When Josh Lewin started out in broadcasting, he figured he would have plenty of his own Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in miracles?” moments on the microphone.
Why wouldn’t he think that? In his first season as the primary play-by-play voice for Rochester Community Baseball, the summer of 1990, the Red Wings won the International League’s Governors’ Cup.
He hasn’t called a championship since. Not in 19 previous years behind the Major League Baseball microphone or in 11 NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers.
That could finally change within the next week, if the New York Mets can overcome the 2-0 deficit they face in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals.
“I’ve lived the personalized version of Mets fans and Royals fans,” Lewin said by phone before Game 2 of the World Series, referring to the title-call drought.
Lewin, a 1986 graduate of Brighton High School, has been describing Mets games on the radio since 2012 and is in his 11th year as voice of the Chargers. His resume also includes two years with the Baltimore Orioles, one with the Chicago Cubs, four with the Detroit Tigers and nine with the Texas Rangers.
“The Chargers have never made the Super Bowl, the Rangers were just getting good when I left and the year I was with the Cubs they started 0-14,” Lewin said.
“Right now I’m just happy to be along for the ride.”
What a ride — and flight — it may be on Sunday, too. If the Mets force a Game 5, Lewin will work his own football/baseball east coast doubleheader. The Chargers play in Baltimore against the Ravens at 1 p.m. First pitch for Game 5 of the World Series is set for 8:15 p.m. at Citi Field.
He plans to call both.
Because the Chargers game, barring overtime, figures to end around 4 p.m. or 4:15 p.m., Lewin couldn’t risk trying to find a commercial flight to New York so he could be on the air on WOR-AM (710) for the first pitch.
So he booked a small private plane, at his expense, to take him from Baltimore to LaGuardia Airport. While he didn’t divulge the price, it’s more than he’ll earn by calling the games that day.
“I’ve got my goggles and my scarf,” said Lewin, 47. “I have to be the master of my domain. I’ll be operating at a big loss but I’m happy to do it. I have two great jobs and two great bosses that let me do what I love to do.”
To read the rest of the article visit the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle where it was originally published
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.