According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Adam Schein declined the chance to replace Mike Francesa, making it the second time in less than two years WFAN failed to convince their former host to return.
Schein currently has a weekday show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio, followed by his TV gig, Time to Schein on CBS Sports Network every night at 6pm ET. While Schein is in the middle of a contract with CBS, his SiriusXM deal was nearing expiration, which meant Entercom needed to strike now to lure him to WFAN. According to Marchand, Schein instead agreed to a contract extension with SiriusXM, ending any chance of a WFAN return.
Recently, BSM President Jason Barrett released a podcast featuring Adam Schein, where the two spoke extensively about Schein’s start at WFAN and passing on the opportunity to take over their afternoon show last year.
“In terms of turning it down per say, I always refer to it this way, I wasn’t available,” Schein told Barrett. “Under contract at SiriusXM…under contract at CBS…I have too much respect to FAN to ever say I turned it down.”
After beginning as an intern in the mid-90s, later working as a part-time host, Schein left WFAN in 2004 to join Sirius even before Howard Stern made the jump to satellite radio. “FAN is amazing, that spot is amazing, my jobs right now are also amazing, I love SiriusXM, I’m loyal to SiriusXM, I love CBS, I’m loyal to CBS,” Schein said during his interview with Barrett.
Hosting afternoon drive on WFAN was Schein’s childhood dream, but he’s turned the opportunity down twice. The first time, because he wasn’t available while under contract with SiriusXM. The second time, because the show isn’t available as Francesa still controls the timeslot.
If Schein chose to leave his daily show at SiriusXM and return to WFAN, it’s unclear how he would’ve been used while waiting for Mike to retire again. According to Marchand, it’s possible FAN would have locked Schein up just to have him ready for when Francesa leaves. The station also could have paired Schein with Mike for a short period of time as a way of transitioning to a new show.
Although reports from last spring originally stated Francesa was returning to FAN for two years, the New York radio icon stated multiple times that he declined to sign a contract with the company. Entercom and their VP of sports programming, Mark Chernoff has undoubtedly discussed the future with Mike, but no one knows when Francesa will depart for good.
Francesa has already waffled once, retiring for four months, then forcing a shakeup of WFAN’s lineup to make room for his return. In a statement sent to Andrew Marchand, Chernoff says Entercom is “100 percent” behind Mike Francesa.
Don’t expect a second farewell tour for the Sports Pope, but a year of rumored replacements will circle WFAN as Francesa continues the task of fending off Michael Kay in a ratings battle.
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.