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Sports Radio 610 Leads Houston Ratings Again, But SportsTalk 790 Closing Gap

Brandon Contes

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Even though Houston’s sports radio listenership traditionally trails most Top-10 markets, with three stations competing for the same audience, the spring book remained pressure packed as live sports were paused. It should be noted, Houston’s three sports stations operate on different lineup schedules, making it difficult to break down the traditional Nielsen dayparts. 

After topping their format competition in the first quarter of 2020, Sports Radio 610 continued its overall lead during the spring book in the target demo of Men 25-54. In weekday prime (M-F 6a – 7p), 610 was tied for 18th with a 2.3 share while SportsTalk 790 closed the gap placing 23rd with a 1.5, up almost a full point from the winter book. ESPN Houston finished 25th earning below a 1 share. 

Without sports, 610’s morning show featuring Seth Payne and Sean Pendergast dropped half a point as compared to the winter book, finishing tied for 15th with a 2.6 share from 6a – 10a. SportsTalk 790 and ESPN Houston finished 24th and 25th respectively, both earning below a 1 share. ESPN Houston breaks up the 4-hour block by offering a combination of Golic & Wingo and The Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein, which begins at 7am. SportsTalk 790’s morning show with Sean Salisbury fills the full 6 – 10a window.

In middays between 10a – 2p, 610’s John Lopez and Landry Locker matched the station’s morning drive performance with a 15th place finish and a 2.6 rating. In the same window, ESPN Houston finished 25th, while offering the last hour of Granato and Zierlein, followed by The Press Box with Charlie Pallilo and Joel Blank with Nick Sharara from 11a – 2p. 

From 10a – 3p, SportsTalk 790 was 24th with a 1.5 share, a big increase from their winter book which saw them sit below a 1. During the five-hour midday block, 790 features a combination of In The Trenches with ND Kalu and The Matt Thomas Show.  

In afternoons, 610’s Clint Stoerner and Ron ‘Show’ Hughley finished 20th with a 1.9 share from 2 – 6p. Sports Talk 790 again made a big jump, surpassing 610 in afternoons with a 2 share during the 3p – 7p window, a more than full point increase from the station’s winter book. The afternoon schedule on 790 features The A-Team w/ Wexler and Clanton from 3 – 6p and The Nightcap in the six o’clock hour. From 3p – 7p, ESPN Houston was down half a point from the winter, finishing 25th with less than a 1 share. Since mid-May, the station has aired The Josh Innes Show from 2 – 4p, followed by The Blitz with Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman from 4 – 7p.

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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