96.5 have my vote!

at 5/02/2008 11:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it about ANY mention of WLW or Clear Channel that brings out all of the haters and bashers??

Are there really THAT many ex-Clear Channel employees that have nothing else better to do then bash on WLW & Daryl Parks?????

at 5/02/2008 11:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank the Lord I subscribe to satellite radio and don't have to deal with all this rubbish. Just the songs & talk that I want.


at 5/02/2008 11:15 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Eddie and Tracy show is BAD, and I really wanted it to be good.

I think what is going on in the ratings is:

A)People tuned in to see what was up...many of them did not like what they heard and won't be back. Seriously, have you met an actual fan of the show, or overheard someone talking about it in positive terms?


B)A lot of people switched over to Hannity instead of listening to Burbank. The Eddie and Tracy show is dumb enough to keep those Willie listeners tuned in.

And speaking of dumb, the playlist at WEBN is for idiots.

at 5/02/2008 11:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Settle down people. WEBN was only significantly down in mornings. That's to be expected when the guy who did the show for 25 years suddenly goes away. WEBN had some down places in middays and afternoons, but they were slight to not very significant. In fact, Jay Gilbert was up in afternoons.

I don't think WEBN is in too much trouble outside of mornings. They need to get a REAL rock morning show. Stop trying to jerry rig something with the pieces lying around.

The Angry Guys grew with men 18-34, but dropped men 25-54. Overall, 96.5 had better 25-54 numbers as Supertalk. Furball was higher than what they have now with men 25-54 AND men 18-34. Looks like 96.5 is all morning show at this point. Not a big jump 12+ from a 1.4 as Supertalk to a 2.0 as 96-Rock.

What about 97.3? Not a good signal for country since it doesn't really get outside the 275 loop very well. The Rebel in Middletwon seems to have picked up the northern listeners from the old Star-96. What should they do with 97.3? That's the question.

94.1 continues to be mediocre, too.

Everybody else kind of fell in line with what you'd expect, except for WKRC getting a huge boost. Election years will do that.

at 5/02/2008 11:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to KISS 107's morning show as well. Those guys work very hard and do a great job....

at 5/02/2008 12:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do want to give Darryl Parks credit and thanks. Thanks for making other radio stations better, because of the people you have canned, and bad radio you have put together.WEBN has always been awefull. They play the entire black album from Metallica every stinkin' day. I stopped listing to that crap 10 years ago, but I hear they are playing the same crap! Maybe Parks can entice the Two Angry Guys to come back to Clear Channel to WEBN, and spin some AC\DC, Metallica, The Mother Song from Danzig, and Skynard.

at 5/02/2008 1:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love TRacy and Eddie.... they match up perfectly.... by the way, whatever happened to Gary Burbanks sidekick, Duke and the rest of the crew?

at 5/02/2008 1:54 PM Blogger House of Cards said...

Kiese, what's the latest on the CC sale, or sale to be, or whatever, involving the selloff of either WLW or 92.5 you wrote about earlier this year?

at 5/02/2008 2:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eddie and Tracy have a great show and are a good compliment to each other

I say 92.5 will be sold soon and Bob & Tom will move to EBN to replace whatever is left of the dawn patrol

at 5/02/2008 3:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you KIDDING ME? Darryl Parks is the WORST thing to ever happen to Cincinnati radio.

at 5/02/2008 3:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 11:04 Anonymous-

Yes, there are THAT many former CC employees that hate CC - but most of them direct their hate at Chuck F. or his bro Joe.

I'm not sure what the total was from last year, but they lost well over 100 employees. I would imagine they are well on pace to repeating that.

at 5/02/2008 5:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, thanks Darryl for firing good people. For ruining radio as we know it. For being the most arrogant person in Cincinnati radio. Hopefully Clear Channel will get wise and fire you.

Will they keep the ratings up, I doubt it.

at 5/02/2008 8:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as WEBN...They should change their format to more of the CLASSIC HARD ROCK..AC/DC, AEROSMITH, VAN HALEN, Hair Bands...etc (not really NEW music UNLESS its by those type of bands...leave the "Younger bands and music" to 96ROCK)... but dig DEEPER into the albums and play songs you wouldn't normaly hear alot. Kind've like the format the POWER PIG used to have!!!

at 5/02/2008 10:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ratings speak volumes...

