The Sports Animal replaces Progressive Talk

Last Friday afternoon, WINZ 940 dropped its Progressive Talk lineup in favor of Fox Sports.  They’ll be going by the name The Sports Animal 940 and will be broadcasting Fox Sports programming, the Florida Gators and the Miami Heat.

By switching its format to sports, 940 joins an oversaturated sports programming market.  Ratings leaders WQAM (560), The Ticket (WAXY – 790) are joined by WFTL sister stations 640 and 1400 providing sports outlets for a very weak sports talk market. 

As a Progressive Talk station, WINZ beat each of the 4 sports stations as they finished second in the battle of English AM stations.  Only conservative talk WIOD finished ahead of WINZ in the ratings.  Both stations are owned by Clear Channel.


I found this statement on the Rhodes Scholar board where my previous post on this subject was linked.   The original link can be found here.

This statement contains numerous inaccuracies which I must point out.

“The audience for the format is very loyal but also very small compared to WIOD, WQAM/WAXY and the FM’s.”

First of all, AM radio is not as popular as FM in any market that I am aware of.  There are only a couple of AM stations that do remarkably well and the rest post mediocre numbers.  WIOD is the number one English station in the market so I could say that about every other English speaking station.  The way that WINZ management can make the WQAM/WAXY comment true is if they combined the numbers from both stations.  WINZ as a progressive station beat both WQAM and WAXY individually.  And remember that WQAM broadcasts The Neil Rogers Show from 10-2 which consistently ranks atop the ratings.

They proceed to discuss the sales numbers which I can not dispute since I do not have access to their data but what I can point out is the logic behind this.  It is important for me to once again state that in the last ratings book WINZ finished above WQAM, WAXY (The Ticket), WFTL 640 and 1400. 

640 previously broadcasted Fox Sports to dismal ratings.  Fox Sports switched this past Friday to WINZ.  Why would we expect the ratings to improve drastically especially since most listeners are happy with the local programming on WQAM and WAXY? 

Therefore, if the ratings on WINZ plummet as logic would indicate, how could the WINZ management expect the sales numbers to improve if so few people would be listening?


“So the economy, Randi Rhodes (a huge part of WINZ) losing her syndication and the size of the listening audience forced this company to make this decision.”

The Economy:  Did the economy just get bad?  Did I miss something for the last 8 years? 

Randi Rhodes:  Randi’s last show was February 3, 2009


In doing research, I discovered this link that referenced a format switch on February 2, 2009. Black Monday continued: WINZ flipping to sports?  

This decision was not made on the fly.  This must have been in the works.

I found this blurb on the Miami Herald website dated January 29, 2009.  Randi Rhodes was still on the air.


• Though the station isn’t confirming it, WINZ-940 will become a Fox Sports radio affiliate in March — a move that will allow owner Clear Channel to reduce costs. WINZ now airs news, talk shows and live sports, including Heat games. The new lineup will include Fox shows such as Steve Czaban (6-9 a.m.) and Chris Myers (3-7 p.m.), Dan Patrick‘s syndicated program from 9 a.m. to noon and Jim Rome from noon to 3 p.m.

WFTL-640 is carrying Fox Radio programming, but Steve Lapa (who runs WFTL) was informed recently that Fox struck a deal with another local station. Lapa said WFTL-640 will keep a sports format, but he hasn’t settled on the programming beyond Jeff DeForrest‘s morning show, which will add an hour and run from 6 to 10 a.m.

WFTL-1400 will remain an ESPN Radio affiliate. WINZ’s format switch means the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market will have five all-sports stations, including WQAM and 790 The Ticket.


 Size of the audience:  Remember that they were the #2 English AM in the market.  If that is the case, shouldn’t every station dump their format or go off the air?

*  *  *  *  *  *

The fact is Clear Channel owns WINZ along with 7 other South Florida stations.  They can do whatever they want.  Complaining to WINZ management will do no good.  This was not a rash decision and was clearly planned for months. 

So what do we do about it?

My recommendation is that we all contact WFTL 850 and ask them to consider dropping their weak conservative talk format (their ratings barely register) and pick up Progressive Talk broadcasting as many shows live as possible. 

Local programming at 6-9, Stephanie Miller from 9-noon, Thom Hartmann from noon-3, Randi Rhodes from 3-6 (more on her in a moment) and Mike Malloy from 9-midnight. 

