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Sports Radio In Denver Is About To Heat Up

Jason Barrett

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It’s been widely speculated that the Denver sports radio market will become a little more crowded in 2016. However that didn’t look to be the case two weeks ago. 105.5 ESPN announced they would be exiting the format which set up a situation where 104.3 The Fan would have little competition.

But to borrow a line from Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend“.

Barrett Sports Media has learned that iHeart will flip 760AM from its current “Real Talk 760” News/Talk  format to sports. The station will launch with Fox Sports Radio serving as its network affiliate, Dan Patrick anchoring mornings from 7a-10a and Colin Cowherd hosting middays from 12p-3p.

Additionally, 760 will add some local flavor to the lineup. Broncos Play by Play voice and KOA afternoon drive personality Dave Logan will host weekdays from 10a-12p with Susie Wargin, and the afternoon show will include Andy Lindahl as part of the mix. The station is finalizing its decision on a co-host.

There may be some other additions at some point, and with talent like Scott Hastings, Nate Kreckman, Cecil Lammey, and Mark Schlereth available, along with former FAN Programmer Nate Lundy, the company clearly has options it can explore.

But they better act fast because there’s another shark lurking in the water!

Yesterday, it was learned that KSE Radio Ventures, a subsidiary of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, is purchasing KRWZ (950 AM) from Entercom Communications. Once the sale gets approved, KSE will have four brands under their portfolio, KRWZ-AM, and KIMN-FM 100.3, KXKL-FM 105.1 and KWOF-FM 92.5.

KSE is also the owner of the Pepsi Center, the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets.

No format has been announced yet for 950AM but it’s expected that the oldies format which currently airs on the station will give way to a sports talk format during the early part of 2016. One benefit for KSE is that the Nuggets and Avalanche have the majority of their games already airing on 950AM.

104.3 The Fan currently leads the ratings race and they’ve re-added the ESPN affiliation and hired a new PD (Armen Williams). On the other hand, morning show host Vic Lombardi’s contract is coming up for renewal, and KSE is rumored to have interest. They hired Lombardi earlier this month to join the Altitude Sports television network.

With 760 flipping to sports and Kroenke’s group on the verge of taking control of an AM brand and likely entering the sports radio picture, 2016 figures to be an interesting one in the Denver market.

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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