Hubbard Radio is changing the game in Minneapolis. The company has announced the forthcoming launch of SKOR North, a digital-first sports content brand which will officially launch on Tuesday January 15th.
SKOR North will create and distribute content across multiple traditional and digital platforms including 1500 AM, 94.5 FM HD 2, streaming, a dedicated SKOR North app, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The brand will debut with daily online sports stories and columns on SKORNorth.com, social media content, and over 15 original podcasts, including the Purple Podcast, Reusse Unchained, Judd with Lou Nanne, Myron Medcalf on Hoops, The Scoop with Darren “Doogie” Wolfson, and the Twins Touch ‘Em All podcast.
“The media landscape is changing and sports fans have never had more options to get sports content. Today’s fans want sports information and opinions on their radio, mobile phone, desktop computer and smart speakers at home,” commented Dan Seeman, Vice President and Region Manager for Hubbard Radio Minnesota. “SKOR North is a content company first. We will create great sports content that will be distributed on multiple platforms so Minnesota sports fans can listen, watch or read about Minnesota sports teams when they want it, where they want it and how they want it.”
To kick things off on radio, SKOR North will feature local programming M-F from Noon to 7pm CT on 1500 AM and 94.5 FM HD2. Among the shows to be featured in the lineup are Purple Daily, a 52 week per year program focused on the Minnesota Vikings, SKOR North Live with Matthew Coller, and the Mackey and Judd Show with Ramie Maklouf who recently joined the station after a decade in Milwaukee at 105.7 The Fan. ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo and The Dan Le Batard Show will occupy mornings and middays.
In order to capture the sights, sounds, and daily sports developments in the Twin cities, SKOR North will invest in a strong reporting team. Derek Wetmore will cover the Twins, Matthew Coller and Judd Zulgad tackle the Vikings, Dane Moore and Danny Cunningham will track the Timberwolves, and Jonathan Harrison, Jake Depue, Daniel House and others will follow the Golden Gophers and MNUFC. Zulgad will also spend time with the Wild.
And that’s not all.
Adding to SKOR North’s content on a regular basis will be a star studded cast of local sports experts and contributors. Included in that mix are Myron Medcalf and Courtney Cronin from ESPN.com, former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels, Star Tribune Columnists Patrick Reusse and Chip Scoggins, former Twins player and current analyst, Roy Smalley, and hockey legend Lou Nanne.
With the tagline, “Minnesota Sports. Anytime. Anywhere”, SKOR North promises an active social media presence, sharing sports news and opinions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
“We’re excited to entertain and connect with Minnesota sports fans on multiple platforms – in addition to radio,” said director of content Phil Mackey. “And we hope people will find our shows, personalities, written work and social media to be a combination of fun, creative, intelligent and audience-inclusive.”
SKOR NORTH WEEKDAY LINEUP:
5am-9am Golic and Wingo, ESPN Radio
9am-12n Dan Le Batard, ESPN Radio
12n-1pm Purple Daily, SKOR North
1pm-2pm Purple Daily (hour 2), SKOR North Twins Show or SKOR North Wolves Show (depending on season)
2pm-4pm SKOR North Live with Matthew Coller
4pm-6pm The Mackey & Judd Show with Ramie, SKOR North
6pm-7pm SKOR North Twins Show or SKOR North Wolves Show or Reusse Unchained, or The Beer Show
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.