Sports radio legend Tony Bruno is at war with Deadspin after the site published a piece on Wednesday with the headline “‘NBA Players Can’t Read’ Proclaims Idiot on Radio”. Bruno went off on Thursday night during his show on Sports Map Radio, mixing an explanation with a few insults for Deadspin and writer Thomas LaForgia.
“I was surprised that Deadspin is still a thing because I thought they went out of business,” Bruno said. “I don’t care what they do, but when you’re gonna come after me with some slipshod hack writer, who’s not even a journalist, who’s only job is to go and do hit pieces on people, I’m not going to have someone try to ruin my life and my reputation. They are incompetent and they are criminals.”
Bruno, who pulls double duty for both Sports Map Radio and SiriusXM, is emphatic that Deadspin’s headline misrepresents what he actually said. In a rant about NBA players boycotting games on Wednesday, Bruno went in on LeBron James and the league at large. After a break, he can be heard saying “most of these guys can’t even read, for god’s sake.”
All of this happened on SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick Radio. The channel did not have Bruno on air on Thursday.
Robin Austin, Bruno’s executive producer, noted the comments that Deadspin referenced were part of a commentary that started before the end of the previous segment. In context, it is clear that Bruno was being flippant and not as malicious as Deadspin portrays. She also said that she and Bruno had spoken with the show’s lawyer.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure Deadspin is taken care of and brought to justice,” Bruno added.
It doesn’t seem that Bruno disagrees with the gist of how Deadspin described the segment. He takes issue with LaForgia and his editors putting the phrase “NBA Players Can’t Read” in quotation marks in the headline, making it appear as if that is an exact quote from Bruno.
“Maybe this schmuck doesn’t know what quotation marks mean. Quotation marks mean it is what somebody said. You put that as your headline, of course that’s going to get people to come on and read the story,” Bruno shouted, calling Deadspin a “clickbait, dirtbag site”.
If Bruno or his lawyers have reached out directly to Deadspin is unknown. As of Friday morning, LaForgia’s column is still online.
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.