It’s Mike vs. Marchand.
Two days after sending New York into a frenzy by stating Entercom and the Mike’s On app may not be compatible, Francesa conducted an epic rant of which New York Post reporter, Andrew Marchand received the brunt of.
Since announcing his new Mike’s On app would cost subscribers $8.99 per month, Francesa has received plenty of questions about the platform’s success and worth. Marchand has been largely critical of the app, mocking its quality of content and quantity of subscribers.
After reporting Michael Kay was threatening Francesa in the fall ratings book and stating the Sports Pope could soon drop either the app or his FAN show, Francesa lost his patience and unleashed a 15 minute verbal attack on the New York Post reporter. “A little wanna be who couldn’t get a job at FAN,” said Mike.
“It’s just him shooting a bunch of nonsense…like he did about ratings, which he got from somebody at an opposing station because they thought they might have beat me for a week, but what he didn’t report was I took off time that week to do the Adam Sandler movie, he forgot to bring that up…but of course he wouldn’t…because he’s that poor of a reporter.”
According to Francesa, Marchand stated the Mike’s On app had just 300 subscribers. Mike negated the report, upping the ante by offering Marchand $10,000 per subscriber in cash if he could prove the app had less than 1,000 subscribers, a small sum of $10 million. But if the number of subscribers totaled more than 1,000, Marchand had to pay $10,000 for every subscriber over 1,000 to a charity. It seemed like a trivial way of making a point, but when Marchand contacted WFAN PD Mark Chernoff to set up a time to discuss the app, he was told Francesa ridiculously demanded $500,000 in escrow.
During a recent appearance on Jimmy Traina’s Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Marchand was asked if he was the one who reported the Mike’s On app only had 300 subscribers. “I did not report the 300,” said Marchand, adding “I don’t believe that it’s going too well.”
So where did the 300 number come from? In a September appearance on Traina’s podcast, Marchand said the following.
“Is Mike really going to get the guests that he once did? Is the Green Bay Packers coach going to come on like he once did on the FAN show when they taped it during the week? I just can’t imagine if you’re the Green Bay Packers PR guy and they call you up and say we’d like to have Mike McCarthy on and they’re going to say ‘well what’s your listenership?’…well we have 300 people that have downloaded the app.”
It certainly wasn’t an endorsement of Mike’s app, but the 300 number presented by Marchand was used as an example more than a report.
While Marchand has no plans to put $500,000 in escrow to do an interview with Francesa, nor should he, Mike took to Twitter to disparage the Post reporter one more time Wednesday night.
“The little weasel said I didn’t have 300 subs. Said last night he only knew of one subscriber. But when challenged at 1,000 (One thousand) subs. He would get 10,000 dollars in cash for every sub under 1,000. He ran. FRAUD and LIAR” tweeted Francesa.
Mike is under no obligation to release his number of app subscribers to the public, there is little precedent for doing so, but some of Marchand’s complaints about the app remain legitimate. If Mike could get past the unrealistic $10,000 per subscriber wager, an on-air meeting between Francesa and Marchand could be great radio, maybe it would even be smart to make at an app exclusive.
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.