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Under The Radar – May 8, 2017

Jason Barrett

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The news continues to trickle in from the world of sports radio. Here’s the latest developments that might have slipped by you. As a reminder, it’s a huge help to us when you pass along your information via email. If you or your station have news worth sharing, a tip, a press release or a job related change, please let us know so we can share your story with the rest of the format. Now on to this week’s stories.

After Terry Foster announced his departure from 97.1 The Ticket‘s afternoon show, the immediate question became “how will this impact Mike Valenti‘s future?” Does the talented host stay in afternoons as a solo act? Does he add a partner? Or does he explore a change of scenery? Well, it looks like the Detroit sports talker could have his eyes on the biggest piece of real estate in the format. According to the NY Daily News, Valenti is a finalist for Mike Francesa‘s seat on WFAN. Whether it’d be as a solo act or as part of a team show is unclear, but if Mark Chernoff decides to take a risk and install Valenti into drive time in the big apple, despite not having worked previously in the market (aside from a few fill-ins), it’d certainly be seen as a big risk. Risk taking though is part of Chernoff’s DNA (Boomer & Carton after Imus, no partner for Francesa after Russo left) and his track record when making big decisions is very strong.

Well wishes go out to Damon Bruce of 95.7 The Game. The San Francisco afternoon host is recovering from a health scare. No time frame has been given for his return to the airwaves but knowing D-Bruce, expect him to be focused on getting healthy so he can get back to doing what he loves. To send a positive thought his way via Twitter click here.

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons deserves a round of applause for helping create an entertaining radio moment last week. After beating the New York Yankees, the Jays skipper dialed into SportsNet 590 The Fan‘s postgame show “Jay’s Talk” as “John in the Bronx” and proceeded to ask host Mike Wilner if he agreed that Marco Estrada is one of the best pitchers in the league. He also busted Wilner’s chops about being wrong on the pregame shows and capped off the call up by asking about free tickets and Wilner’s ratings. To hear the prank call click here.

Bob Fescoe and Mike Welch of 610 Sports conducted one of the best interviews I heard on radio last week. The Kansas City morning crew welcomed former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson to the show. It was the first time Johnson had talked to the Kansas City media in seven years. During the course of the twenty six minute interview, Johnson was extremely candid and apologetic about many of the missteps he made during his career. It’s definitely worth a listen. Click here to hear it.

Congrats are in order for Kyle Bailey and Frank Garcia who have taken over the midday slot on WFNZ in Charlotte. The duo can be heard weekdays from 10am-2pm. To learn more about the show click here.

Sid Rosenberg continues to make news. The WABC radio host announced via social media last week that he’ll be making his debut on the CBS Sports Radio Network on Saturday May 20th. Rosenberg will be on from 10a-2p ET.

Tampa sports radio legend Steve Duemig says he’s officially done with treatments and hopes to return to WDAE soon. Duemig has been battling brain cancer and has been sidelined since February.

After hearing from multiple sources that Chris Cantore‘s stint at the Mighty 1090 had ended, the information has now been confirmed by Cantore himself. The San Diego radio veteran is out after just five weeks. No word yet from 1090 on who will replace him.

Pete Sheppard has been making hosting appearances on ESPN SWFL (Southwest Florida) 99.3FM, a Beasley owned radio station. The former Boston sports radio host moved south to the sunshine state a few months ago and has been filling in from time to time.

In the Omaha sports radio winter ratings, 1620 The Zone remained the market’s leading sports radio brand. The radio station placed 5th with Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p and 6th with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. Local competitor ESPN 590 was 9th in both categories. The Zone was particularly strong in mornings. Sharp & Benning registered a 3rd place finish, which was best on the station for the quarter.

Congrats go out to Jason Wechsler who has been hired by 101.3 ESPN in Burlington, VT. Jason says he’ll be with the station through Labor Day helping to produce the afternoon show and provide on-air updates.

Two hours outside of Washington D.C. in Hopewell, Virigina, FOX Sports Radio 96.9FM/1340AM has made a roster addition. Dean Perretta is joining the station. He’s expected to serve in a reporter role.

Now for some bad news. The ESPN layoffs didn’t only impact television. ESPN Los Angeles anchor, reporter and host Jeff Biggs confirmed that after six years with the station he was let go.

iHeartmedia also made company wide cuts last week. Unfortunately they claimed two veteran sports radio hosts in the process. Matt Shepard was ousted from WDFN in Detroit, and longtime host and reporter Mike Jurecki was let go in Phoenix at FOX Sports 910. News/Talk 850 KOA also lost its Sports Director Mark Johnson.

Job cuts also made their way to Northeast Pennsylvania. Tom Ferguson announced that his time with Times Shamrock’s NEPA ESPN Radio and ALT 92.1 had come to an end. The elimination of his position was due to corporate restructuring.

Barstool Sports created an excellent spoof with Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett. In the video, Brett types up a blog and presents it to the Barstool staff for approval. After discovering barbecue sauce on the keyboard, the staff make the decision to deny Brett’s submission, which sends the former third baseman into a rage. It’s a well done bit playing off of Brett’s infamous pine tar incident during his playing days. To watch click here.

Congrats to Peter Mundo who has struck a deal between his Big 12 media outlet Heartland College Sports – Independent Big 12 Sports Blog and USA TODAY Sports. Mundo says that as part of the agreement, USA Today will have no editorial control over the site, but the partnership will help his brand expand into different platforms, along with receiving support on the advertising front, as well as accessibility to events, news and information.

ESPN has launched a new podcast.“The Basketball Analogy,” features a rotating lineup of NBA insiders, writers, reporters and hosts covering the latest news and analysis. Involved are Amin Elhassan, Brian Windhorst, Tom Haberstroh, Kevin Arnovitz, Tim MacMahon, Kevin Pelton and Cassidy Hubbarth. Rachel Nichols, Pablo Torre and Ohm Youngmisuk will also lend their voices and perspectives to the podcast. Episodes will be provided daily during the post-season and through the NBA Draft.

Turning our attention further north, SportsNet 590 The Fan has launched a new podcast. Point Taken will debut on May 10th and feature hosts Greg Brady and Caroline Cameron. The pair say they plan to conduct conversations with athletes, actors, musicians, broadcasters, and anyone they can bribe to appear.

A special thanks to everyone who’s listened to the BSM Podcast episode 12 featuring Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News and Bryan Curtis of The Ringer. The program was listed in the top 10 of sports media podcasts, which is remarkable given that the program is produced without the backing of a major company or distributor. My sincere thanks to everyone for listening, sharing, and supporting the program. Be sure to leave a review on iTunes and if there’s something you’d like to hear explored on a future episode feel free to pass along your suggestion via email.

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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