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Under The Radar – March 21, 2018

Jason Barrett



A few news items to pass along that you may not be aware of. A reminder, to have your brand or personal industry related news featured in a future UTR column please forward any pertinent information via email to Now here are the latest developments.

One of the best parts of this business is seeing good things happen to good people. That’s the case in Bristol, CT where ESPN Radio is losing one of their sharpest and most well rounded behind the scenes members to television. Ray Necci is giving up his multi-platform role with the radio network to help ESPN‘s new morning show “Get Up” featuring Mike Greenberg, Jalen Rose and Michelle Beadle. Necci will also work with SC:AM. Necci has spent close to nineteen years with ESPN Radio producing many of the network’s top programs and serving as a manager. His switch to television will benefit those he works closest with.

FOX Sports Radio Knoxville host Cody McClure became a topic of conversation in media circles recently after sounding off on Twitter about Sister Jean during the NCAA Tournament. After watching Tennessee get eliminated by Loyola-Chicago, McClure tweeted “F–k Sister Jean, everyone.” The tweet was noticed by Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde who took McClure to task and said he deserved to be terminated by his employer. The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, USA Today and numerous other outlets have since produced stories on the situation. McClure was not fired and said the tweet was a joke and a reflection of how Tennessee fans were feeling in the room that he was in following the tournament loss. McClure added that he’d gladly apologize to Sister Jean, but hoped she knew that his comments were delivered in joking fashion. McClure did ask “when is society going to be able to learn how to take a joke again?” He pointed out that people in real life joke about things that they wouldn’t post online, and it’s hypocritical.

Just when you’ve thought you’ve seen it all, something new transpires. That was the case in Tampa, FL where WDAE host JP Peterson found himself in the middle of an unexpected situation. While discussing the Tampa Bay Bucs’ free agent signing of Beau Allen with Chris Landry who had phoned in as a guest, the longtime football scout became perturbed with JP’s line of questioning and hung up on the Tampa sports radio host. Peterson said it was the first time in 10 years a guest had hung up on him. Did Landry have a valid reason to end the conversation or did he overreact? Take a listen and decide for yourself.

710 ESPN Seattle sports radio host and longtime NFL insider John Clayton was recently honored by his hometown of Braddock, PA. The town declared Sunday March 18th ‘John Clayton Day’. The sports media veteran was on hand to enjoy the festivities which included reconnecting with thirty people he grew up with.

In the Bay Area, 95.7 The Game has added Jerry Rice as a weekly contributor. The NFL legend who previously contributed to the station in 2014 will visit with Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley every Monday at 8am during the upcoming football season. Rice will also contribute to the station’s programming during the off-season and NFL Draft.

Matt Hammond is moving east. After spending the past few years contributing in a part-time role for Sports Radio 610 in Houston, Hammond is relocating to Philadelphia to take on a similar role at Sports Radio 94 WIP. Hammond says he’s looking forward to working in a tough sports market closer to home.

If you’ve followed the NFL or College Football for the past twenty years, specifically the Tennessee Titans or Florida Gators, you’ll likely remember Tight End Ben Troupe. He played for the Gators from 2000-2003 and was selected 40th overall by the Titans in the 2nd round of the 2004 NFL Draft. What you may not know is that Troupe has taken the plunge into the sports radio business. The former football player is now part of a three man show “Three and Out” which airs on ESPN Coastal. The Savannah Morning News did a nice profile piece on his entry into the business. You can read it by clicking here.

A tip of the cap is in order for the digital team at 104.3 The Fan in Denver. The station produced a series of videos looking at the Top 10 free agent signings in Denver Broncos history. Each video was well produced and featured discussion from The Fan’s on-air staff. It was a great example of taking a subject during a slower period of the year and creating content which served a benefit both on the air and in the social space. Kudos to Armen Williams and his crew. To watch the introductory video click here. You can also find the 10  signings videos by visiting the station’s YouTube page right here.

FM expansion is part of Neuhoff Media‘s plan for one of their local sports radio brands. ESPN 1450 WASK-AM in Lafayette, Indiana has been re-branded as 101.7 The Hammer. The station will now be heard on both 101.7FM and 1450AM.

A number of notable writers have announced their exits including Gary Meyers of the New York Daily News. Meyers spent the past 29 years with the New York newspaper and thanked the public for their support of his work via Twitter. No word yet on what Gary has planned next.

Jim Trotter is another supremely talented scribe who’s moving on to new endeavors. Trotter tweeted last week that his four year run at ESPN had come to an end. He hinted however at a new opportunity being announced soon.

In local circles, few sports radio hosts have embraced the dive into the podcast space like Scott Kaplan of the Mighty 1090 in San Diego. Since launching his solo project, Kaplan has talked to a number of people from different career fields, and although many episodes have been excellent, none have produced more real life emotion, passion and personal connection than Kaplan’s 12th episode which included a conversation with Andrew Pollack, the father of 18 year old Meadow Pollack who was gunned down and killed during the Parkland High School shootings. A former resident to the area himself, Kaplan traveled to Pollack’s home and sat down for a riveting conversation about one of the most challenging situations of his life. To hear the episode click here.

For those who enjoy Bomani Jones‘ work, the ESPN personality has announced his podcast will return on April 3rd. Stay tuned via social media for further details.

And in less pleasant news, The Jake Brown Show has gone away for now. The show was dropped due to Entercom taking over CBS and eliminating podcasts in favor of their own network, Cadence13.

Sports Radio News

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.



Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.



MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”



Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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