Jim O'Donnell: Both "The Score" and AM-1000 remain lost in space
TAKE ONE FLOUNDERING CAPTIVE SPORTS CITY and mix in two feeble sports talk radio stations and what's the result?
Like Billy Preston once sang, "Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'."
Maybe ya' gotta have somethin', but that elusive broadcast quality continues to pass over WSCR-AM (670) and WMVP-AM (1000).
In the latest Nielsen Audios, "The Score" ticked down to a tie for 20th with an all-ages 1.7 while 'MVP staggered on home at 0.9, deadlocked at 24th.
Those are the sort of audience numbers that would buoy daytime shop-a-rama stations or a house music operation heard near gas pumps at better mini-marts everywhere.
But they're nowhere good enough for two pretenders to the hollow mantle of "Chicago's sports talk leader."
"CHICAGO'S SPORTS TALK BLEEDERS" is a more appropriate tag.
That's because both stations continue to lose listeners. The two also apparently lack the talent, resources and leadership to reverse the spirals.
Since October, by book, troubled Audacy's WSCR has gone 2.6-2.4-1.9 to the current 1.7.
Good Karma's WMVP plumbs even lower straits. In the same span, it's registered 1.7-1.7-1.6, kerplunk, to the updated 0.9.
A MONTH AGO, Craig Karmazin and his leaky raft of snorkelers at AM-1000 had some reason for a mild bubble of optimism.
In December, the station closed to within 0.3 of "The Score" -- by losing less audience. And, beginning in March, it becomes the radio flagship of George McCaskey and his tin-cupping Bears.
Now, a reasonable projection is that any uptick will be minimal -- like the McMunchkins adding a fresh long snapper.
Full-service sports talk in Chicago is in its fourth decade.
But both primary outlets have "nothin'" and quite possibly less than ever.
Their latest listenership numbers give little reason to believe that "somethin'" is on the way.
THE DEATH OF BOBBY HULL at age 84 left sports media in a delicate position.
He was once the most electric hockey player on the planet. Statistics don't do justice to what the golden-jetting iceman could do with a curved blade of wood. His transcendence in that realm remains unassailable.
But in a parallel life, Hull generated repeated dips into matters encompassing domestic abuse and later allegations of racism.
By his own admission, he drank a lot of beer and once had three great prime time joys -- playing hockey, hanging out with people who understood his kind of life and chasing women.
IN THE WORLD OF 2023, "heroes" are subject to ceaseless reevaluation and are always just one bad step or "send" away from public diminishment.
Without Hull the Caveman, there probably wouldn't have been Hull the Fearless Hockey Super Hero. He was a product of his background and his times, enabled by his blueline celebrity.
That doesn't make any of his verifiable wrongs right.
But it does allow a point of step-back perspective from those who believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance:
Boy, could Bobby Hull play hockey.
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• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears Sunday and Thursday Reach him at email@example.com. All communications may be considered for publication.