Among the perks of calling home team baseball on radio rather than television is the extended season.
For the local television broadcaster, the season ends with the final out of Game 162. Radio voices, on the other hand, get to work the post- season ride.
And so Eric Nadel and Matt Hicks will be the familiar voices of Rangers baseball as long the team advances in the playoffs while Steve Busby and Tom Grieve are kaput, finished, done in the booth for the year.
That’s simply the way Major League Baseball and its network partners do business. The national television contracts kick in as soon as the regular season is history.
By contrast in the NBA, the local television broadcasters can work the opening round before signing off. Ditto the NHL.
The National League post-season this year belongs to TBS. Simple one-stop shopping.
The American League’s is a bit more complicated. It belongs to Fox, which farms out first round Division Series games to cable’s Fox Sports1 and MLB Network.
There will be a hodgepodge of TV broadcasters working the Rangers-Toronto Blue Jays best-of-five series. Thursday afternoon’s season opener on FS 1 will feature Kenny Albert, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci in the booth with Ken Rosenthal down on the field. When the series shifts to MLB Network early Friday afternoon, Bob Costas and Jim Kaat will work the booth with Rosenthal doing dugout duty. when the Rangers- Blue Jays return to FS 1 for Sunday night’s prime time Game 3 in Arlington, Thursday’s crew reappears.
Should additional games be necessary, FS 1 and MLB will get back to us.
Back to the constants.
“(Home team) broadcasters live and die with the team everyday of the regular season,” Nadel said. “But when they get to the post- season, the (local) television guys go home… That’s just one reason I prefer radio.”
Nadel has a plethora of reasons he prefers the radio lifestyle. They include: Not being slavishly devoted to the pictures the cameras deliver; he has no director talking into his ear; no dress code; and the relative anonymity that used to come with being a voice rather than a face. That went bye bye, Nadel said, with the brouhaha that came when he won the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in 2014.
The Rangers have tried to move Nadel to television. In 1998 they asked him to replace his former radio partner, the late Mark Holtz. In 2002, he was the first choice to replace Bill Jones. He reluctantly agreed but was saved from bright lights purgatory when Josh Lewin was hired instead.
The Rangers learned their lesson. They have given up asking.
After all, you don’t shift positions for a Hall of Famer still at the top of his game if he doesn’t really want to move.
“I am incredibly pumped for the postseason,” Nadel said. “Isn’t that the dream?”
To read more visit the Dallas Morning News where this article 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.