I’m sorry to say that I am not a huge Lionel fan and nor do I enjoy the program from 6-9 on Sirius.

Randi Rhodes started on Nova M on April 10, 2008.  I have to assume that she is under a 1 year contract which means that we should be hearing more from her any day now. 

A shake-up at 850 is necessary and their conservative programming is loaded with WIOD rejects. 

Regardless, any station would be wise to consider the Progressive Talk line-up.  WINZ had good ratings and every listener would most certainly move to the new station. 

If you have suggestions on how we can bring Progressive Talk back to South Florida – please let me know.

If I hear anything – rumors or facts – I will post on this site and link to it from this post.


Click here to read original post and associated comments.  Progressive Radio to Leave South Florida?



11 responses to “The Sports Animal replaces Progressive Talk

  1. Pingback: Progressive radio to leave South Florida? « My 2 Buck$

  2. Ed Schultz is another progressive voice.. He is good.. the link to his site is Of course there is always AirAmerica to consider….

  3. I’m not sure but I suspect Ed Schultz’s show is ending because he is on MSNBC.

  4. The following comment was written on my other post on this subject. Thank you Beau.

    This is the Internet – where no one can hear you scream. Let’s not simply roll-over here folks.

    To make change (Yes, we can), simply call, write, or email WFTL 850 radio and let them know they have a ‘Progressive Audience’ waiting for them and their advertisers.

    James Crystal Radio, Inc. dba 850 WFTL Radio
    6600 N. Andrews Avenue Suite 160
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309

    Phone: 954-315-1515
    Fax: 954-315-1555

    E-mail directly from their web site:

  5. Are you sure that 850 would be the best place for progressive to move. I live in West Miramar, which is fairly central to the three county area. I tuned in 850 and had almost no signal.

  6. Mark,
    I’ve frequently been to the western Pines Blvd area near Silver Lakes and I get 850 with no problem. The problem is finding a station that would be willing to change formats and one that actually has decent coverage. I am open to suggestions.

  7. I sent an email to News Talk 850 and surprisingly I got a response from the director, here is what he said:


    Thank you for your feedback.

    It is unlikely we’ll be adding more “progressive” programming on WFTL. We experimented with it once, with “The Jim Defede Show.” It was a bomb. Not only were his ratings abysmal, but people actually stopped listening to the other shows on the station, too.

    We’ll probably stick to the two shows we currently have, The Stacy Ritter Report on Saturdays at 11am and Andre Eggelletion on Sundays at noon.

    Also, please realize that if ratings on 940 were really that good, they would not have changed format. Progressive talk was not making money for them. We would not likely pick up a format that failed.

    Thank you for listening

    Ken Pauli
    Director of News & Operations
    News-Talk 850, WFTL
    WFTL 640 Sports
    WFTL 1400 ESPN
    Fort Lauderdale/Miami/West Palm Beach
    office: 954-315-1525
    James Crystal Holdings Inc.

    —–Original Message—–
    Sent: Thu, 16 Apr 2009 3:23 pm
    Subject: Response to form: General Inquiries

    Form Name: General Inquiries

    Submitted information :

    Question: Name
    Answer: Fernando

    Question: Question/Comment
    Answer: I would like to encourage you all to drop conservative talk which has brought your station weak ratings, and adopt the format that used to be on 940 Winz, which was progressive talk. They used to have very high ratings until they were switched to a sports network. Thank you

  8. I had gotten the same email about Defede and Ritter that you received – word for word. Except mine, interestingly, didn’t include the ratings comment. My email to Ken Pauli included ratings numbers so I assume that he didn’t want to challenge the numbers.

    They will not drop their conservative talk format – for obvious reasons.

  9. Hands And Dreams

    Wow, thanks for doing all the footwork on this one. I was outraged that my morning commute with Stephanie Miller had been cancelled, and wondered just what the blazes happened. I second that notion to ask 850 to do progressive, I can hardly listen to them currently. I’d rather listen to 610.

  10. I sent 850 an email and was quickly shot down. We’ll definitely need a different option. Obviously 850 management would prefer to have bad ratings with their second tier conservative programming than have strong ratings with progressive programming.

    At least we have 5 choices for sports programming [said sarcastically]

  11. I saw some people talking about WFTL as a new home for liberal talk. Don’t get your hopes up.

    I sent them an email soon after WINZ went off the air, and they basically said they’d rather be Florida’s second best conservative talk station than the top liberal talker.