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iHeart Flips WDFN to Launch BIN: Black Information Network

“the station which launched in 1994, and once created the ‘Millen Man March’ and featured ‘Stoney and Wojo’ in mornings hasn’t been the same since the mid to late 2000’s.”

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It’s the end of an era in Detroit. Longtime sports radio station WDFN will be one of fifteen radio stations operated by iHeartradio which will flip formats at 12pm ET today to make room for BIN: Black Information Network.

Additional sports radio stations which are expected to cease sports talk operations are Fox Sports 1340 in Augusta, GA, Fox Sports 1440 in Greenville, SC, Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, GA, and Sports 1280 in New Orleans, LA. Radio Insight was first to report the news.

Of the bunch, WDFN represents the largest market sports station to be flipped, and the station with the most history and success, though it’s been a shell of what it once was. In prior years, the station served as the home to a number of notable Detroit personalities including Mike Stone, Rob Parker, Bob Wojnowski, Terry Foster, and Mark ‘The Man’ Wilson.

Upon hearing the news, sports media professionals took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the news and the station’s importance to the format and their individual careers.

In a press release, iHeart says BIN will be the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service dedicated to offering an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective. It will also rely on the support of National Founding Partners who share and support the network’s mission. Those partners are Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon.

The company will make BIN available nationally through the iHeartRadio app and accessible via mobile, smart speakers, smart TVs and other connected platforms, and on dedicated all-news local AM/FM broadcast radio stations providing local news, weather traffic and sports in addition to national news — all focused on the Black community and from the Black perspective — in markets including Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, GA, Detroit, Greenville, Macon, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Riverside, San Francisco and Seattle, with additional local markets being added over the next 60 days. 

iHeart confirmed that the network’s birth was the result of a research study which showed that 86% of Black listeners believed a service like BIN was necessary, and likely to be utilized as an important news source. The same study showed that 83% think BIN provides a key service and important information they can’t get on radio or TV today. Additionally, iHeart says the BIN concept tested strongly with both the 18-34 year old and 35-54 year old segments of the Black community. 

As it pertains to WDFN, the station which launched in 1994, and once created the ‘Millen Man March‘ and featured ‘Stoney and Wojo‘ in mornings hasn’t been the same since the mid to late 2000’s. Detroit sports fans have long supported sports radio programming, and 97.1 The Ticket remains one of the more dominant brands in the format today, but for WDFN and former Greater Media sports brand Detroit Sports 105.1, it was hard to produce similar results.

Sports Radio News

SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

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Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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