Just over a month since The Mighty 1090 went dark, one of their weekday shows found a new radio home. Entercom announced Ben and Woods will be the new morning show on San Diego’s 97.3 The Fan beginning Monday, June 10th.
Ben Higgins and Steve Woods’ tenure on The Mighty 1090 was short-lived, lasting only a year before the station closed its doors in April. The two well-known San Diego sports media personalities though enjoyed ratings success during their inaugural year together on the radio.
The duo and their entire show from 1090, including producer Paul Reindl will once again get to entertain San Diegans, this time on 97.3 The Fan from 5 – 9am each weekday morning. The team made the announcement in a Tweet from their new studio on Wednesday night.
The Fan took advantage of its relationship with the San Diego Padres to make an even bigger splash. The station announced its new morning show in a message on the video board at Petco Park on Wednesday night during the Padres’ 5-2 win over Arizona.
“We are excited to welcome Ben and Steve to 97.3 The Fan,” said Bob Bolinger, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom San Diego. “In a short time “Ben & Woods” has emerged as a highly rated show in San Diego and will be a great addition to our popular local line-up that includes Padres Baseball, Gwynn & Chris, and Coach John Kentera.”
97.3 The Fan launched in early 2018, featuring Dan Sileo in morning drive, but Entercom chose to pull the controversial radio host from their San Diego airwaves last month. Ironically, Ben and Woods replaced Sileo when he departed 1090 for the new 97.3 last year. In the interim, The Fan’s morning show has been hosted by longtime San Diego radio personality, John Kentera.
Prior to shutting down, The Mighty 1090 had regularly beaten 97.3 The Fan according to the local Nielsen radio ratings, leading many to wonder if Entercom would add talent from their now deceased radio rival. Ben and Woods are the first to make the jump to Entercom. Other former 1090 hosts, Darren Smith and Scott Kaplan remain free agents, although Kaplan’s Scott and BR hasn’t missed a day since 1090 went dark, continuing to offer a live show on YouTube and TuneIn.
Ben and Woods will be the second local show on The Fan’s weekday lineup. Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello host afternoon drive on 97.3, with the rest of the schedule filled out by national shows, featuring Jim Rome from 9am – noon and Doug Gottlieb from noon – 3pm.
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.