Later this month 670 The Score afternoon host Matt Spiegel will see one of his dreams come true when he calls his first inning of play-by-play for the Chicago Cubs.
When Marquee Sports Network announced Cubs radio voice Pat Hughes would be one of three rotating fill-ins for play-by-play this season, it left a void on The Score. During the five broadcasts, pre and postgame show host Zach Zaidman will take over for Hughes on Cubs radio. But they still needed someone to fill Zaidman’s usual radio role calling the fifth inning of Cubs games.
Spiegel’s afternoon partner on The Score, Danny Parkins pushed for his co-host to get the gig, and program director Mitch Rosen obliged. On the five games Pat Hughes moves to TV, Spiegel will fill Zaidman’s regular radio spot, hosting the pre and postgame shows, as well as calling the fifth inning. His first game will be at Wrigley Field, April 25 against the Brewers.
“I’m sure a lot of people think that this is just a radio gimmick, and, ‘Oh, talk-show host gets to do an inning,’” Spiegel said according to Jeff Agrest of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Obviously, there’s an element of promotion that I think Mitch Rosen enjoys, and I don’t begrudge him that.
“But my respect level for the job and the booth is so high that it’s daunting to me. And while I’ve achieved a lot of other dreams in broadcasting, this is the first dream I ever had. So to get a chance to actually do it is really, really special.”
Spiegel returned to The Score as a full-time host earlier this year, when he reunited with Parkins, his former midday partner. The duo worked together from 2017- 2019, but Spiegel spent nine years in the station’s midday slot and has been a fixture in Chicago sports media for nearly three decades.
As he prepares to call his first inning of play-by-play for the Cubs, Spiegel told the Sun-Times that he’s getting advice from his 23-year-old nephew Jack McMullen, the voice of the Padres’ High-A affiliate the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Even though it’s just five of nearly 1,500 innings the Cubs play this season, Spiegel recognizes the importance of the opportunity.
“I might be used in perpetuity,” he told Agrest. “I might end up calling an inside-the-park grand slam that is remembered for decades. That could be true at any moment during a ballgame.”
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.