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KFAN Ascends To #1 In Morning Drive

Jason Barrett

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As the late great Yogi Berra reminded us, nothing’s over until it’s over. And with 92 KQRS’ legendary personality Tom Barnard showing no signs of hitting the terminal cough button, the fight for morning drive supremacy in Twin Cities radio isn’t over yet, no matter how pleased KFAN is with itself.

Only the most culturally isolated don’t know who Barnard is by now — and that his dominance of the metro radio audience over the past 25 years is one of the most remarkable runs in the entire country.

Last year, he signed a new five­-year contract with KQ owner Cumulus Media. So it is of more than a little interest that this past summer, KFAN­-FM, the sports-talk station owned by iHeartRadio (formerly Clear Channel) beat Barnard as No. 1 in the demographic the two stations care about most — and not just for a month, but the entire summer … before football season (sports talk radio’s raison d’être) really kicked in.

The gulf between Barnard and KFAN’s morning show is not large. But “The Power Trip,” currently hosted by Chis Hawkey, Cory Cove and Paul “Meatsauce” Lambert, with a supporting cast that includes Mark Rosen from WCCO-­TV — a key figure in Barnard’s ascension to dominance three decades ago — has now demonstrated enough staying power to settle any question that there’s any fluke at play here.

The basic numbers for 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. weekdays, men 25-­54:

Spring 2015 

KFAN: 13.0
KQRS: 14.4

Summer 2015
KFAN: 13.6
KQRS: 13.1

Repeated calls to KQRS operations manager Scott Jameson never resulted in a connection. But KFAN’s program director, Chad Abbott, was more than happy to chat, emphasizing that, yes, he expects the tide to continue running high and suggesting that Cove, Lambert, Hawkey et al.’s “high energy” delivery probably best explained the show’s growing appeal.

While KQRS’ format is officially defined as “classic rock,” Barnard’s show has almost nothing to do with 30-year­-old Heart and Boston cuts and everything to do with Barnard’s persona: a combination of a world-­weary natural intelligence, eclectic interests, hair-trigger disdain, unapologetic biases and the unfailing appeal of an implicit message that real men can’t get a break in this world anymore. By contrast, the “Power Trip” crowd’s act is pretty much pure escapism. Sports, goofy stuff in the news, guy-­jiving and plenty of pop culture.

 

By coincidence, I had a quick conversation with Mick Anselmo, the former GM at the local Clear Channel group who is now GM for CBS Radio’s local stations, including WCCO­-AM. He expressed little surprise at KFAN’s good fortune, complimenting the station’s management team, many of whom he hired, and arguing as he often does that the key to successful radio in an age where people can carry 3,000-­song playlists on their phones and listen to podcasts free of 25 minutes an hour of commercials is “the sense a station offers listeners that they are part of a community. You can’t get that from an MP3 player or streaming or a podcast. People like the feeling of being connected and the good operators learn how to give it to them.”

To read the full article visit MinnPost where it was originally published

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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