Jamie Dukes, one of the most popular hosts on 92.9/The Game, is stepping down today after three years at the sports talk station.
Dukes, who has also worked at 680/The Fan and the now defunct 790/The Zone, lives in Braselton, which meant a commute that ate up more than three hours of his day every day. Over time, that wore him down. He took three weeks off recently to deal with shoulder, neck and back problems stemming in part from spending too much time in the automobile.
Dukes said the Game management was unwilling to allow him to do his mid-day show with Rick Kamla from his home even part of the week. Without that option, he couldn’t handle the commute anymore. “This is really about my health,” he said. “It’s not worth it if I can’t work smarter.”
Dukes, now 51, spent 10 years in the NFL including eight seasons with the Atlanta Falcons as a center from 1986 to 1995.
He will continue to contribute to the NFL Network and work with Sirius/XM on Saturdays. He could also podcast,like Doug Stewart on Spreaker. And though Dukes has a non-compete clause that will keep him off Atlanta AM/FM radio for six months, he is confident other radio opportunities will pop up.
“The sports fans have evolved,” said Dukes. “They want more than just stats and who’s going to win the game. I tried to be in tune with what fans wanted. They need more insight, more in-depth conversation. That’s the reason they liked what we did.”
His departure was low key. He didn’t want to turn his final show into the “Jamie Dukes farewell show.” He waited until his final segment at 1:40 p.m. to break the news to the fans. And go figure – Kamla wasn’t even in the studio to hug it out with Dukes.
“I got a heavy heart,” Kamla said on air at 1:44 p.m. “I love you. You’re a dear friend. I have learned so much of the craft of radio from you.”
Kamla said Dukes is not just a sports analyst but a true host and comic. “You have taught me the art of the spin and the art of radio… I’m going to miss you terribly.”
Dukes repeated what he told me about the commute issues that led to this unfortunate decision. “I wanted to thank all the listeners for being part of something that was very special,” he said. He said Kamla has “heart. You are a very passionate man. So I want to thank you being my friend.”
Dukes and Kamla’s mid-day show frequently drew the best ratings for the Game, which has generally under-performed for most of its past three years in the ratings despite a vastly superior signal to 680/The Fan, which also simulcasts at 93.7 on the FM dial. In the latest monthly ratings, the ratings of the two stations are neck and neck.
Dukes gave the Game several weeks notice about his pending departure to give management a chance to rejigger its lineup, which I presume will be announced soon. (PD Terry Foxx said an official station response will be forthcoming.)
There are now four weekday on-air personalities who have been at the station its entire three-year run: Kamla,Randy Cross and Carl Dukes.
Credit to the AJC who originally published this article
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.