There’s never a slow week in sports media, and the past week was no exception. Here’s a look at a few news items which you might not be aware of. As always, if you have a news tip, press release or station promotion to share, you can pass it along via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Sources tell BSM that an internal change is taking place inside the ESPN Radio network. VP of ESPN Audio Dave Roberts, who also oversees production for First Take, is turning his focus towards more of ESPN’s television programming. With Roberts shifting to television, Marcia Keegan, ESPN’s VP of Production since 2007 is expected to assume a larger role inside the ESPN Audio division.
The good times keep on rolling for 101 ESPN in St. Louis. The station finished the winter book in 3rd place among Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p. Their afternoon show The Fast Lane led its time slot, finishing 1st. The Bernie Miklasz Show registered a 3rd place finish in mornings, and in middays, The Kevin Wheeler Show was 4th and The Turn with Anthony Stalter and Chris Duncan came in 5th. A very impressive showing by St. Louis’ dominant sports radio brand.
Congrats to both 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI on a strong performance in the Boston winter ratings book. The Hub finished ahead in the key three dayparts (morning, middays and afternoons) but WEEI has closed the gap significantly. The station is up year to year by 14% while the Hub has dropped 15% during that time. With the Red Sox back on the field and both station’s shows firing on all cylinders it’ll be interesting to see how the competition between these two elite sports radio brands develops during the next quarter.
Following its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, the much anticipated television premiere of the Mike and the Mad Dog 30 for 30 will debut on Thursday July 13th. The documentary is scheduled to air that night at 8pm ET on ESPN.
After learning last week that his longtime on-air partner Terry Foster was retiring, 97.1 The Ticket host Mike Valenti announced that he has no desire to fill the seat which Foster has occupied for over a decade. Valenti said that doing so would feel wrong and disrespectful, and if or when it makes sense to add a co-host to the show, those intentions will be announced. For now he plans to host the afternoon show solo on the Detroit sports radio station.
With Andy Gresh now in Providence hosting evenings for WPRO, his former radio home WTIC in Hartford has decided to go in a different direction in afternoons. As a result, Gresh’s partner Joe D’Ambrosio will no longer host a daily show on the radio station. D’Ambrosio will continue to be hear on the station as the play-by-play voice of UConn football and men’s basketball, and he’ll step in from time to time as a fill in talk show host.
Chris LoPresti has announced that he’s stepping down as WFAN‘s New York Jets reporter, a position he held for the past four seasons. The search for his replacement is already in progress.
Congrats to Rick Camp who enjoyed his maiden voyage hosting on 670 The Score in Chicago this past weekend. The longtime producer was given an opportunity by program director Mitch Rosen to host Sunday morning from 7am-9am CT. Camp is hopeful of gaining additional chances to grace the windy city airwaves in the future.
Westwood One has agreed to distribute the new eSports program, Checkpoint Radio, which is a product of Rick Scott and Associates, and Kevin Graham‘s Ripple Content. The show is hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Joe Sloan and Norris Howard and runs two-hour in length. For more information about the show click here.
Richard Deitsch shared a great sports media story which is worthy of being re-told. During an on-air interview with Darren McFarland on 102.5 The Game in Nashville, NHL play-by-play man Doc Emrick shared his email address over the airwaves, encouraging young broadcasters to contact him if they wanted his feedback on their work. A classy gesture from the NHL’s top broadcaster.
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.