Wearing T-shirts and shorts, Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith are sitting in a booth at a brew pub on a Monday afternoon munching on flat-bread pizza and fish tacos. In about 30 minutes, they will add headsets to their ensembles and spend the next three hours talking about sports, pop culture, current events and whatever else pops into their brains. Dozens of devoted fans gathered at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse laugh along. So do thousands listening in their cars, on their computers and on their mobile devices.
Is it any wonder Papadakis and Smith love their jobs?
The smartest guys in sports radio are approaching the end of their ninth year together on “The Petros & Money Show,” or PMS, airing at 3 p.m. daily on KLAC/570. PMS remains as vibrant and entertaining as ever; there’s no other sports-talk radio show quite like it.
How have Papadakis and Smith managed to keep their show so fresh and interesting? I sat down with them before last week’s remote at the BJ’s in Orange to find out. Here’s how part of that conversation went:
Did you know each other before you started working together?
Papadakis: Matt was a sports guy at KROQ. He was friends with the PR guy at Fox, a guy named Dennis Johnson. I knew Matt as a person through D.J. He called me when USC got hot, and they asked me to come on the show, to “Kevin & Bean.”
Smith: They’re always looking for KROQ-style personalities instead of stiff sports guys. I was watching him on Fox, and I’m like, “This guy’s perfect. He’s the perfect KROQ guy to talk USC.”
Papadakis: That’s how we met each other. I would go there and do “Kevin & Bean.” And I had the little show on 1540 (AM). He came and hung out for like an hour (one) day. That’s how we started a friendship. We would text or talk. He was at 570 for a year. Then I came over, and we started working together.
Did you know it was going to work?
Smith: No. We hoped that it would.
Papadakis: We weren’t thrown together. We wanted to do the job. I think that says a lot. There’s a lot of situations in our business where people are like, “Hey, you work with him, make it work.”
Smith: That’s what happened to me there. “You work with Joe Grande, and it’s gonna work.” And that clearly was not happening. So yes, we wanted to work together.
What is it about you guys that makes the show work so well? Is it that you’re on the same intellectual plane? That you have the same sense of humor?
Smith: I just have fun doing the show. That’s really it for me. So many guys go into work, or girls go into work, and they’re just miserable. They watch for the next commercial break; they’re watching the clock to see when the show’s gonna end. I can’t speak for him, but that’s now how the show is. I enjoy doing the show.
Papadakis: When it comes down to it, once the show starts, it’s fun to do for us. It’s work, just like anything is work. (But) there’s a certain way that we put the show together and a certain way that the show works and the way we work off each other and the kind of roles we play, which change all the time.
Did you know you’d be on the same wavelength when it came to pop-culture references, etc.?
Papadakis: No, I don’t think so. But I think the interesting thing about it is, if you go into a show and say, “Well, you’re going to be this guy, and I’m going to be that guy,” I don’t think it necessarily works like that. You might get three years out of that. I think we’ve both changed a lot since the show started. I got married and had a family and moved three times. Matt had another kid right when we started. His kids are growing up. And he lost like 50 pounds. He’s a golfer. Different stuff happens. I think we can continue to relate to each other as that’s changed. We don’t always play the same role. I’m not always the goofiest guy on the show.
Smith: I think we get enough references. I certainly don’t get them all. I think the key is to get enough that you have sort of the same foundation, same sort of reference point, things that we’re interested in. There’s enough there. There’s enough differences too, which is important. That’s the other thing. There’s enough where we’re a lot different from one another.
Papadakis: It wouldn’t be very fun if we were the same.
Can you see doing this together for the foreseeable future?
Papadakis: I don’t want to not do the show.
Smith: I enjoy it. It’s a successful show. We’re compensated fairly. I love coming to work every day. I don’t know what else I’d rather do.
Papadakis: It’s a pretty big part of both of our lives. It’s like another person – the show.
Your show is different than a lot of standard sports-talk fare. You have specific segments geared to “not-sports.” Did you set out to do that, or was it, let’s do the show we want to do?
Papadakis: I think it was natural given both of our backgrounds. It was a natural kind of thing for both of us to do. He had come from KROQ, where the sports were one minute an hour and he had to do that and whatever else they were asking him to do. I came from a sports background, but I’ve always been interested in a lot more than that. It was just a natural thing for us to do. Some sports shows try to force that stuff in, and it doesn’t sound natural.
Smith: There’s a “Not-Sports Report,” but most of that is organic. I’m just thinking about last week when he just lobbed out, “Last time you beer-bonged?” That’s a four-minute conversation that became the highlight of a four-hour show. You get more tweets and more emails and more conversation, because it was just natural; it was in the moment. And when those things happen …
You didn’t know he was going to ask that?
Smith: No. It just came up.
Papadakis: We try not to manufacture (material). We’re pretty comfortable with each other. Like, there’s a bunch of stuff that happened over the weekend that I’m sure he’s going to want to talk about. And vice versa. He doesn’t want to tell me too much about it before the show because we really want an honest reaction.
Smith: In the moment.
I’ve heard that before – that sometimes co-hosts won’t talk to each other much off the air so everything is fresh on the air.
Papadakis: And when you spend four hours a day on the air with somebody, you kind of let your relationship play out on the radio.
Smith: I think the shows that go, “I’ll say this, then you go here and” … we don’t do that.
I’m going to watch the first half-hour just to make sure you actually follow through on that.
Papadakis: Cool. You’ll love it. We promise. Best half-hour ever.
How has Petros changed? As you mentioned, he’s gotten married, had two kids.
Smith: His whole life has changed. When I first met him he was going out to 3-4 shows a week, staying out late, watching concerts. We’d drink after work a little bit, hang out a lot more.
Papadakis: I still eat late at night. But now alone.
Smith: Now, we’re probably a lot more similar. We have similar schedules. We have children to take care of.
Papadakis: I understand a lot more of what Matt was like. He’d have to get all this work done right when he got to work. I’d want to talk about everything and gossip about people. He’d want to type. He couldn’t work at home like I could because he had kids hanging (on him). When you’re a bachelor, it’s hard to realize that. I recognize it now.
Smith: But professionally, I don’t think much has changed.
Papadakis: We’re still excited about what’s happening, the show and what’s going on. He just got skinny. He got so skinny that his wedding ring flew off at the Bicycle Casino. We were (crawling) under poker tables to find it. He got so skinny that it made me feel fat. Fatter.
It’s always good when one guy is …
Papadakis: To have a fat guy and a skinny guy? I’m so happy to be the fat guy.
Read more of this article at the OC Register where this was originally published
16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.
The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets.
The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.
New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend
More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.
In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.
Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.
Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.
Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time
Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:
“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”
Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.
Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.