Jim O'Donnell: November ratings book keeps 'The Score' and AM-1000 on horizontal hold

A SPORTS TALK RADIO STATION that's No. 1 in its market?

Philadelphia, yes.

Boston, yes.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, yes.

How about Top 10?

New York, yes,

San Francisco and Detroit, yes.

Dallas-Fort Worth, yes.


According to the November Nielsen Audios, hah ... hah-hah.

As Pee-wee Herman would say, "Don't make me laugh, Dottie."

In yet another redundant monthly book - for the period ending Nov. 9 - WSCR, 670-AM limped home at No. 15 while ESPN, 1000-AM waddled in tied for No. 22.

The flat updates were to be expected from a pair of stations that display all the freshness and snap of an abandoned Mr. Donut.

They are dead signals still broadcasting.

BOTH SHARE COMMON PROBLEMS, among them: pared budgets, cut staffs, too many must-flee drones and lack of visionary leadership.

Their voyage-to-the-bottom audience numbers are that much more indicting because:

• Chicago remains a rabid sports market;

• Both compete against many equally diminished AM and FM outfits; and,

• There is far too much to entertainingly skewer with the ongoing non-performances of the Bears, the Bulls, the Blackhawks, the Cubs and even the chairman-torpedoed White Sox.

In other words, what a time to be a bright, fearless sports talker in Chicago.

But what absolutely pathetic drivel and commensurate results.

"THE SCORE" ISN'T movin' on up until it moves some ill-placed personnel on out.

Even the flagship morning show of Mike Mulligan and Ball State-spawned siren David Haugh has gotten worn down.

Bears clambakers Brad Biggs and Mayor Lori Lightfoot can only take an a.m. franchise so far. Maybe Mulligan and Haugh can séance with Jerome Holtzman. The seven-minute commercial blocks are also massive potholes for listeners to avoid.

As for AM-1000, the fact that it will be the new radio home of the Bears next season is primarily a statement about how desperate the Bears must have been for a new radio home.

The station has the baffling Tom Waddle - some days he's tuned in, some days he's not - in afternoons. After that, it's a bunch of budget-friendly time fillers that could clear out a free lunch buffet before a noon kickoff.

FULL-SERVICE SPORTS TALK RADIO in Chicago was once an audioscape where engaging giants like Dan Jiggetts and Jimmy Piersall and Norm Van Lier reached high orbit.

Now, it is a purview in lock-flail free fall, generally as unlistenable as Jenna Bush Hager attempting a tribute medley to Adele.

Big, brawny sports cities deserve sports talk radio that keeps pace.

Chicago apparently has been planted on a do-not-resuscitate list.


Sure it's a long way from March. But the performance of Terrence Shannon Jr. in overtime for Illinois during its 85-78 victory over No. 2 Texas Tuesday night was masterful. Having it come during a wild Illini comeback at Madison Square Garden on ESPN underscores that the Illini faithful better savor the Chicago-born transfer while they can. ...

Joe Buck's overexuburant opening to the Buccaneers-Saints Monday nighter continues to draw industry chuckles. Buck was evidently sending a message to some bossy ESPN production type. (Kind of like Howard Stern in "Private Parts" after being told how to pronounce "W-N-B-C!") ...

Speaking of Tampa Bay's 17-16 win, the whole Tom Brady-to-the-rescue thing is getting older than People magazine coverage's of Harry and Meghan. NFL scriptwriters have crossed the threshold of "autumnal bathos" with Brady's meandering end. ...

Jason Benetti and Brock Huard hammered it for FOX with a terrific call of Utah's upset of USC in the Pac-12 championship game. Benetti's smooth All-Star strength is consistently making the other guy in the booth sound even better. ...

On the flip side, Kirk Herbstreit phoned it in during ABCs coverage of Kansas State's OT win over TCU for the Big 12 title. No matter how many analyst's gigs "Herbie" accepts, he's got to remember that few national announcers can fake preparation. ...

Local lining: A regional play-by-play man is receiving extraordinarily low marks for his off-mike snits this season. A key part of his problem is that he's feeling the footsteps of age and modest position. ...

The great Gary Deeb, by the way, has released a private all-points bulletin saying that it's "mike," not "mic." ...

And Ed O'Bradovich on whether Jim Finks would have OK'd Justin Fields starting against the Packers: "First of all, Jim Finks wouldn't have drafted him."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears Sunday and Thursday. Reach him at All communications may be considered for publication.

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