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Under The Radar – August 15, 2016

Jason Barrett

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Sports media news has been surfacing across the country once again. Here are the latest developments for you to be aware of. As a reminder, if you have a news tip or promotion to share, you can email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. I’m also reachable on Twitter @sportsradiopd.

  • Drew Olson has left Milwaukee sports radio station ESPN 540, a place he has called home since 2004. Olson broadcasted his final show on Friday alongside on-air partner Dan Needles. He says he’s planning to focus on his sports media training company, Crush It. Needles will remain on the radio station, joining forces with Bryan Dee who will take over for Olson.
  • In May, 1320 The Fan in Salt Lake City dropped local host Tim Lewis and elected to carry CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney” on an interim basis during morning drive. Well now it seems the radio station has gone outside the box to find a solution. The Fan has added “The Bob and Tom Show” to morning drive, hoping to differentiate its programming from other local market brands 700 ESPN and 1280 The Zone.
  • A change in morning drive has been made in Portland once again on Rip City Radio. The iHeart sports station featured the team of “Bunker and Danforth” in mornings from February 2015 to June 2016. But then Andy Bunker announced he was leaving the radio station to move to Atlanta. Taylor Danforth moved forward with new partner Dan Sheldon, but apparently that experiment is over, as Danforth left the radio station in July, one month after Bunker. As of now the station is promoting “Rip City Mornings” as its local show but no names are featured on the station’s website or social media pages. Once we have a future announcement to pass along we’ll fill you in.
  • Speaking of mornings, ESPN LA 710 has been rumored to be adding more local programming to its lineup. A few notable names have been in recently including Ryen Russillo, Jorge Sedano, Marc James, Robin Lundberg and Jonathan Hood. The station is searching for a partner to work alongside afternoon host Marcellus Wiley, but is also taking a look at extending mornings. One name that has surfaced as a possibility to be part of the mix is former ESPN NFL Analyst Keyshawn Johnson. Bristol sources say that the company is open to continuing a relationship with the former wide receiver despite not keeping him on Sunday NFL Countdown.
  • After being rumored to call Los Angeles Rams radio broadcasts, Andrew Siciliano didn’t sign on to call the action during the regular season, but he has agreed to serve as play by play man for the team during the pre-season. The NFL Network host is calling pre-season games on television alongside Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk.
  • Here’s one story that seems to surface every six months – sports radio personality Kevin Slaten has left 590 The Fan KFNS in St. Louis…AGAIN. Slaten who has bounced around the local market now says he plans to return to political talk with the Insane Broadcasting Company which is owned by Bob Romanik. New KFNS boss Tim McKernan has yet to announce who will fill afternoons but after a prior bad episode with Slaten while running CBS Sports Radio 920, this allows McKernan to move in a different direction.
  • Longtime WWLS Sports Animal talk show host Al Eschbach will celebrate 40 years on the air in Oklahoma City with a special show this Wednesday from 4p-8p. His guests will include OU men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger, OU football coach Bob Stoops, former OU basketball coach Billy Tubbs, former OU football coach Barry Switzer, Houston basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, and a slew of others.
  • FOX Sports 920 The Jersey has reached a deal to carry Rutgers football on the radio station. The brand will partner with IMG to provide Rutgers coverage for the 2016 college football season.
  • Sports Radio 1340 The Fan in Lubbock, Texas has signed on for a third straight season as an affiliate of the Denver Broncos. The Townsquare radio station will carry all pre-season, regular season, and playoff games, along with a two-hour pre-game show and one-hour post-game show. Coverage is supplied by the Broncos Radio Network which originates out of Denver on 850 KOA. The company’s sister station Awesome 98 is also a Houston Texans affiliate.
  • ESPN West Palm 106.3 is also adding an affiliation. The radio station has signed on as a play by play affiliate for Miami Dolphins broadcasts. The Good Karma sports station will also feature a Thursday night call-in with Dolphins General Manager Mike Tannenbaum.
  • Shifting to Nashville, 102.5 The Game has moved former afternoon host Willy Daunic to middays alongside Darren McFarland, and former Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason. The trio will be re-branded as “3-D, Darren, Derrick and Daunic”. Daunic previously hosted with George Plaster, and former Titans GM Floyd Reese.
  • The Midday 180 in Nashville needs a new producer. Former producer Steve Ulrey worked his final shift on Friday August 12th. Ulrey is apparently launching a business. The Midday 180 are presently one of the highest rated midday shows in the sports talk radio format.
  • Speaking of the Midday 180, one of the show’s hosts, Chad Withrow, has signed on to be the new TV host for a Saturday morning program titled “Varsity XTRA”. The show will air in the Nashville area on MyTV30.
  • Steve Lippo has been named the new Executive Producer for NBC Sports in Chicago. Lippo had been working as a producer for Laurence Holmes’ show on 120 Sports.
  • Congratulations to Ryan Cooley who has accepted a new opportunity in sales at WEEI in Boston. Cooley announced on Facebook that he was leaving his position as 1080 The Fan’s Sales Manager in Portland, Oregon to move to the northeast and join the Boston sports radio station.

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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