Radio broadcaster for the UCLA Bruins and New York Mets, Josh Lewin, launched a mental health website to help those who are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Lewin’s okaytogether.com will offer advice from experts and direction to organizations that can help someone suffering from anxiety. The site will also share stories from athletes and entertainers discussing mental health issues and ways they cope with it.
“The first step, to me, is coming to peace with the fact that you’re playing the game,” Lewin told the L.A. Times. “You don’t really choose it, it chooses you and what I’ve told people is, if you’ve ever sat down to play a video game and you realize that your console control wasn’t hooked up, you’re mashing the A button and the B button and your character just isn’t moving, it’s frozen, and the monsters are coming at you, that’s a horrible feeling and my guess, the more that I kind of peel the layers back, is that that’s where a lot of people are. They just kind of feel like they don’t even have that ability to figure out the first step or what the hell this is that they’re dealing with.
“The website isn’t how to beat the game, it’s just simply about how to at least get your console working so that you can begin the process of avoiding the monsters. It’s Step 1, just realize that you’re part of a community that’s welcoming.”
Lewin, who has been open about suffering from depression and anxiety, began thinking of ways to help others with the same issues after the self-inflicted deaths of San Diego Chargers Junior Seau and Paul Oliver . Lewin was the Chargers play-by-play announcer at the time.
Following the recent suicides of former UCLA basketball players Tyler Honeycutt and Billy Knight, Lewin felt compelled to create the website to help give those suffering from depression and anxiety a space where they wouldn’t feel alone.
It can be difficult for people to understand why someone who appears to “have it all” would suffer from depression as Lewin previously noted.
“When I struggled with anxiety and depression in my last couple years as the Texas Rangers’ baseball play-by-play announcer, the few people in whom I confided expressed genuine shock. “Depressed? About what? You’ve got a great job! Legions of adoring fans! A wonderful family! Dude, what’s your problem?”
Lewin continued, “In an anxious state, all I could see were the things I couldn’t do or didn’t have, and the person I couldn’t be. I had no appreciation whatsoever for anything I already was. No matter what I did, I had this foreboding sense that it would never be enough. And if the people in my life who mattered had the “gall” to appreciate or acknowledge the talents of others, I took it as a punch in the face. It was a scary, lonely, exhausting way to go through life.”
After learning ways to find peace himself and seeing others around him continue to struggle, Lewin hopes his website, okaytogether.com, can provide a starting point for people suffering from depression and anxiety to get help.
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.