Springer was right.

at 5/03/2008 11:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like an earlier poster said, I'm always amazed when I read that WLW is still on the air. But it brings back good memories of when I listened to them with my Grandfather in the early 80's.

I guess so many complain about the station because they remember when it used to be good.

at 5/05/2008 7:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should note that The Wiz had a great male book this time. It looks like once a year they post some good numbers and then fall back into place. I bet the men were weighted differently due to another diary or two going to minority males. Arbitron gives these diaries more weight, so one more can really make a difference for stations who target them. Look for the numbers to return to the rock formats next book if the ratio of diaries to whites and minorities goes back to its usual numbers.

at 5/05/2008 1:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

He may have the dumbest name in radio, but Shroom sounds really good doing night on 'ebn. Haven't had the chance to listen to the Dawn Patrol since the switch... why would anybody want to get up that early anyhow?

at 5/05/2008 9:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Dawn Patrol" was a morning show on WKRC in the mid-1930s. I wonder if the (somewhat obvous) title originated there. And did Frank Wood, Sr. recall it and recommend it to Junior for WEBN?

at 5/05/2008 10:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to toggle between Lance and Burbank. Can't stand Tracy (does a bigger ego -- with less commensurate skill and knowledge -- exist anywhere??), so now I toggle between Lance and WGUC. Since the sports teams in this town don't warrant my attention at this point, I find that I'm not terribly interested in sports talk radio right now. I do enjoy the Angry Guys, but I can't stand the rock interludes. Thankfully, my loving husband presented me with an iPod this weekend. Commutes are long and boring -- at least now I'll have something interesting coming through my car stereo.

at 5/06/2008 6:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tracy Jones is actually very funny if you listen to him and give him a chance. Eddie Fingers is way over rated. How many 20 year old punks are listening to 700 from 3-6? Fingers is getting way too much credit (I can't stand his fake laugh). Tracy is way better by himself when Eddie goes on vacation. The funniest shows from 3-6 have been when Eddie was not there to screw it up. Everyone here thinks Eddie is the draw, but I would be willing to bet that Darryl Parks knows better. Tracy Jones is the one that is driving these ratings higher.

at 5/06/2008 6:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tracy & Eddie are great! They took an old tired format(Gary Burbank)show who was hardly ever there, and made something new and exciting. The people in this market hate a winning team thats why the Red and Bengale do so well.Loser like losers its the pack mentality.

at 5/06/2008 4:18 PM Anonymous JT said...

People still listen to FM radio? My ipod has 24,000 songs and I download daily podcasts on subjects I want to hear about. Who needs radio stations with their limited playlists, corporate programming, and endless commercials?

at 5/06/2008 11:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone like music? Eddie and Tracy for a few minutes, before that- Willie, then slip in a CD, good music easy on your blood pressure and you choose what you want.
Find our old Sinatra, good opera, great orchestras, cools the head and you have no one to fight with.

Let Darryl Parks run his own show, he gets paid for finding these very
ordinary talents to take up the time between traffic and weather.
Don't listen,turn it off.

at 5/07/2008 8:42 PM Blogger Clinton said...

Love the Eddie/Tracy Show. Became a fan of it just a few hours ago. Much better than the Dawn Patrol, which I haven't heard (me being in Columbus and WEBN fades after 60 miles) since Eddie left but I can't imagine it being too good without Eddie.
WEBN is just a revolving door of changes with their air talent. Geesh.

at 5/07/2008 8:44 PM Blogger Clinton said...

Speaking of WEBN and this question is probably old but what happened to:

Matthew Harris (former overnight weekends)
& The Dude


at 5/09/2008 10:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put Martin Brennaman and Tracey Jones on the same show. That would be funny since both those egos are so large they would have to build a new HUGE building to fit in those huge heads! Then you have a typical only Cincinnati so-called talent named Eddie Fingers, whose real name is like Joe Smith or something simple, just like his show!

at 5/21/2008 10:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of WEBN and this question is probably old but what happened to:

Matthew Harris (former overnight weekends)
& The Dude



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