During the baseball playoffs in October, 92.9 the Game host Mike Bell tweeted his displeasure seeing a softball player doing baseball analysis on ESPN, going after her with a sexist insult made famous by the film “Anchorman.”
After hurling potshots and defending his position with foes for hours, Bell made an on-air apology the next day and was suspended for three days.
Though his insult was aimed at Jessica Mendoza, the ridiculous nature of his comment wasn’t lost on Sandra Golden.
Golden — Atlanta’s only female sports talk radio host, heard daily on the Fan (680 on the AM, 93.7 on the FM) from 9 a.m. to noon — has survived in a male-dominated business by successfully battling this prevalent attitude about women in sports media.
“His argument makes about as much sense as saying men can’t be gynecologists,” Golden said. “Most of the men in TV and radio have never been professional athletes themselves.”
At the same time, she is actually friends with Bell and called him soon after the kerfuffle happened. “I said, ‘Hang in there. That “Anchorman” line is funny. People are too serious.’ I’ve called him a meathead myself, but he really has a big heart.”
Bell, in return, calls Golden “a great loyal friend. I always loved hearing her laugh at my corny jokes back in the day when we were on mornings together. She’s the best.”
Golden has been in sports media for more than two decades, coming to Atlanta in 1997 after multiple broadcasting stints in Florida. She has built a reputation for her preparation, her sports knowledge and ability to wrestle with the big boys in their playpen. Before joining radio in 2004, she spent seven years at Fox Sports South covering the Atlanta Braves and ACC sports.
“She’s a sweetheart,” said Chipper Jones, the legendary starting Braves third basemen from 1995 to 2012. “It’s not easy to be a female in a professional locker room. She carried herself with the utmost professionalism. She always had a huge smile on her face.” (Golden said she was “kind of tough on him, but he was always respectful.”)
Golden is part of “The Front Row,” a show that features bombastic veteran host Stephen “Steak” Shapiro and soft-spoken former Atlanta Falcon Brian Finneran.
On the show, the Buckhead resident plays like the sassy older sister to the two younger men. “It’s almost annoying how happy she is in the morning,” Finneran said.
She also possesses what she calls a “loud cackle,” which she tried to suppress when she first started on sports talk radio station 790 the Zone as the news update person for the morning show. But Shapiro told her that this was part of who she was, so let it rip!
David Dickey, who runs the Fan and hired Golden in 2010, said he loves the trio’s chemistry. “They can poke fun at each other, but it’s not mean-spirited. They can laugh at each other and themselves. Sandra is very comfortable in her own skin.”
Occasionally, she’ll get hot on a subject such as athletes committing domestic violence. When the video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punching his fiance in an elevator leaked last year, she couldn’t believe Rice had defenders. “I didn’t hold back calling it reprehensible behavior,” she said. “Nancy Grace was calling me about it. It definitely bothered me more than most men.”
And when she heard last week that Rice was rallying to get a job back with the NFL, she wasn’t impressed, noting he had just had a subpar year. “He can get a job at UPS or RaceTrac,” she said on air Friday. “You can earn a living. Listen. If he was such a great running back, he’d be back on a team. I don’t think the NFL would get all high and mighty if he could play.”
To a younger generation of female sportscasters, “she’s like the godfather,” said Rachel Baribeau, a college football host and analyst for SiriusXM and a sideline reporter for the ACC Network. She spent 10 months in 2012 and 2013 as a co-host on 92.9/The Game.
To read more of this article visit the AJC where it was originally published
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.