This summer Maggie Gray held nothing back in a rant about Knicks, Rangers, and Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan. Dolan, a musician and frontman of a blues rock band called JD & the Straight Shot, released a song called “I Should Have Known.” It is about Dolan’s friendship with producer Harvey Weinstein and the accusations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein.
Gray took exception to the message of the song. She called it hypocritical in the wake of the Garden being found liable in the sexual harassment suit filed by Anucha Browne Sanders in 2007. Gray even went so far as to call Dolan personally “a vile piece of trash.” She has since apologized for the personal nature of the rant, but does not apologize for the feelings and message behind it.
That clearly isn’t enough for Dolan. He has directed MSG to stop doing business with Entercom across the country. Kim Kearns, an MSG spokesperson, called Gray’s rant “hate-filled” in a statement to The New York Post. She said that the company’s response to Dolan’s concerns was not satisfactory.
They chose to take no action to remedy this until the start of this season. Only after learning they would not receive special access to players and coaches did they elect to offer an insincere half-hearted apology. We wish them no ill will. However, we decline to carry on a business relationship. We will continue to afford Entercom league-mandated access only.
It’s not just restricting access to players and broadcasters in New York. MSG will not work with Entercom or spend money with the company promoting events at venues it owns. That includes both the Garden and Radio City Music Hall in New York, but it will also effect Entercom across the country. MSG owns the Forum in Los Angeles and the Chicago Theater. Entercom owns six stations in each of the three markets.
Gray said on air “I really didn’t mean to cause the pain that I did cause” and added “Name-calling isn’t OK.” Andrew Marchand of The New York Post said that Gray refused to comment further, but said that sources have told him Gray is genuinely remorseful for the position she has put Entercom in.
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.