WDAE (95.3 & 96.7 FM/620 AM) and the University of South Florida have announced a new partnership which will bring USF football radio broadcasts to the Tampa sports station starting this fall. The agreement also includes the station expanding USF’s popular “Bulls Unlimited” digital radio programming by offering to two channels on iHeart Radio.
“We are very excited to be partnering with one of the most widely listened to sports stations in the state to bring USF football games to our fans and expand our groundbreaking digital platform,” Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said. “WDAE is synonymous with sports in the Bay area and we look forward to a tremendous partnership that will continue to expand the USF brand and help connect more fans with the excitement of our Bulls sports teams.”
The three-year deal will kickoff this fall with USF football games airing live on three stations that simulcast the WDAE signal – 95.3 FM, 96.7 FM and 620 AM. All Bulls football games will be heard on WDAE’s stations except when conflicts arise with Tampa Bay Rays baseball games. When Rays conflicts arise, USF football will shift to WHNZ 1250 AM and the “Bulls Unlimited” iHeart Radio channel.
“We are thrilled to welcome USF to the iHeartMedia family,” Market President Chris Soechtig said. “Having a partnership with Tampa Bay’s home team on 95.3 WDAE further solidifies our commitment to deliver exceptional local sports coverage to our listeners. We are counting down the days to kick off!”
USF’s expanded digital radio presence is expected to provide greater flexibility for airing game broadcasts and other content surrounding the school’s 19 sports teams. The “Bulls Unlimited” digital channel on iHeart Radio, will continue airing all football games and become the primary home for USF men’s and women’s basketball and baseball broadcasts.
Additionally, WDAE will carry some postseason contests involving USF basketball and baseball. The station will also air the USF Football Radio Show on a weekly basis throughout the season as well as the last hour of the pregame show and a 30-minute postgame show during football game broadcasts. The first hour of the Bulls’ traditional two-hour football pregame show will air exclusively on “Bulls Unlimited.”
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.