Scott Ferrall doesn’t miss Entercom and he’s happy with his new gig at Sportsgrid, but that didn’t prevent him from taking a few shots at his old company.
It was a shock to the industry when Ferrall randomly ditched his CBS Sports Radio show shortly after the New Year. One week later, he resurfaced with a new show on Sportsgrid. But during a recent appearance on the Bet and Collect podcast, Ferrall told Kevin Rogers of Vegas Insider, his plan was to work for both networks until Entercom came back with what he considered a lowball offer.
“I just don’t like suits that think they’re smarter than me, that think they can play me,” Ferrall said of Entercom. “So the difference was I played them better than they played me.”
According to Ferrall, he saw the writing on the wall when Entercom assumed control of CBS Radio in 2017. Having witnessed multiple buyouts, takeovers and mergers during his career, Ferrall knew changes were going to take place within the company that could potentially lead to a “lowball” contract offer and ultimately his exit.
With his deal coming to an end, Ferrall said he was assured by the “head of WFAN” that everything was going to be fine and there would be no lowball offer, so he began 2020 with plans of working at both CBS Sports Radio and Sportsgrid. But despite what Ferrall believed to be assurance from the head of WFAN, someone from above came in with a lowball offer anyway. Ferrall described that person as a 33-year old Senior Vice President at Entercom who he calls “idiot face.”
Although Ferrall’s most recent tenure with CBS Sports Radio only saw him host on the network, he went no holds barred when referring to the talent on Entercom’s local sports station in New York, WFAN.
“I’m not a felon, I’m not a guy that’s getting everything handed to him on a silver platter as I get out of prison, I’m not on morning shows that suck that no one listens to. I’m not the afternoon drive show that no one listens to. I’m not the guy that falls asleep on the air. I’m not the guy that when he loses to the crosstown rival, retires five times,” Ferrall told Rogers. Without naming names, he was clearly upset at the loyalty Entercom and WFAN showed Mike Francesa and the loyalty everyone is anticipating they’ll soon show with Craig Carton.
“They dealt with all those people like they were God’s gift to the world and they treated me like I was some kinda heroin dealer because I talk about sports betting. Well kiss my skinny white old fat ass,” Ferrall added.
During Ferrall’s tenure with CBS Sports Radio and Entercom, WFAN underwent a number of transitional phases, attempting to replace Mike Francesa twice and Craig Carton once. Ferrall was never featured or mentioned publicly as a candidate to join WFAN full-time, but his apparent disdain for their current lineup makes it seem like he would’ve been interested in a tryout.
Ferrall also touted the freedom he has with Sportsgrid, compared to the editorial control Entercom enforced over his show. Despite the company now displaying an interest in sports wagering, Ferrall said Entercom wouldn’t let him discuss the topic as frequently as he wanted.
One person Ferrall spoke fondly of is the current SVP and Market Manager for Entercom New York Chris Oliviero. Oliviero was Ferrall’s former producer at WNEW in the early 2000’s and an executive with CBS Sports Radio when he joined the company in 2013, before their merger with Entercom.
When Ferrall exited Entercom in January, Oliviero was a former employee of the company, but four months later he was welcomed back. Which poses the question, would Ferrall have left the company earlier this year if he knew Oliviero would return as SVP just a few months later?
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.
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.
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.