With football season just around the corner, sports media brands are in recruitment mode, adding talented individuals who they hope will create an impact this fall for their respective organizations. As a result, there’s a little more activity than usual to report this week. A reminder, if you or your company have news to share in the future, and would like to have it featured in this column, please send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Now on to the latest developments!
A number of sports media giants will be recognized for the contributions they’ve made throughout their illustrious careers. Chris Berman, Brent Musburger and Bill Raftery top the list of inductees entering the 2017 Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The event takes place place December 12th at the New York Hilton Hotel. To purchase tickets for the event click here.
Westwood One has set its broadcast teams for the upcoming NFL season. Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor works the Sunday night game with play by play man Kevin Kugler. Taylor worked Sunday afternoon games last season. The Monday night booth stays the same with Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason calling the action. Kurt Warner steps in for a number of games when Esiason isn’t available. The Thursday night broadcast will feature Ian Eagle and Tony Boselli. Former NFL head coach and front office executive Mike Holmgren has been added as a Thursday night contributor. Jim Gray and Scott Graham return as the network’s pregame and halftime hosts.
A former ESPN baseball analyst is the latest to join Barstool Sports. The latest free agent signing is former pitcher Dallas Braden. The charismatic and colorful on-air analyst will contribute to a new baseball podcast being produced by Barstool.
Houston sports radio veteran Fred Davis has returned to Sports Radio 610 KILT. Davis spent the past few years working for Gow Media’s ESPN Houston 97.5, after a solid run as a host at 610. He is contributing on-air in a part-time role.
Staying in Houston, with Charlie Pallilo signing on to host for Gow Media’s SB Nation Radio 1560 AM, Joe George has received an internal promotion to produce Pallilo’s new show. George previously worked nights with Matt Perrault and Tony Desiere. He’ll also continue hosting a Saturday show on SB Nation Radio from 10a-1p CT.
Former SB Nation Radio host Will Palaszczuk has left Houston, Texas for Columbia, South Carolina. The versatile on-air personality has joined SportsTalkSC which focuses heavily on Clemson and the University of South Carolina sports. Palaszczuk will team with Phil Kornblut and Tom Hayes on a daily 2-hour program which airs all across the state. He’ll also cover games for both schools on the road. His on-air debut is set for this Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Texas, 105.5 FM in Corpus Christi has dropped ESPN Radio programming. The radio station has changed formats and is now airing music.
The West Palm Beach market is gaining a 4th sports radio station. Sports Radio 1230 The Zone launched last Monday, and features CBS Sports Radio programming and The Defo Show featuring Jeff DeForrest, which originates out of Miami on iHeart Radio’s Sports Radio 940 WINZ-AM. The market also has sports talk content being created by Good Karma Broadcasting’s ESPN West Palm, 640 The Hurricane and ESPN Deportes 760.
Radio Influence has added former NFL and College Football coach and scout and current NBC Sports Radio Football Analyst Chris Landry to its digital brand. Landry is launching a new podcast titled Landry Football which will debut on Tuesday, August 15th. The plan is for new episodes to be made available every Tuesday and Thursday.
After seven years working for TSN as a reporter and anchor, Amanda Stein is ready to take on a new challenge. The Canadian sports broadcaster is moving to New Jersey to become the new All-Access host for the New Jersey Devils.
A few valuable behind the scenes contributors have left Sports Radio WNML in Knoxville. After 3 years, Blake Hatfield has accepted an internship with Charlotte Motor Speedway to further his Master’s program. Also exiting is Amanda Watson, who recently served as producer of the Erik Ainge Show and Sports 180. Watson has landed an opportunity outside of radio as a Marketing Director for Foothills Federal Credit Union.
Switching to game broadcasts, Virginia Tech coverage is getting an extra boost this season. FOX Sports 910 afternoon host Wes McElroy has been named co-host of the Kubota Kickoff Show with Andrew Allegretta on the Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network. He’ll also co-host Hokies Postgame Live with Jon Laaser. The postgame show will run an hour long and also broadcast on Facebook Live via the Virginia Tech Athletics page. McElroy will also host the Saturday morning College Football Tailgate Show which airs across 10 affiliates in Virginia. It’s his second year hosting the program.
ESPN Las Vegas has named Joe Arrigo its new pre-game host of UNLV football broadcasts. Michael Robinson has been chosen as the new sideline reporter for University of Toledo football. Justin McIsaac steps in as the new color commentator on University of New Hampshire broadcasts.
In television news, FOX Sports has added former Oregon Head Football coach Mark Helfrich as a college football analyst. That means the last three Ducks head coaches (Chip Kelly and Mike Bellotti are the other two) will all hold television analyst roles this season.
After a lengthy NFL career, Cory Redding Sr. is ready to start the next phase of his professional life. The former defensive tackle has signed on as a football analyst for ESPN‘s Longhorn Network.
Cris Collinsworth won’t be the only member of the Collinsworth family working on national sports television this football season. Cris’ son, Jac Collinsworth, has accepted a position with ESPN to serve as a features reporter on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.
News from a few local markets, Katie Austin has joined FOX Sports West as host of Southern California Prep Insider. Mary Dunleavy has been hired by WRAL in Raleigh, NC to serve as a Sports Anchor and Reporter. Trish Christakes has been named Sports Director and Anchor by WEEK/WHOI in Peoria, Illinois. Brian Schnee has been named News/Sports anchor at KTVL News Channel 10 in Medford, Oregon. And Charlotte native Alex Weaver is returning home to work in a broadcasting role with NASCAR.
Switching to print news, ESPN has re-signed senior writer Seth Wickersham and added Joel Anderson and Phil Steele. Wickersham has written for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com since graduating college in 2000. Anderson joins the network after four years at BuzzFeed. Steele joins ESPN full time after contributing part-time the past few years to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine.
Jason King has inked a new deal to remain Senior Writer for Bleacher Report. As Richard Deitsch previously tweeted, Bleacher Report has also re-signed Howard Beck and Matt Miller.
Pro Football Weekly has added a familiar face. NFL reporter Eric Edholm returns to the platform that gave him his start to serve as an enterprising news writer. To read Edholm’s welcome back piece click here.
The Athletic continues to add to its various digital platforms. Chris Vannini has joined the College Football platform led by Stewart Mandel. Dana O’Neil has signed on to contribute to the college basketball platform being run by Seth Davis. Tim Kawakami shares that Lisa Olson and Eno Sarris have joined The Athletic’s Bay Area division. Kevin Fishbain has signed on to cover the Bears for The Athletic Chicago, and Brendan Quinn is working the Michigan and Michigan State basketball beat for The Athletic Detroit.
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.