Two weeks after losing their spot on the AM dial, The Mighty 1090 has fully ceased operations. Mid day host Darren Smith tweeted that management at 1090’s parent company, the Broadcast Company of the Americas, pulled the plug on the station’s stream in the middle of his show on Monday.
When reached via text Smith told Barrett Sports Media that he wouldn’t describe the shutdown as a surprise necessarily. “My best guess was that Monday was the final day and we’d be told of our shutdown on Tuesday morning.”
Emotions of the Mighty 1090 staff were on full display in a Twitter video on Scott Kaplan’s account.
“For the last two weeks, Mighty 1090 programming has only been available online and through our mobile app,” a message on The Mighty 1090’s website reads. “We can’t thank you enough for bearing with us through this ordeal. Unfortunately, we have ceased operations. We are forever grateful for your passion, loyalty, and all your support over the years.”
“Well, it’s not pretty,” Kaplan responded when asked to describe the scene when management let him know the station was no longer in operation.
Darren Smith echoed the disappointment. “It’s brutal,” he said in a text. “Change is inevitable in the biz and we all know that but this is just wrong.”
In a three part message on Twitter morning man Ben Higgins expressed his disappointment and then took time to celebrate what he and his co-workers had created.
As for next steps, Smith told BSM that while he was focused on making the streaming station a success, he was always aware that this could be The Mighty 1090’s ultimate fate.
“Personally, I’ve thought about health insurance and preparing financially for loss of income. How long can I survive in San Diego without income? I’ve had those talks with my wife and advisor for months.
“Professionally, what decisions might I have to make – stay local or look out of market? Talk radio or something different entirely? Stay in sports or a different media field?
“I hoped we’d have a different endgame but wasn’t naive about the reality.”
Kaplan said he was focused on making the company a success in the streaming space. “I believe we have a winning team and can have a real digital business,” he said in a text.
He has also been working on putting together a group of investors to purchase Mighty 1090. Kaplan said that effort is not dead. He told Barrett Sports Media that he intends to present a letter of intent to take over operation of the station on Wednesday.
Barrett Sports Media will bring you more on this story as it develops.
UPDATE (4/30 @ 9:57 AM)
Scott Kaplan tweeted this morning that there is a meeting scheduled for 11 AM. There he plans to unveil his plan for taking over the station.
Fans of Mighty 1090 responded to the Tweet with excitement. Kaplan then singled out San Diego Union-Tribune business reporter Lori Weisberg in a Tweet alluding to her interest in the meeting.
UPDATE (4/30 @ 4:11 PM)
Scott Kaplan’s Twitter feed hosted a live video earlier today at noon Pacific time. Many 1090 staffers expressed their frustration and disappointment after leaving a meeting with management where they were told that the station is shutting down.
Craig Elsten accused GM Mike Glickenhaus of hiding from his staff during the meeting where they were informed that the station was officially out of business. It is similar to a remark he made on Twitter earlier in the day.
Kaplan himself reiterated that his goal is to keep this team together. How quickly that happens remains to be seen. Several hosts apparently told Kaplan they need a break before resuming their broadcasting duties.
“Sponsors have said ‘we will stay with you,'” Kaplan could be overhead telling one off-screen co-worker. He claims to have a broadcast space ready to go, and will be doing his afternoon show from there today beginning at 3pm Pacific.
As for reactions to the news, they varied widely. Kaplan noted that the staff “did not let 1090 die. 1090 died as a result of a big, cancerous tumor in the office down there.” It was clear he was talking about management, but he did not say who specifically.
Linda Welby, who was part of Kaplan’s afternoon show took the high road. She described herself as “sad, but not mad,” offering a very matter of fact assessment of the situation. “This is radio and that’s how it goes.”
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.