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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Speculates KFNS Interest In Bernie Miklasz

“Not only does Miklasz have successful radio experience on his resume, but he’s been a fixture in St. Louis sports media for decades.”

Brandon Contes

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For most of the last decade, Bernie Miklasz was one of the most successful mid-market morning hosts in sports radio. According to Dan Caesar of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the former columnist and popular sports radio host could soon resurface on the airwaves. 

Because of financial implications caused by COVID-19, Miklasz was let go by St. Louis sports leader 101 ESPN more than four months ago. But now with KFNS 590 potentially being sold, new ownership and lineup changes might create an opening for Miklasz. 

KFNS 590 remains on the market, but current owner Randy Markel is again reportedly nearing a deal to sell the St. Louis area radio station, with John Hadley emerging as the leading candidate. Hadley has worked in various roles with KFNS for more than three years, both on-air and behind the scenes as program director of the station. 

Markel told Caesar he’s hopeful a deal can get done as early as this week, and if that happens, Hadley will assume control immediately. But this isn’t the first time Markel believed a sale was close. As recently as May, reports stated Tim McKernan was nearing an agreement to purchase KFNS, with the expectation of finalizing the deal July 1. 

Working for Markel as a programmer and manager, Hadley has been involved in some of those previous negotiations with potential buyers of the station. Even witnessing those deals collapse, Hadley is still more than confident he will soon assume control of KFNS. 

 “This deal will be finalized,” Hadley told the Post-Dispatch. “It is not like anything in the past.” Hadley is leading a purchasing group and would be in charge of the station’s operations. 

If Hadley does take over KFNS, he plans on returning the radio station’s focus to sports. With that understanding, current afternoon host Frank O. Pinion has already announced his show will be ending on KFNS on Oct. 29. Pinion previously planned on retiring more than a year ago, but during the summer of 2019, KFNS restructured his contract to keep the entertainment show on-air indefinitely. 

With Hadley taking ownership of KFNS, his plan of reemphasizing sports for the station and Pinion departing, it certainly makes sense to see if a deal could be made with Miklasz, who is currently on the sideline as a free agent. 

Not only does Miklasz have successful radio experience on his resume, but he’s been a fixture in St. Louis sports media for decades. Joining the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1985, Miklasz was the publications lead sports columnist from 1999 to 2015. For the last three years, Miklasz was recognized by industry executives as the #1 Mid-Market Morning Show in BSM’s annual Top 20.

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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