Nielsen released numbers for the first month of the fall ratings book and as usual, the battle between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and ESPN’s The Michael Kay Show are the center of attention in New York. It’s important to note the first month counts for only one-third of the book and there is a lot to be determined.
Still, The Michael Kay Show jumped out to a commanding lead, out-rating Francesa 7.4 – 6.0 in the male 25-54 demo that both stations primarily use. The digital stream for both shows is included in the 7.4 and 6.0 ratings.
During Francesa’s Monday afternoon show on WFAN, the New York sports radio icon commented on the ratings race after being prompted by a caller.
“There’s only one rating and its 12 weeks long,” Francesa said. “Are we behind after four weeks? Yes. I’ve never lost to them in my life and to me, I don’t know how many times you can beat someone before it’s not important to you, but I’m like 60-0 lifetime. I beat them for 20 consecutive years, never lost once. Not one time.”
Recently, it’s been reported Francesa could soon leave WFAN again, this time remaining with the station’s parent company, Entercom and joining their new RADIO.COM platform. Francesa previously said RADIO.COM, which purchased the Mike’s On app, will be his future content home, but no timeline has been given by WFAN, Entercom or Francesa. Losing a full ratings book to ESPN and The Michael Kay Show would be a difficult way for Francesa to make his exit from terrestrial radio.
“If they beat me after 12 weeks, I would say they beat me, but they’ve never beaten me in 20 years or as long as they’ve been there,” Francesa continued. “They’ve never beaten me ever, not one time. They said they did, but they lied.”
ESPN previously claimed victory with The Michael Kay Show over Francesa because ESPN and Entercom report their ratings differently. WFAN’s terrestrial and digital ratings are kept separate, whereas ESPN combines the two numbers. For the 2019 spring book, Nielsen released the ratings as a 6.4 for The Michael Kay Show and a 6.1 for Francesa, with an additional 0.5 for his digital stream. When including the digital stream, The Michael Kay Show has yet to beat Mike Francesa for a full book.
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.