Women watch sports, women are opinionated and entertaining. Women make successful radio hosts, yet very few are sports radio hosts.
At times women are overlooked, many will not view sportscasting as a viable career option because they don’t see the avenues to get there. Many women are also deterred because they fear receiving backlash for entering what has long been deemed a man’s world. Chicago radio host, Julie DiCaro has again recently brought this to light.
DiCaro, a 15-year lawyer turned media member, has been covering Chicago sports for over a decade, starting with her own blog in 2007. Now an anchor, host and columnist for 670 The Score, DiCaro has worked to expose how common it is for women sports media members to be harassed online.
Earlier this week, DiCaro stumbled on the website chicagofanatics.com, an older forum messaging board style website. The radio host found a board titled, “Julie DiCaro!!!” and quickly saw it contained, not 756 comments, but 756 pages (since increased to 800 after she publicized it) of comments, the bulk of which were harassing, mean-spirited and derogatory.
After sharing the board on Twitter, the anonymous website admin soon responded.
“Your thread has nearly 23k posts and is by far the most popular thread in the nearly 20 year history of our site. That says a lot about your popularity and above how passionate our members are.” wrote @ChiFanatics in an attempt to diffuse the issue. Unfortunately the passion of the website’s members is poorly directed.
“Why highlight it?” Another Twitter user, not affiliated with the website wrote to DiCaro. “What benefit do you get? Does playing the victim benefit your career? I’ve never posted about it, but from when I listened I didn’t particularly think you’re great at your job either. Have you ever reflected on why so many people don’t like you?” …As if the despicable personal insults are warranted.
DiCaro took to medium.com where she directed her own passion more appropriately, sharing with everyone the inability of many people to accept women into the world of sports.
“Why do sites like this exist? Why do people like this exist? Why do people obsess over everything a person says and does simply because they are on the radio?” wrote DiCaro.
“Frightening women and lying about women and trying to drag women down into the muck will continue to be sport for a certain kind of man. But please don’t be a part of it. You can choose not to be part of it,” she added.
This is not the first time DiCaro publicized hateful comments directed toward her and other women in sports. In 2016, DiCaro and Sarah Spain of ESPN posted a powerful video of men reading actual Tweets containing hard to imagine deprecating comments directed at the female hosts, titled #MoreThanMean. The YouTube video has since amassed over 4.5 million views.
There is a certain amount of criticism that is expected when entering the public eye, but personal, vile attacks such as those many women in sports receive, shouldn’t be said to anyone, let alone become a common daily occurrence.
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.