The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Dodgers radio ratings up 78 percent during TV standoff

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With more than a quarter of the season already played, Time Warner still hasn't been able to complete deals with any major television providers to carry the new all-Dodgers channel, which has left about 70 percent of fans in the region unable to watch games.

Instead, many fans say they are listening to games on the radio. 

“I grew up at a time when you could listen to the game by radio, so I’m reliving those days," Gilda Lopez told me at the Dodgers home opener. "Right now it’s all about AM."

Now, we have our first hard evidence of the switch from radio to TV.

Last month, the closely-watched AQH (Average Quarter-Hour Persons) for Fox Sports 570, the Dodgers Los Angeles flagship station, was up a whopping 78 percent on weeknights – when games aired on 14 of 22 nights – over last April. An average of 14,400 people were listening during any 15-minute period from 7 p.m. to midnight last month, versus an average of 8,100 in April 2013, according to Arbitron numbers analyzed by KPCC.

The share of the local radio audience listening to Dodger games went from 3.3 in April 2013 to 6.5 last month.

Some of the increase can be attributed to greater interest in the team after last season's playoff run, but the weeknight AQH is actually higher during the same hours than it was during the run-up to the playoffs and the playoffs last September (11,400) and October (14,000). 

Fox Sports 570's weeknight "cume" rating was up 19 percent last month compared to last April. 

Comparing radio and TV ratings is a bit apples and oranges, but clearly, for the Dodgers, the radio and TV numbers are headed in opposite directions; An average of just 45,000 households are watching  games on TV, according to Nielsen. That's a drop of nearly 63%, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

Fox Sports 570 and its corporate parent, Clear Channel, declined to comment as did The Dodgers and Arbitron, which is owned by The Nielsen Company.

Michael Harrison, publisher of the radio industry trade magazine, Talkers, cautioned that radio ratings can impacted by many different factors but he's confident the lack of Dodgers' TV carriage is helping Dodgers radio ratings.

"That would undoubtedly bring more people to the radio, no question," said Harrison.

Aside from radio ratings, attendance could also be another beneficiary of the TV standoff. The team leads MLB in attendance, averaging 46,194 fans through 22 games, up from an average of 42,706 through 24 games last year.

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