Both the Sports Hub (98.5 FM) and WEEI (93.7 FM) can and will claim to being Boston’s top-rated sports station over the summer in the Nielsen Audio ratings.
What is not in dispute is the remarkable ascent to the top of the morning drive ratings by WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan’’ program.
In the overall ratings, which cover the men 25-54 demographic from June 22 to Sept. 13, WEEI earned an 8.8 share and the Sports Hub an 8.5 to finish 1-2 in the summer among all stations.
But, the Sports Hub gains an addition 1.3 share from its separate online stream, while WEEI’s stream is already included in that single number. By that measure, the Sports Hub was first with a 9.8, while WEEI dips to second.
(An explanation of the stations’ different streaming measures is, as usual, at the bottom of this story.)
In the specific day parts, WEEI earned a striking victory in the mornings with “Kirk & Callahan’’ finishing first (13.7), one spot ahead of the Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich’’ (10.6, plus 0.3 for its online stream).
“Kirk & Callahan’’ was the highest-rated show in the market in the summer.
It is the second straight three-month period in which WEEI’s morning program topped the Sports Hub in the 6-10 a.m. time period.
Before last spring, it hadn’t happened since summer 2014.
This summer’s ratings were almost a direct reversal of summer 2016, when “Toucher and Rich’’ was first (13.0) and “Kirk & Callahan’’ second (10.1). That was the ratings period in which John Dennis left the show.
In middays (10 a.m.-2 p.m.), WZLX’s Carter Alan program was first (10.6). The battle for second again comes down to the streaming differences and debate.
WEEI’s “OMF’’ program, featuring Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni, and Christian Fauria, was second (9.2) if the Sports Hub’s separate streaming isn’t included, with its “Zolak and Bertrand’’ program taking third (8.8).
But with the 1.2 online stream included, “Zolak and Bertrand’’ vaults to second (10.0) and OMF drops to third.
In afternoon drive (2-6 p.m.), the Sports Hub’s “Felger and Massarotti’’ finished first with an 11.3 share, 13.6 with streaming added.
WEEI’s “Dale & Holley’’ program, which includes third personality Rich Keefe, was second (8.7).
In the 6-7 p.m. window, the Sports Hub, which usually airs “The Baseball Reporters’’ hosted by Tony Massarotti in that slot, was first (9.2, 2.3 stream). WEEI, which typically features the Red Sox pregame show in that period, was fifth (5.5).
In the 7 p.m.-midnight period, the Sports Hub, which airs “The Adam Jones Show’’ weeknights, was first (8.9, plus 1.6 streaming). WEEI, which primarily carries Red Sox broadcasts in that window, was third (8.4).
Kiss 108’s evening programming, hosted by Mikey V, was second (8.7).
A note about streaming: The Sports Hub and WEEI have different methods for measuring streaming, both valid, but the cause of some controversy.
WEEI uses Total Line Reporting, which includes the stream in its Nielsen Audio ratings since it is a direct simulcast of the radio.
The Sports Hub does not use Total Line Reporting and has a separate online stream, which generates a separate share.
Here is a further explanation of what it means — including insight from Nielsen — and why the stations have different interpretations of whether the Sports Hub’s streaming number should be included.