This week, ESPN aired a one-hour documentary about Pardon The Interruption that chronicled the 20-year history of PTI and how Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon went from journalists to debating the hot topics of the sports world on television.
Of course, Kornheiser talked about the documentary on The Tony Kornheiser Show on Wednesday, but he has not actually watched the one-hour special yet and doesn’t plan on watching it.
“My feeling all along about this was it feels like a memorial to me, not like a celebration,” he said. “I didn’t want to get involved in it, that’s just me. I did get involved in it. I sat down. I was interviewed by Pablo Torre, who I love. I am happy that I did it, but I didn’t really want to watch it. In my DNA is this: 6 months from now, they’ll just say get off the show, we’re bringing somebody new in if we keep the show at all. We gave you the celebration, so what’s your problem?”
He does think he will see the show eventually and that he will probably cry when he sits down and watches it because after accomplishing his childhood goal of being a sportswriter, everything else is a bonus.
Tony Kornheiser believes that the ability that he and Wilbon have of being “generalists” in sports helped them to be good at debating on TV and it was a big part in why the show has succeeded for so many years.
“We know a little bit about a lot of things. It enables us to do this show. We have this stamped on our brains over 40 years of working, my case 50 years about sports and loving sports. I can do this. I didn’t know that I could, but it doesn’t surprise me that I could do it. It doesn’t surprise me that Mike can do it.”
Over the years, the relationship between Kornheiser and Wilbon has not changed and according to Kornheiser, neither of them are “hot take artists” because of their experience in journalism and looking at stories from every angle.
“When you do that, it sort of mitigates being a hot-take artist because those people are sort of screaming about their opinions. When you write a column, it may sound like your decibel level is high, but you have considered all of the angles of it and you have enough intellectual firepower to diffuse those things which people will come at you with because you thought about it. I want the show to be entertaining. Entertainment is everything…but the whole of it is we present ourselves as people with a certain amount of credentials in this area. I actually think it is a great show for what it is.”
While Tony Kornheiser did not expect that he would go down the path of doing this show, he enjoys entertaining people and people have enjoyed both him and Wilbon debating every weekday at 5:30 PM ET on ESPN over the last two decades. It is a feat in which Kornheiser is enormously proud of, particularly because of the work the staff has done since the beginning.
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.