I’ve been on the road recently which has made writing a bigger challenge than usual. As a result, a number of sports media news items have taken place yet been underreported. To make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening in the sports media universe I bring you the latest edition of “Under The Radar“. As a reminder, if you or your company have a future news item to share please email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
- Congrats to Chadd Scott who has shifted from programming sports radio station 1010XL in Jacksonville to overseeing content for the website Gridiron Now. The popular SEC football driven website has grown tremendously since its launch in September 2015, creating a need to have someone like Scott more involved in the day to day operations of the brand. With his change in position, 1010XL is now searching for a new Program Director. Interested parties can apply by sending their materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ESPN LA 710 is expected to make an announcement soon about its new weekday lineup. The radio station has been working to increase local programming in morning drive, and find a strong partner to join Marcellus Wiley in afternoons. According to sources, Jorge Sedano and Keyshawn Johnson will team up in mornings. Kelvin Washington will shift to afternoons to join Wiley. No changes are expected on the station’s midday programs. With Sedano moving to Los Angeles, network sources say Sarah Spain is likely to assume Jorge’s role on the ESPN Radio Network alongside Israel Gutierrez.
- Last week was one of the most chaotic weeks in Philadelphia sports radio history. It began with Crossing Broad reporting that producer Pat Egan at 97.5 The Fanatic created a fake African American caller named Dwayne from Swedesboro and had been phoning into Mike Missanelli’s show for two years. The controversy resulted in a suspension for three members of The Fanatic, and WIP terminating afternoon host Josh Innes. One person who took notice was Tony Bruno, who previously worked for both brands as a co-host with Innes, and a teammate of Missanelli’s. If you haven’t heard his podcast, take a listen. His opinions on the individuals involved and the situation that unfolded are as strong as they come.
- KNBR‘s parent company Cumulus Media remains locked in a battle with the SAG/AFTRA union over wages for the station’s employees. Representatives for 35 employees say that despite KNBR being one of Cumulus’ top five revenue generators (they own 453 stations), staffers are being paid minimum wage ($13 an hour). The union is asking for $17 an hour for off-air employees, and $30 an hour for on-air people. Cumulus management says the union’s claims are false, and that they’ve offered employees increases ranging from 3 to 16.3 percent, while the union continues to press for unreasonable increases as high as 145 percent.
- Former WEEI morning man John Dennis conducted an interview recently with Newscenter 5 in Boston. When asked about his departure from the popular “Dennis and Callahan” program he said his relationship with co-host Kirk Minihane wasn’t strong, but it never stopped the show from performing over the past three years. He talked about being tired and glad to not wake up anymore at 3:30am. When asked to describe Callahan he called him a good columnist who should write more. He labeled Minihane as someone who is complicated.
- Speaking of WEEI, the radio station has made a few producer changes. The station has brought back Chris Curtis to help produce the morning show. Paul Chartier has shifted to middays where he’s now producing Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria.
- Staying in Boston, congratulations are in order for Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti who were named Boston’s favorite local sports radio show by Channel Media and Market Research. The company surveyed nearly 14,600 Boston sports fans and The Sports Hub’s afternoon show led the voting for best local program with 29% of the vote. Felger also was named favorite local radio personality, and came in second to NESN’s Tom Caron as favorite local TV personality.
- Former Detroit Sports 105.1 Program Director and On-Air host Dave Shore will be doing some sideline reporting for ESPN Radio’s NFL and College Football games. Shore’s first assignment is this Saturday working the Georgia-UNC game. He’s also looking for his next permanent radio opportunity and can be reached via email by clicking here.
- 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis has hired a new Minnesota Vikings reporter and analyst. Matthew Coller has accepted the position and left WGR in Buffalo where he spent nearly six years serving as a producer, reporter and on-air contributor and host.
- 104.9 The Horn in Austin, TX has hired Brad Kellner as producer of “Mornings with Bucky & Erin” featuring Bucky Godbolt and Erin Hogan. Kellner will also host two-hour shows on Saturday and Sunday, a one-hour Longhorn-centered show on Tuesday nights, and produce the station’s football pregame show, “Longhorn Gameday“. He spent the past year producing “The Bottom Line” with Sean Adams & Chip Brown for local competitor AM 1300 The Zone.
- ESPN 1480 in Lincoln is increasing its local programming by an hour. The station revealed today that its midday show “Gregath and Smith” will expand to three hours, airing weekdays from 9a-12p CT. It had been broadcasting 9a-11a. The local duo’s expansion leads to the elimination of Jim Rome’s show broadcasting from 11a-12p CT.
- Heather Higginbotham Halbrook has left 680 The Fan in Atlanta in order to accept a producer position with Cox Media’s “SEC Country“. Heather worked behind the scenes for 680, most often with Chuck and Chernoff. Donnie Smith is expected to assume her duties.
- Matt Jones reports that Drew Franklin will be joining his radio program on a bi-weekly basis starting after Labor Day. Jones broadcasts Kentucky Sports Radio which airs throughout the state of Kentucky on many iHeart radio stations. KSR has also promoted Maria Taustine to a FT position.
- The San Diego Padres will be moving their radio broadcasts next season from the Mighty 1090 to KBZT-FM 94.9 but one thing that won’t be changing are the team’s announcers. The team says Ted Leitner and Jesse Agler will continue to call the action for the 2017 season.
- Popular sports writer Don Banks revealed that he’s left Sports Illustrated after sixteen and a half years with the popular magazine and website. He says the departure is due to salary cuts, and future news of his next adventure will be forthcoming on social media once he’s ready to announce it.
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.