TV voice of the Sacramento Kings and local afternoon radio host on 1140 KHTK, Grant Napear has been placed on administrative leave by the station after responding on Twitter to the Black Lives Matter movement with “All Lives Matter.”
First reported by Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee, Napear was off-air Monday afternoon as program director Jason Ross read a statement on behalf of 1140 KHTK and parent company Bonneville Corporation.
“Grant Napear has been placed on administrative leave while we are investigating the statement that was made on Twitter,” Ross said.
The statement came during an exchange with former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who reached out to Napear, looking for a response from the sportscaster regarding the BLM movement.
The “all lives matter” reaction to BLM generally represents a misunderstanding of and contempt for the movement. Napear admitted as much during an interview with the Sacramento Bee Monday morning.
“I’m not as educated on BLM as I thought I was,” Napear said. “I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across.” Beyond the interview with the Sacramento Bee, Napear continued to address the “all lives matter” statement on Twitter.
In response, Cousins tweeted that he wasn’t surprised by Napear’s take, while Chris Webber and Matt Barnes also reacted to the Twitter exchange. “Would expect nothing less from a closet racist,” Barnes wrote.
Napear co-hosts weekdays from 3 – 7pm alongside his TV analyst and former Kings player Doug Christie. The Sacramento Kings also responded to Napear’s “all lives matter” tweet.
“Grant’s recent Twitter comments do not reflect our organization’s views and values,” the team said of their play-by-play voice. “We are reviewing the matter further with our broadcast partners NBC Sports California and Sports 1140 KHTK.”
This was not the first time Napear had a Twitter exchange with Cousins. After Cousins criticized Toronto Raptors fans for cheering as Kevin Durant needed to be helped off the court in Game 5 of the NBA Finals last year, Napear followed with a harsh response.
“If there is any player in the NBA that should not be talking about fan behavior, and about how they treat athletes as opposed to people, it’s DeMarcus Cousins,” Napear said last year. “This guy is the rudest, crudest, most vile player that I have ever been around in my 31 years of covering the NBA. He should not be speaking on this in any way shape or form.”
Napear also defended former Clippers owner Donald Sterling in 2014, claiming the disgraced businessman was not racist because he employed black people.
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.