Just two months ago, Forrest Goodman, a longtime Memphis sports radio voice passed away at the age of 48. Among his many on-air roles during the course of nearly three decades in radio, Goodman served as the pre and postgame host for the University of Memphis Tigers men’s basketball and football broadcasts.
To honor Goodman, Tiger Sports Properties, the multimedia rightsholder for Memphis Athletics, announced the broadcast desk will be named the “Forrest Goodman Broadcast Desk” and all radio staff will wear “FG” pins in memory of the late announcer.
The new radio pre and postgame host for Tiger men’s basketball and football broadcasts will be Jeff Brightwell. Brightwell will also host weekly coaching shows featuring, Mike Norvell and Penny Hardaway. As a longtime University of Memphis broadcaster, Brightwell has called Tigers baseball and women’s basketball for 16 seasons.
Last season, Brightwell also served as the sideline reporter for all Memphis football home games, a role that will be filled by Greg Gaston this year. A veteran broadcaster for the University of Memphis, Gaston has called basketball and football games for the Tigers on television.
Tiger Sports Properties and Learfield IMG College also announced three new radio stations to join their network of affiliates for the upcoming football and men’s basketball seasons. The additional affiliates will provide coverage in Mississippi and Arkansas with WNEV 98.7 in Friars Point, MS, KAKJ 105.3 FM in Marianna, AR and KCLT 104.9 FM out of West Helena, AR. All three stations are owned by Force 3 Radio Network.
“With the start of a new athletics season, we’re pleased to bring on three new radio affiliates to the Network to provide fans who live outside the immediate area more listening options,” Tiger Sports Properties General Manager Todd Kucinski said in a press release. “We have a great broadcast team in place and of course we’re all remembering Forrest, our good friend and devoted Tiger fan. It’s an honor for us to rename our broadcast desk as a tribute to his many years of serving with us.”
The new affiliates join the Memphis Tiger Radio Network which includes WNQM 1300 AM in Nashville WKBQ 93.5 FM in Covington and WJAK 1460AM/96.1 FM in Jackson, Tennessee.
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.