Activity in the sports radio business has been high the past month. Here are a couple of stories that have taken place which you might have missed.
As always, you can be included in this column by forwarding pertinent information about yourself or your brand to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news!
Trey Wingo and Mike Golic have officially taken over the morning slot on ESPN Radio. The pair who are accompanied by Golic’s son Mike Jr. for the first hour of the show began their tenure as the radio network’s new morning team this morning. To promote the new show, Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News caught up with Wingo and the NY Post did a detailed story on Golic which detailed how close he came to retiring when the decision was made to split up Mike and Mike.
One behind the scenes move related to the new Wingo and Golic program, Bristol production whiz Jerry Mailhot Jr. has been named the show’s new imaging producer.
Former WFAN morning host Craig Carton may no longer be on the New York radio airwaves but rather than sitting silently on the sidelines, he’s using the opportunity to launch a new podcast. Carton released a trailer for his new project and you can hear it by clicking here.
The Entercom-CBS merger has resulted in a number of leadership changes in major markets across the country. To read the entire list of managerial changes click here.
In other management news, congrats to Todd Markiewicz on being named the new President/General Manager of 97.1 The Fan and 1460 ESPN in Columbus, OH. He takes over for Dave Van Stone who is retiring.
A sports radio reunion is taking place in Detroit. After being let go in a round of layoffs, Matt Shepard has been brought back to WDFN-AM 1130 The Fan. iHeartmedia’s Detroit sports talker has returned Shepard to morning drive.
1230 “The Fan 2” in Atlanta has removed “The Regular Guys” from its program schedule. Former NFL lineman and co-host Bob Whitfield was taken off the show last month and now featured host Larry Wachs and his remaining cohorts are also done. The station is said to be shifting its focus in the direction of delivering more local sports content. On that note, one local name who’s expected to play a role on the station moving forward is Mark Zinno. The former 92.9 The Game evening host recently filled in for a few days on 680 The Fan. Zinno’s addition would provide a nice boost for David Dickey’s second sports station.
Congratulations go out to Mike Gill of 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City. The afternoon host and station brand manager was recently inked to a new contract to continue in current dual role.
A job well done by the crew at 102.5/610 The Fan WFNZ in Charlotte. The station held its annual Street Turkeys promotion last week and raised over fifteen thousand dollars plus received 865 turkeys and fourteen thousand pounds of food to help the Harvest Food Bank and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.
Take a few minutes of your time to read this fantastic piece on WEEI and NBC Sports Boston personality Trenni Kusnierek. The article highlights some of the challenges of sexual harassment that Kusnierek has had to overcome and details how she’s cut thru and gained acceptance in the Boston sports radio market.
Also in Boston, as a result of the Entercom-CBS merger and sale of 98.5 The Sports Hub to Beasley Broadcasting, Adam Kaufman had to relinquish his role with The Hub to focus on his duties with WBZ. Kaufman had been involved with The Hub since 2011.
CBS Sports programming czar Sean McManus visited with Dan Sileo on the Mighty 1090 in San Diego to discuss the current state of NFL ratings on television. McManus shared his views on viewing habits and why he remains bullish on the NFL’s drawing power. To hear it click here.
It’s not everyday you hear a baseball manager publicly share a near death experience on the radio airwaves but that’s exactly what took place in Kansas City. Royals skipper Ned Yost spoke with Bob Fescoe, Mike Welch and Josh Klingler about his scary situation. To hear Yost tell the story click here.
Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan in Washington DC is being given an opportunity to host a few weekend shifts on the CBS Sports Radio Network. Russell hosted this past weekend and is expected to return next weekend as well.
In St. Louis, Nick Wagoner returned last week to his former city for a few days, teaming up with Anthony Stalter on 101 ESPN. Wagoner is now based in California and covers the NFL for ESPN.com.
Former CBS Radio CEO turned play by play broadcaster Dan Mason has been tabbed to call Coppin State women’s games this season. The school is broadcast in the Baltimore market on WNST 1540AM.
Memphis sports radio host Eli Savoie has landed the play by play role on Memphis Hustle broadcasts. Broadcasts this season are available via Facebook Live thru the team’s page and the NBA G League’s page.
Sports Radio USA celebrated a milestone with its 500th live NFL game broadcast on November 12th. The national play by play syndicator aired its first NFL game November 3, 2002. Founder and lead broadcaster Larry Kahn says the network is still going strong and growing and the network’s achievement is a testament to the league’s success and having help from a number of very talented individuals.
Winnipeg sports fans will be treated to seven more years of Blue Bomber football broadcasts on 680 CJOB. The Corus Radio group has extended its agreement with the team through 2024 giving CBOJ the opportunity to air all of the teams home and away games.
