The Rams’ departure has an impact on people who have covered their games, though certainly not to the extent of those who work for the team and stand to lose their jobs or move far away. For the Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas, reporting on the Rams has been his full-time job. For radio broadcasters Steve Savard and D’Marco Farr, it is moonlighting.
Thomas has reported on the team since it arrived in 1995, the only person to have covered each of the 431 “St. Louis” Rams’ games — including playoffs and exhibitions. Post-Dispatch sports editor Roger Hensley said “it’s too early” to know what Thomas will do next, but there is a possibility he’ll continue to cover the NFL.
“Those conversations will take place next week,” he said.
Thomas said he hasn’t looked ahead much.
“We’re almost like players during the season, were focused on what’s immediately ahead,’’ he said. “I’m sure we’ll sit down in the near future and talk about it. We have to follow this (NFL situation) for a while, to see if St. Louis has the desire to pursue another team. It may not have been enticing to Kroenke, but $400 million could be enticing to a team in a normal-size market.”
There have been hard feelings expressed locally, with Mayor Francis Slay saying he has no interest in pursuing another team. But, as Thomas points out, things can change and cites Rams coach Dick Vermeil, who retired shortly after the team’s improbable Super Bowl victory to cap the 1999 season. but regretted the decision and soon thereafter returned to the sidelines, in Kansas City.
“They always say, ‘Step away from something like that for a while’” before making a decision, Thomas said. “Maybe St Louis will do that.”
Savard has been the team’s radio play-by-play broadcaster since 2000, hired after Mike Bush stepped down following his only season (the Super Bowl winner) in the booth.
Savard, who then was the sports director at KMOV (Channel 4), now is the station’s lead male news anchor and assumes his Rams days are over.
“I haven’t been called, I’m sure that’s not a priority for them now,’’ he said. “I’m also sure there are many capable, able-bodied, play-by-play guys chomping at the bit in Southern California to do the job.
“I’m operating under the assumption that I probably have called my last Rams game. I had 16 great years, fortunate to have 16 years calling Rams games as a second job.”
He did not want to amplify on the possibilities of commuting to continue doing the broadcasts.
“I have gainful employment to fall back on at KMOV,’’ he said. “For me to talk at any more length right now about the play-by-play job would be disrespectful to those who are losing their jobs at Rams Park because of the move. There are lives and careers being interrupted by this and I’d be a horse’s patoot if I made myself a topic of discussion. I’m fine, my focus is on my job at KMOV right now.
“I feel bad for the fans who showed up on Sundays, screamed their lungs out and paid there money to support the team. And I feel bad for anyone whose job and career are in jeopardy. I sincerely mean that.”
Farr has been the radio analyst since 2009, when WXOS began broadcasting the games and the year he was hired as a key member of the station’s afternoon drive-time show — on which he remains. He could not be reached.
To read more visit STL Today 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.