Big Boy‘s exit from KPWR (Power 106)/Los Angeles and the multi-million dollar lawsuit Emmis Communications filed against him for moving to iHeartMedia’s newly-launched Urban competitor KRRL (Real 92.3) made headlines beyond industry trade publications. During Big Boy’s 21-year tenure at Power 106, he became a nationally-known personality and a Los Angeles icon, and his departure was shocking since he’s one of the few talents to have such a long and successful run at one radio station.
Here’s the statement Big Boy released after leaving the station he had previously spent his entire career:
“I feel nothing but love and gratitude for the nearly 21 years I’ve spent with my listeners at Power 106. I am proud of everything I accomplished over the last two decades and the contributions I made to the station’s success. All I want to do right now is get back to what I love, what I am meant to do – wake up every morning and hang with my listeners. They are my family. Their love and devotion mean everything to me.”
But there was something more original than Big Boy’s actual departure from Power 106. The undenied reports that he went from making $1.45 at Power to $3.5 million Real gave radio personalities hope that huge paydays were still achievable in radio. Moreover, Emmis’ efforts to retain Big Boy by matching the iHeartMedia offer showed that radio companies still value talent and are willing to deliver big bucks to both recruit and retain the best.
So is the $3.5 million money well spent by iHeartMedia? From a ratings standpoint, yes. When Big Boy was on Power 106, the station as a whole had a 4.0 share with listeners 6+ in January 2015. But since his exit in February, Power has steadily declined over three monthly PPM ratings reports. In the latest April 2015 ratings, Power 106 6+ share dipped to 2.5.
Conversely, Real 92.3 launched with a 2.5 share in the overall 6+ demo in February, rose to 3.2 in March after “Big Boy’s Neighborhood” launched, and maintained at 3.1 in April.
Big Boy has collected numerous awards and accolades for his outstanding talent as a radio personality, and it’s awesome to see him compensated so handsomely for hosting one of the most entertaining morning shows in America. While some Program Directors minimize the value of talent by telling personalities that the music is the star, Big Boy PROVES that talent still does matter in radio when it comes to ratings that translate into revenue.
Even though iHeartMedia won the battle for Big Boy over Emmis, other personalities should be encouraged to see that at least two important radio companies are still willing to pay a premium for great talent.
UPDATED: June 10th, 2015
In the Nielsen ratings released on June 8th, Real 92.3 grew from a 3.1 to a 3.3 share with listeners 6+.