WFAN is celebrating their 33rd anniversary this weekend, having debuted its sports radio format July 1, 1987. From Friday, July 3 through 5, WFAN will feature a list of throwback talent including audio from iconic voices Chris Russo and Craig Carton.
It won’t be live, but less than two weeks after Carton was released from prison, WFAN listeners will be able to hear his voice on the station again this weekend. WFAN is offering pairings with a mix of current and returning hosts, as well as “Best Of” hours for Mike and the Mad Dog, Boomer and Carton, and current morning show Boomer and Gio. It’s the first time WFAN will feature programming that involves Carton since his arrest and departure in Sept. 2017.
In addition to the “Best Of” hours, former weekday hosts Dave Sims and Tony Paige will also be part of the 33-year anniversary celebration. Sims, a play-by-play voice of the Seattle Mariners will reunite with his midday co-host Ed Coleman on WFAN Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Tony Paige, who retired from his overnight post on WFAN last year will return for an hour on Sunday, co-hosting with Steve Somers. Somers will also join his former 10am – 1pm partner Russ Salzberg over the weekend.
Other longtime WFAN personalities such as Howie Rose, Richard Neer, Bob Papa and Carl Banks will be live on-air during the anniversary celebration. He’s surely to be mentioned during the weekend, but there is no “Best Of” hour listed for the late Don Imus, who is widely recognized for helping bring credence to WFAN in its early years.
Full July 4 and 5 programming:
|6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. ET:||Richard Neer, WFAN weekend host|
|10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET:||Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, current afternoon show co-hosts|
|12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET:||Howie Rose, original WFAN evening host and current New York Mets broadcaster on sister station WCBS-880 (WCBS-AM)|
|1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET:||Bob Papa and Carl Banks, WFAN radio broadcast team for New York Giants football games|
|3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. ET:||Ed Coleman and Dave Sims, former WFAN midday show co-hosts|
|7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. ET:||Sweeny Murti, WFAN Yankees beat reporter, postgame show host and part-time station host|
|11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. (Sunday) ET:||Jody McDonald, original WFAN host, current weekend host|
|6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. ET:||Bob Salter, WFAN Public Affairs Director since 1994 and current weekend on-air host|
|7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. ET:||Ann Liguori, original WFAN host now covering golf and tennis|
|8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ET:||“Sports Edge” with Rick Wolff, airing in current timeslot since 1995|
|9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET:||“Sunday Baseball Show” with Suzyn Waldman, longtime WFAN personality and the first-ever voice heard on WFAN; current WFAN Yankees Radio Network announcer|
|1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET:||Steve Somers, original WFAN host, current overnight host and only host who has remained full-time since station launch; and Russ Salzberg|
|2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET:||Steve Somers and Tony Paige, former WFAN overnight host (2003-2019)|
|3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET:||Ed Coleman and Dave Sims|
|6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. ET:||“Best of Mike and the Mad Dog,” WFAN’s legendary afternoon team for nearly two decades (1989-2008)|
|7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET:||“Best of Boomer and Carton,” former WFAN morning show (2007-2017)|
|8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET:||“Best of Boomer and Gio,” current WFAN morning show|
|9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. ET:||Sweeny Murti|
|11:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m. (Monday) ET:||Jody McDonald|
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.