Six months after being let go by SportsTalk 790 KBME in Houston, Josh Innes launched two daily podcasts on Monday, one centered on Philadelphia sports and the other Houston-based.
The free agent radio host’s most recent tenure on terrestrial airwaves ended in March, after nearly two years in morning drive on iHeartMedia’s SportsTalk 790 in Houston. It was the second tenure in Houston for Innes, who also had a stint on WIP in Philadelphia.
Joined by his fiance Jilly, Innes aired both podcasts back to back, with plans to release daily episodes lasting between 45 minutes and one hour for each city. During his Houston podcast, Innes detailed some of the drama that led to his departure from SportsTalk 790 in March, including his antics causing the station getting kicked off radio row at the Super Bowl in 2018.
According to Innes, his relationship with the station started to fracture even before the Super Bowl incident. Innes specifically pointed to 2017, when his 790 colleague, Adam Clanton allegedly shared a picture of Josh wearing a Russell Westbrook t-shirt. Josh didn’t get along with the radio station’s broadcast partner, the Houston Rockets, and being shown supporting a rival player didn’t help to improve the relationship. Clanton, who Josh referred to as a “horrid human being,” was later fired and then rehired by SportsTalk 790 and currently serves as the station’s afternoon host.
Ultimately Josh’s departure from KBME was fueled by finances. When he was initially let go in March, Innes pointed to budgeting reasons as to why he parted ways with the station, but during his recent podcast, the radio host claimed one of their top salespeople refused to sell his show. “790 doesn’t care about ratings, they care about revenue and sales,” Josh said, noting that he couldn’t help the station make money if there were salespeople who didn’t like him.
“I did everything they asked me to do, that is a fact,” Innes said, adding that he went on plenty of sales calls. “People probably think I was some insubordinate asshole there, I did what they asked me to do.”
Innes agreed it might not have been the best idea to go after co-workers at the station, but that’s how he does his show. According to Innes, he doesn’t think 790 paid attention to the type of host they hired when they brought him back to Houston a few years ago. The station saw his ratings success at previous stops and weren’t concerned about the approach he took to the airwaves every day. In the end, it was that same unfiltered, cutthroat approach that led to a broken relationship and his feeling of being “unwanted” by the station.
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.