The Death of a Sports Radio Station

I live in sports rabid southern New England.  Our appetite for sports talk is ravenous.  it helps when three of your four major league sports teams are at the pinnacle of success.  Regardless this area has always craved sports information.

It would make sense that in this environment sports radio stations would thrive.  There is no greater testament to this then the success of WEEI in Boston.  Unlike other radio markets, this sports radio Goliath is one of the top stations in Boston…across all demographics.  Take a look for yourself.  WEEI ranks a consistent #1 among their key demo of men ages 25-54. 

What makes them even more powerful is the fact that they simulcast their programming to other Entercom-owned stations in New England.  The WEEI signal now covers the entire state of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the southern portions of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and northern Connecticut.  They may be the only radio station in the country with such a large footprint.  And it has paid off.

The WEEI success has resulted in the demise of WSKO, The Score, in Providence, RI.  Part of Citadel Broadcasting, WSKO achieved much success in the Ocean State by filling the need of the crazed Rhode Island sports fan.  Although they dedicated most of their time to the Boston professional sports scene, they also discussed what was happening at home, primarily when it came to the college basketball exploits of Providence College and the University of Rhode Island.

The WSKO success took a hit almost three years ago with the emergence in the market of WEEI-FM.  The ratings of the station plummeted and the decision was made yesterday to pull the plug and change formats.  Beginning next week, the station will look like this:

I once worked for a radio station that was revered as a pillar of the industry, and more importantly, the community.  The business side took over and they too changed formats and laid-off staff.  When you decide to put music on the AM dial, that is a concession that the owners do not expect the station to make much money, just enough to pay for the electricity.

The ratings for The Score were probably comparable to other sports radio stations across the country. (For some reason Station Ratings cannot publish the Providence ratings) But because of the density of Southern New England, and the behemoth of WEEI, its fate was, unfortunately, sealed.  Too bad.