The winter book was a strong quarter for many small and mid-market sports radio stations. Oklahoma City’s WWLS The Sports Animal, 107.5/1070 The Fan in Indianapolis and ESPN 94.1 in Virginia Beach were able to continue entertaining listeners even as they entered a quiet time in the sports world.
In OKC, The Sports Animal garnered an impressive winter book. Last winter, their weekday lineup finished no worse than fourth place in the target demo of men 25-54, but this year, each show finished either first or second. In weekday prime, (M-F 6a – 7p) OKC’s The Sports Animal took the market’s top spot with a 9.8 share, earning the same rating for their full weekday lineup (M-F 5a – 8p), a nearly 50% jump year-over-year.
The Morning Animals set the tone for WWLS, finishing first with an 11.8 share from 5a – 9a, a big jump from their 8.7 performance in 2019. Both midday shows finished second for the station, but they also enjoyed significant gains year-over-year. From 9a – noon, Craig Humphreys was up from 2019 by almost 3 points, earning a 9.3 share, while Monsters of the Middays did a 9.2 from 11a – 2p.
In afternoon drive, Jim Traber finished first for his fourth straight book with a 9.5 from 2 – 6p, a more than four point increase year-over-year. Al Eschbach also finished first with an impressive 10.1 share. Eschbach joins Traber daily from 4 – 6p, and then hosts two solo hours until 8p.
Virginia Beach’s ESPN affiliate, WVSP 94.1 did a 5.6 in weekday prime for their target demo. Nick Cattles also generated a 5.6 share in afternoon drive (3 – 6p).
From 6a – 3p WVSP simulcasts ESPN Radio’s nationally syndicated shows. Golic & Wingo was the strongest performing weekday show on ESPN 94.1 with a 7.1 share in morning drive. From 10a – 3p The Dan Le Batard Show,followed by First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz combined for a 5.1.
Indianapolis’ 107.5/1070 The Fan continued to turn in strong numbers during the winter book, finishing third with an 8.5 share in weekday prime. Their morning show with Jeff Rickard and Joe Staysniak did a 9.8, good for third place in the market.
From noon – 3p, the Fan’s midday show hosted by Dan Dakich finished fourth with a 7.5 share, up by more than a point year-over-year. The Fan’s strongest weekday lineup performance was in afternoon drive as The Ride with JMV (John Michael Vincent) garnered a 9.1, seven-tenths of a point behind WFBQ which finished first in the market.
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.