Less than two weeks after BSM writer Matt Fishman tried to make sense of recent lineup changes at 670 The Score, the person in charge of the station, Jimmy deCastro commented on the moves and Fishman’s opinion.
Fishman’s article pieced The Score’s changes together, connecting them to deCastro’s short-lived 2014 attempt at launching an FM Sports station in Chicago, 87.7 The Game. Fishman points toward 670’s decisions to bring in two former hosts from The Game, David Haugh and Connor McKnight, as well as Dan McNeil who deCastro coveted at 87.7FM. The long-time hosts being replaced were Jason Goff, Matt Spiegel and most recently Brian Hanley from The Score’s highly successful morning show which dominated ESPN 1000 in the spring book 6.9 to 2.7. Still, deCastro strongly disagreed with the sentiment.
“It’s ridiculous,” deCastro told Jeff Agrest of the Chicago Sun Times. “The Game was a pure experiment of a television format to try and drive some imaging on FM. It was a horrible signal. All we were trying to do was be younger and different. Kap and Haugh together on TV and radio was really great. I want to replace that model. I intend to do that with The Score.”
The one similarity with The Game that deCastro admitted to since taking over The Score is the attempt to get younger and different. “Why did I make the changes? We needed to be young, we needed to have more fun. Our cross talks explode now. We needed more content to be able to drive. I’m deeply down in trying to continue to make this hipper and younger and better and engage people in more and different ways.”
While former host at The Game and Tribune columnist David Haugh is considered the favorite to replace Hanley full-time on the morning show, deCastro said the hire hasn’t been made yet and the station continues talking to other candidates.
According to deCastro, the moves at 670 are strictly about making the station better, there is no personal vendetta. “This isn’t deCastro riding in on a horse with a black hat on and an eye patch on going, ‘I’m going to shoot it up with AM-1000.’ That’s not the way we do things. We analyze it, we research it. We think it through. Will we take risks? Yes. That’s why we’re successful,” said the longtime Chicago radio veteran.
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.