Changes are coming to KFNS 590 The Fan in St. Louis, beginning with Dino Costa leaving his late night show on the station.
Costa’s second stint with KFNS was longer than his first, but still short-lived after concluding last week. In January, Costa rejoined The Fan for their 11pm – 1am timeslot, returning to the station where he once served as host of their morning show.
In 2016, Costa spent just six weeks at The Fan, quickly departing because of a potential change in management, with station owner Randy Markel bringing in Tim McKernan. McKernan left in 2017, but now appears to be closing in on a deal to purchase KFNS from Markel, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Markel hired Costa for both of his KFNS tenures.
“Whenever there might be a change in management structure, not only for me personally, but I think a lot of people who are at the station have to think about where they might fit in — or not,” Costa told Dan Caesar of The Post-Dispatch. ”Would a new management team have kept my show on board when or if they took over? I don’t know, perhaps not?”
When Markel brought Costa back for his second go-round in St. Louis, the plan was to eventually move him into a more prominent timeslot with the station. After seven months in late-night, Markel still said Costa was set to take over their afternoon show once current host, Frank O. Pinion retired, which was expected to happen by the end of the summer.
With Costa leaving, KFNS restructured O. Pinion’s contract, now planning to keep his entertainment show on afternoon drive indefinitely. Markel, however, would like to refocus The Fan with sports talk. The station’s current owner noted they’ve veered from sports recently with O. Pinion’s afternoon show and Larry Connors political-based program which airs from 9 – 11pm.
“This wasn’t a good fit from the start, we need to go back to our roots, which is sports,” Markel said. “We thought we could change it, but people look at 590 as sports.” For now, O. Pinion and Connors shows will continue to be part of The Fan’s lineup.
Costa is a talented radio host, but his polarizing commentary on politics and social issues have played a role in his struggle to find a consistent home on the dial in recent years. After being let go from SiriusXM in 2013, Costa attempted to create his own platform, charging listeners an annual fee. The sports radio host also had short stints in Portland and New York before returning to St. Louis. According to Costa, he has a new gig lined up which weighed into his decision to leave KFNS.
“I won’t talk about this in any specifics, but I will say that it could be a tremendous opportunity with a platform that plays to my strengths as a talk-show host,” he told Dan Caesar. ”I’ll also say that it’s a project that will expose my show and provide it with visibility that I haven’t known since my days of doing national radio with SiriusXM.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is also reporting that The Fan’s midday lineup will look different beginning this week with 6pm host, Cam Janssen joining Charlie Marlow in the noon hour. Marlow’s previous co-host, Martin Kilcoyne will partner with Frank Cusumano from 10am – noon. Taking over for Janssen in the 6pm hour could be former KXFN host Nick Trupiano, but an official announcement has not been made.
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.