One of the more memorable interviews this year on sports radio was Pat McAfee and AJ Hawk’s conversation with Aaron Rodgers on The Pat McAfee Show shortly after Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19.
Hawk was a guest on the latest episode of The Ariel Helwani Show. He talked about how awkward it was to talk to his former teammate because he’s not into the politics of everything.
“A lot of people were super pissed we didn’t press him on certain things. It was a little awkward. I’m definitely not a political guy. I am not someone who jumps out there and has an opinion on a lot of things. That’s why we just let him talk,” AJ Hawk explained.
He realized that people didn’t tune in to hear him talk. Instead, the audience wanted to hear what Rodgers had to say so he felt he only needed to say a few words during the interview and only ask questions he felt people wanted answers to.
“If we have Aaron Rodgers on, I need no time with me on the mic. I need to say how you feeling Aaron? That should be my only thing. Trying to figure out follow-ups, I was trying to think of questions that other people would have. When Aaron came on the first day to address the situation. I said like 3 words. I wanted to hear what he had to say.”
Early on in his career with the Packers, Hawk didn’t really try to join the media. It wasn’t until he attended the NFL’s broadcast boot camp that he realized he wanted to be in the field after his playing days were over.
“It was great. They gave us homework every night. You were there 12-15 hours doing every single thing from writing scripts for prompters, calling fake games. Doing every aspect of what you can do in sports. I came away and said this is awesome. I want to dive in. I want to do this.”
AJ Hawk has been a game analyst in the past. Certainly working with Pat McAfee elevates him to a more visible place in the broadcasting world. He is certainly more of a recognizable name in the field than ever before. Being part of an interview that has been analyzed and dissected over and over again didn’t hurt either.
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.