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Seth Wickersham Defends Book On WEEI Amid Criticism From Bill Belichick

“According to NBC Sports’ Chris Collinsworth, the six-time Super Bowl-winning coach was not happy about the book.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: NBC

Editors for ESPN writer Seth Wickersham wittingly scheduled his book on the New England Patriots dynasty, It’s Better To Be Feared, to be released close to Tom Brady’s return to New England.

That fact meant Bill Belichick would hear about all of the different storylines dug up from its pages. According to NBC Sports’ Chris Collinsworth, the six-time Super Bowl-winning coach was not happy about it.

“Bill Belichick was hot. Getting ready to play a game like this. All the stories, all the books, all these things start coming out,” Collinsworth said. “And he was like, ’20 years, and you’re going to take 10 seconds out of this conversation this year and 20 seconds out of that conversation in that year, and somehow you’re going to make this into something it wasn’t? We had a great relationship. We learned a from each other. I learned a lot from Tom Brady.’”

Belichick is probably one of the last coaches anyone expects to feed into media narratives, but we are all human, and the Teflon mentality wasn’t working this time around.

“When he got to talking about ‘you guys in the media,’ we both threw up our hands and said ‘Woah Woah,’” Collinsworth said. “But it was an emotional thing for Bill. He did not like that people were trying to portray it besides something very, very positive for the two of them.”

Wickersham actually answered pointed questions about his sourcing and vetting process when weaving a tale like the one in this book. The writer went in-depth on the topic last week on WEEI as he sat in-studio with Merloni and Fauria.

“The people who I quoted in the book,” Wickersham said on last Friday’s show. “For the most part, were people who witnessed things firsthand. Who were in those meetings. Who were playing in those games. Those are the primary sources I relied on.”

Wickersham prefaced that with his process for smelling out BS. He interviews each subject then picks out a few things to use from conversations held over hours at a time. After he identifies those key nuggets he then goes back to the source and makes sure he has all of the context correct about the information.

The painstaking process is a necessary evil to make sure aggrieved parties like Belichick can’t just cast aside well-reported journalism as fake news. The book’s title is fitting after Wickersham showed no fear in his quest to accurately report on the greatest dynasty in NFL history.

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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