Originally posted Tuesday, April 9, 2019 from RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Five Atlanta sports talk shows again make Talkers magazine’s very subjective most influential Heavy Hundred sports shows nationwide.
In its seventh annual list that just came out, 92.9/The Game’s afternoon show Carl Dukes and Mike Bell are again given the top Atlanta spot, ranked 16th. It’s the show’s best ranking to date, up from 21st last year and 32 in 2017. Dukes is the only original host left on the Game since its debut in 2012. Bell is a likable veteran radio host who used to be on 790/The Zone and joined the Game in 2014.
“Always knew Carl and I would kick butt together,” Bell wrote me today. “Having fun doing it and we think it shows.”
Meanwhile, rival 680/The Fan is well represented with three shows. The Front Row, which moved to early mornings last year, debuted on the list for the first time at a lofty No. 25. The show features Stephen “Steak” Shapiro, Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran.
Golden is the highest ranking female on the list and the only notable female on Atlanta sports talk radio.
“We used to joke that we must be at 101,” Golden said. “We take this all tongue in cheek. It’s quite an honor probably no one cares about.”
At No. 39 is the Game’s morning show featuring John Fricke and Hugh Douglas, down from 26 last year but ahead of its ranking of 45 in 2017.
Chuck Oliver and Matt Chernoff, the Fan’s long-time afternoon show, ranked 48. That’s their worst showing to date. They peaked at No. 15 in 2014, slipped to 24 for two years, then fell to 35.
Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino, now airing from 9 to noon, ranked 64, down slightly from 57 in 2018.
Early afternoon Fan hosts John Kincade and Buck Belue fell off the list last year and didn’t appear this year either. The Game’s recently disbanded mid-day pairing of Rick Kamla and John Michaels also didn’t make the cut.
A former pairing from 99X days - Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb - are now a top-rated sports talk show in Boston and are ranked at No. 6, their best showing yet.
Michael Harrison, the long-time editor of Talkers magazine, said sports talk remains “one of the hot spots in radio. Unlike music radio, sports talk has taken ownership of a significant piece of sports culture in America. It remains on the street level with fans and influences owners, managers and players.”
He knows the rankings are a bit apples to oranges, trying to compare largely localized shows with each other. Shows from sports-heavy markets such as Boston, New York, Detroit, Dallas, Chicago and Philadelphia tend to rank higher. Shows in smaller markets such as Portland, Ore. and Nashville pop up more in the bottom half.
Some national syndicated shows are included. Fox Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd remains No. 1 for a second year.
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