SB Nation Radio has brought back “In the Post” featuring NBA Hall of Famer, Elvin Hayes. The show is co-hosted by Joe George and features a mix of interviews and analysis from the biggest newsmakers in college and pro basketball. Listeners can hear the show live on Saturday evenings at 7p ET or via replay on Sunday at 8p ET on SB Nation Radio and local affiliate stations.
In the digital audio space, Jimmy Shapiro has launched a new podcast focused on sports betting. “The Hedge – Why I Gamble with Jimmy Shapiro” features different media personalities discussing the reasons why they bet on sports and what they look for in particular situations. The first episode features 95.7 The Game morning host Joe Fortenbaugh.
New FOX Sports contributor Howie Schwab recorded a podcast with ESPN’s Chris Berman. Boomer discussed some of the NFL storylines and his first season not occupying a main role on Sunday NFL Countdown. To hear it click here.
XTRA 1360 sports radio host Mark Willard has launched a new podcast titled “Ballers and Babies.” Former athletes turned radio personalities Mychael Thompson and Keyshawn Johnson have appeared on recent episodes. To hear it click here.
The NCAA has decided to ramp up its college basketball coverage by adding longtime ESPN college hoops insider Andy Katz. The exceptional reporter was a surprise cut during the last round of layoffs at the network. His addition should increase the visibility and quality of the NCAA’s digital and social content.
The Star Tribune in Minneapolis published a good piece on former NFL wide receiver turned ESPN NFL analyst Randy Moss. The article captures how Moss has transitioned into the media and has brought an infectious energy to Sunday NFL Countdown. To read it click here.
Proof that good things come to those who wait. The Times Herald Record in Middletown, NY has promoted sportswriter and columnist Ken McMillan to the position of Sports Editor. McMillan has contributed to the newspaper’s sports section for the past 17 years.
A great signing by The Athletic in San Francisco. The growing sports digital platform has hired the exceptional San Francisco Giants writer and reporter Andrew Baggarly. Baggs is expected to play a vital role in strengthening the brand’s Giants coverage.
In Phoenix, Richard Morin has been named the Arizona Republic‘s new beat writer of the Arizona Coyotes.
Congrats to Oakland Raiders Senior Editor and Team Historian Jerry Knaak on the release of his new book “The Dark Truth.” To learn more and purchase your copy click here.
Sticking with new releases, former ESPN producer Jason Romano has a new book coming out. “Live To Forgive” is available for pre-orders and will be officially released in January. For more information click here.
ESPN recently announced the addition of broadcaster and author Mark Kriegel. His contributions are expected to revolve around NBA and Boxing coverage with a variety of content coming in the form of long-form storytelling and video and print essays. He has previously contributed to the NFL Network, FOX Sports, the New York Post and Daily News, and Showtime.
Speaking of ESPN, last Wednesday night’s college basketball game between Tulane and Miami (OH) on ESPN3 featured a play by play voice with great bloodlines. Sam Ravech, the son of multi-talented ESPN studio host Karl Ravech, got his first taste of ESPN activity. No word yet on if other opportunities are forthcoming.
Hard work has paid off for Brent Schwartz. NFL.com has hired Schwartz in an entry level role to contribute to its web content. The NFL blogger is expected to relocate to Los Angeles in the next few weeks.
The Miami Marlins are making changes to their television broadcasts. Longtime play by play man Rich Waltz has been informed he won’t be back for a 14th season. Also shown the door were former Marlins turned analysts Jeff Conine and Preston Wilson.
Sad news to pass along. Longtime broadcaster and former Trail Blazers star Steve “Snapper” Jones has passed away. Jones was 75 years old.
Congrats to Sports Radio 610 host and former WWE NXT announcer Alex Del Barrio. The sports media veteran has been named the new sports director of CBS 4 KGBT-TV in Harlingen, Texas.
The Players’ Tribune has launched a new six episode video series, The First Step, featuring former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse as host. Stackhouse travels the country meeting with athletes to discuss the important issues facing communities across the country. Among those scheduled to appear on episodes with Stackhouse are former NFL defensive back Charles Tillman, NBA assistant coach Becky Hammon, New York Giants WR Brandon Marshall, Lakers and Trail Blazers players Brandon Ingram and Caleb Swanigan, and WNBA player Maya Moore.
Former ESPN contributor Derek Tyson confirmed earlier this month on Twitter that his contract had officially expired with the worldwide leader in sports. Rather than dive back into covering the world of sports with another media outlet, Tyson says he’s going to pursue business opportunities outside of the sports world.
Congratulations to Lauren Walsh. After spending time with WYSR in Syracuse, Walsh is off to ABC 22/FOX 44 in Burlington, Vermont to serve as a sports anchor and reporter.
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.