On Monday morning, ESPN Radio’s new national lineup officially began as Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti began their run as the 6 AM-10 AM ET host of Keyshawn, Jay-Will, and Zubin.
While their show is different than Mike & Mike or Golic & Wingo, the three hosts made sure to acknowledge those who came before them at the beginning of the show.
“The loyalty that they engendered from the audience, you out there, has allowed us to come in and hopefully have you enjoy the show as much as we do bringing you the show every day,“ said Mehenti.
Jay Williams further added to that tribute by talking about how much Golic and Greeny have meant to him as he starts this new show. You can read more from Williams in our interview with him courtesy of Demetri Ravanos:
“First and foremost, Mike Golic Sr., an incredible individual and one of the first times I was ever on TV 13 years ago, I remember seeing him and he was himself. It was incredible. You can be self-deprecating, you can have fun and that put me on a journey saying I have to find out who I want to be naturally on TV.
“Mike Greenberg gave me the opportunity to get on Get Up and actually allow me to be more of myself and that’s ultimately led to this point. To those guys and Mike Golic Jr. who kills the game, he’s one of the best we have in the game, thank you for allowing me the opportunity.”
Johnson looked at it as more of a big picture thing for ESPN with a little Tonight Show comparison thrown in.
“For me, I look at it like Johnny Carson, like we are taking over a Carson-like Leno deal and we are going to run with it and turn it into something even more special so 20 years from now, somebody comes in and takes over for us.”
There were many notable guests on the first edition of this new show, which included New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, ESPN MLB analyst Alex Rodriguez, Stephen A. Smith, and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
The Fields interview was the center of the show and it aired around 8:10 a.m ET. As Mehenti pointed out towards the end of the program in the Before I Let You Go segment, he said if there is a breaking news story, we will do our best to get them on the air.
“That’s what you can expect each and every morning on this program. If something is happening, if someone is saying something, we are going to do our darndest to get them on the program.”
Adding into the Fields conversation about the petition the Ohio State QB started for them to bring Big Ten football back, Johnson made his point known that college football should not be played this fall. Here is what Johnson had to say earlier on the show:
“I can’t wrap my hands around why they keep trying to get on the damn field. It makes no sense. Just play next September. Let this thing carry itself out till we get what we need to cure things up. Stop trying to get on the field and play. Football is not going anywhere.”
The other notable story of the day was the breaking news that the Washington football club hiring Jason Wright as Wright becomes the first black president in the NFL.
“My question in this, if the organization did not go through everything they have gone through over the last several months, would they have hired that dude?” said Johnson. “Would you have hired him or would you have kept everything the same if word never got out?
After the show, ESPN correspondent Ryan Smith chimed in with his thoughts on how the debut episode went via Twitter.
While some might criticize the trio for only plugging Mike Greenberg’s new show Greeny at noon and not the other shows in the daily lineup, it was a good way for ESPN Radio to kick off their new programming lineup.
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.