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In-Home Listening Propels Phillies Radio Broadcasts To A 40-Share.

Fresh data from Nieslen illustrates the massive appeal of playoff baseball on live radio and the tight bond fans have with their local radio play-by-play announcers. Broadcasts of the Philadelphia Phillies-Miami Marlins Wildcard games in early October delivered astonishingly high nighttime shares for Audacy “SportsRadio 94” WIP-FM.

Playing to a rabid, hometown, Red October towel-twirling sell-out crowd of 45,662 on Oct. 3, the local Phillies game call on WIP-FM posted a 46.3 share in Men 25-54 from 8-11pm. Game 2 in front of another thunderous crowd at Citizens Bank Park Oct. 4 produced equally staggering results: a 41.1 share in the core demo.

Isolating individual hours of the game broadcasts shows different tune-in patterns. Game 1 saw the Phillies go out front early in a 4-1victory over the Marlins. The first two hours of the broadcast delivered larger shares (51.5 for 8-9pm, 50.0 for 9-10pm) than the final hour (35.4 for 10-11pm).

But in Game 2 it was the 9-10pm hour, when the Phillies scored four runs in the sixth inning, that produced the highest share (45.8) compared to 38.2 for 8-9pm and 39.7 for 10-11pm. Final score: Phillies 7, Marlins 1.

The Phillies swept the series in two games and currently lead the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS series, which resumes tonight at Chase Field in Phoenix.

As stratospheric as they are, these numbers aren’t the complete picture. They only reflect over the air listening and not the online audience for WIP-FM since Audacy stations do not participate in Nielsen’s Total Line Reporting.

Beyond showing how a beloved, red-hot team in pursuit of a championship can galvanize a city, the numbers illustrate the preference fans have for the hometown call of the game. Just over half of 6+ listening to these Wildcard games occurred in home (51.4%) compared to 48.6% out of home. (Nielsen uses a beacon in the home of PPM panelists to determine when the panelist is in home.)

The startlingly high share of in-home listening suggests it’s more than just people too busy to watch the game that are listening to the radio while doing chores or other activities. It’s likely that many fans were turning down the TV audio and using set-top box DVR functionality to synch the telecast to the WIP-FM call of the game so they could hear Phillies radio play-by-play voice Scott Franzke instead of the audio from the national ESPN telecast. Franzke, who made his Phillies radio debut in 2006 and has been the team’s main play-by-play commentator for radio since 2007, is revered by Phillies fans. His “Bedlam at the Bank” call, when 45,000 fans lost their minds during Bryce Harper's NLCS-clinching homer last year, which sent the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, “delivered an entire city into euphoria, instantly enter[ing] the Philly sports lexicon as an unforgettable phrase for an unforgettable moment,” as the Philadelphia Inquirer put it. After Franzke’s 2022 call went viral, the Phillies trademarked “Bedlam at the Bank.” Licensed (and unlicensed) merchandise carrying the phrase has become a hot commodity in the market.

Known for bringing wit and precision to the broadcasts, Franzke has been joined in the radio booth for parts of the Wildcard games by Scott McCarthy, the club’s television play-by-play announcer since 2009, along with longtime radio color analyst Larry Anderson.

John Snyder, Senior VP/Sales Director at Nielsen, who has analyzed sports radio listening trends for broadcasters and teams, calls the in-home shares “stunning” and suggests they’re likely fueled by fans turning the television audio down and the radio call up. Seeing half of the radio listening occurring at home reinforces the importance of the local broadcast to hometown fans, he says. “Some people forget about the passion associated with radio. This brings it home, where people are going through the hassle of syncing it up to hear the local call of the game.”

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