Last week, the producer of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Chris Cote, announced that he was being laid off at ESPN. Today, on The Big Suey, Le Batard addressed the situation with the local listeners and shared the pain that the people on the show have been feeling since the news.
Amidst the pain that was felt at the beginning of the podcast, Le Batard told the audience that the crew had been trying to come up with a way to keep Cote on staff and with creativity involved, they were able to come up with a way to make it happen.
“I’m actually happy to report that I am going to hire Chris Cote as my personal assistant with a raise to fill the role vacated by Allyson Turner,” the host said. “I will cover the raise, the entire thing. It means that Chris Cote is still going to be on the show”
When the crew wondered if that move could happen, Le Batard took a shot at ESPN since the show has since moved solely to ESPN+ this week.
“Since we are on ESPN+, I am not sure anyone is going to notice for 6 weeks. It’s going to be so confusing. This is a big sprawling corporation. The people who see us don’t understand what we do. We missed our big unveiling at ESPN+ because we were so wounded by all of this.”
Before the exciting news, Le Batard made it clear that he felt that ESPN had blindsided him by not having him be involved with the company’s decision. He understood that the recent layoffs have affected everyone, but it felt personal to him.
“Chris Cote, we were blindsided by him being let go. It’s the greatest disrespect of my professional career that I got no notice. I would have loved to work something out if somebody had told me to protect him because anyone who knows, Stugotz, what we do around here understands that we are a family.
“This time at the company has been horrible. So many people have been affected. We have been affected far less than anyone else…No matter how hurt I am about this, I very much understand that this is the product of a very dangerous and brutal time for the company. The part that makes it so hurtful to me is that you blindsided me”
The executive producer of the show, Mike Ryan Ruiz, mentioned how this isn’t the first time their show has dealt with ESPN layoffs and they feel the network is trying to change them, which adds to the frustration in their mind that the company doesn’t see why people like the show.
“You see the writing on the wall. The show is shrinking. We are now on ESPN+.”
On the podcast, Cote made an appearance and talked about how his dad, Greg, had him on his podcast to talk about the layoff and let’s just say Chris was not too happy about that, but he was thankful for the support shown by the crew and the fans. He even mentioned he got a call from Tim Kurkjian.
“My dad is the worst. He for sure made this weekend worse and more stressful for me. That’s just a fact. I’m so moved right now by the support from you guys and the rare, terrifying heartwarming weekend. I am so grateful for everything.”
Le Batard and the rest of the show made sure to thank the listening audience for their support as complaints have been sent to ESPN by this decision.
“I just want to tell the audience how grateful we are for your outpouring that has inundated and continues to inundate ESPN to explain to them that you don’t understand that this is a family. You don’t understand what Chris Cote meant to our entire group…The part that I was stunned by is that it is a producer on a radio show and ESPN has never been flooded with more complaints by anything they have done than this.”
As the cast mentioned numerous times, the family aspect of The Dan Le Batard Show is what makes it unique. It was a great act by Le Batard to keep the show family together and a producer that people enjoy listening to employed.
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.