The Bruins and Hurricanes playoff series may have ended last week, but that hasn’t stopped Boston and Charlotte sports radio hosts from continuing their back and forth.
Two weeks ago, Fred Toucher, co-host of Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, abruptly ended an interview with Hurricanes beat reporter Chip Alexander because of his southern accent. This jump-started a media battle between Boston and Carolina, with Toucher and Rich at the center of it. On Monday, the Sports Hub duo laughed at another southern voice, this time it was Kyle Bailey, afternoon host of Charlotte’s Sports Radio WFNZ.
Bailey was interested in having Fred Toucher join the program and his producer, Julian Council reached out with an invitation. The Boston morning host and Beasley Media employee declined the invite because he’s not allowed on Entercom owned stations, which WFNZ is, but wanted to know how Julian acquired his cell phone number.
WFNZ’s afternoon drive producer declined to share who gave him the number, which angered Toucher and caused Julian Council to block the Boston radio host’s cell phone. Noticing he was blocked, Toucher claimed on-air that he had others call the producer, which Julian later said was a lie and never happened.
“Why would I lie about being a psycho?” Toucher responded.
Kyle Bailey came to his producer’s defense, telling his Charlotte audience, “Fred Toucher’s a mouth-breathing jackass and a liar.”
“I’ll be up there in July, to see the in-laws for vacation, so instead of calling and trying to bully my producer, you’re welcome to bring your complaints straight to me,” Bailey added. “My name’s on the show so instead of harassing Julian just let me know when you’re free and I’ll stop by in July and we can figure this out like grown men.”
The challenge garnered a chuckle out of Toucher and Rich, with Fred saying, “If he comes up to see the in-laws and he finds me and wants to fight I’ll fight him.” But Toucher doesn’t want to do any planning, Bailey needs to do the leg-work.
“If he can find me in my personal life and wants to fight, I will fight him,” Fred added.
Toucher said he will not have a boxing match for charity, circa 2003 when New York radio hosts Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk pulled the bit. Toucher said Bailey just needs to find him outside of the radio station and start the fight.
Charlotte (which isn’t even the home of the Carolina Hurricanes) and Boston aren’t known for their sports rivalry and most likely never will be, but their radio hosts are certainly capable of stirring the pot. It’s unlikely anything will come of this challenge, but once Bailey is off-air for a week in July, expect listeners from both cities to follow up on social media in an attempt to organize a meet and greet.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.