Dean Blundell fared much better in his second month on the air for Toronto sports radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan, while his chief rival's ratings faded.
Blundell & Co., which replaced Brady and Walker, with hosts Greg Brady and Andrew Walker, as The Fan's morning show on March 2, drew an average share of 3.3 per cent of listeners between ages 25 to 54 in April. That was a sizeable jump from 2.3 per cent in March.
At the same time, TSN Toronto 1050's morning show, Mike Richards in the Morning, slid from an average share of 1.3 in March to 0.7 in April.
While it is only one month, the trend is encouraging for Fan owner Rogers Media, as Blundell's 3.3 April share also stopped a steady morning-ratings slide that started a year earlier with Brady and Walker.
Bumping Brady and Walker to the 1-4 p.m. weekday slot initially created controversy because their ratings were considered stable, while Blundell's mix of vulgar and sometimes misogynistic and homophobic humour in his previous job (on Toronto FM station 102.1 The Edge) kept him in hot water with Canada's broadcast authorities.
Rogers never fully explained the reasons for the switch to Blundell, but the ratings now tell the story. A broadcast-industry source provided radio ratings from Numeris that showed Brady and Walker's decline started in April, 2014, and they were never able to arrest the slide. That April, Brady and Walker had a 4.8 share of adults 25 to 54 in the morning slot; by February, 2015, that share was down to 2.4.
When Blundell's 25-to-54 audience share dipped to 2.3 in his first month, there was much chortling from critics, especially when Richards simultaneously increased his share from 1.1 in February to 1.3 in March.
Blundell also increased his share of what is considered The Fan's target audience, males ages 18 to 49. In March, Blundell had a 3.5 share with that group and raised it to 4.9 in April. This appears to have been done at the expense of Richards. His share of the men 18 to 49 went from 2.4 in March to 1.1 in April.
One explanation for Blundell's improvement is the Toronto Blue Jays. Their season started in early April and The Fan is their long-time radio broadcaster. The theory is that listeners who go to sleep with the Jays' game on their clock radios tend to wake up to the same station's morning show.
The Jays games are The Fan's highest-rated broadcasts, although Numeris does not separate them from the station's other evening programs. The Numeris ratings for that slot in April gave the Jays a 4.9 share of adults 25 to 54, higher than for any other show on The Fan.
Running second to the Jays games was The Fan's enduring drive-time show, Prime Time Sports with host Bob McCown, while Blundell's show was third among the station's shows. Prime Time drew a 4.4 share of adults 25 to 54 in April, up from 3.6 in March. McCown's competition at 1050, TSN Drive with Dave Naylor, posted a 1.4 share in April, up slightly from 1.3 in March.
TSN owner BCE owns a 15-per-cent stake of The Globe and Mail.