From a sports media standpoint, the biggest story coming out of Sunday’s AFC Championship game was probably the CBS halftime show in which the sound blaring from a Walker Hayes performance drowned out The NFL Today crew of James Brown, Phil Simms, Bill Cowher, Nate Burleson, and Boomer Esiason.
Esiason addressed the debacle to start his WFAN morning show with Gregg Giannotti, praising Brown for maintaining his professionalism and trying his best to carry the halftime discussion through, despite no one on set being able to hear one another.
But the circumstance of not being able to hear the CBS studio team talk about the first half of Bengals-Chiefs, especially after Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes made a poor decision that prevented the team from scoring a touchdown, let alone a field goal, made for a frustrating viewing experience. Although it was also funny watching the CBS crew trying to communicate during a difficult audio situation.
The halftime blunder was a topic of discussion for Gresh and Keefe Monday morning on Boston’s WEEI. Besides making fun of Hayes and his “Fancy Like” song that Applebee’s turned into a national sensation, Rich Keefe wondered if producers should have quickly conceded that the audio issue wasn’t going to be fixed before halftime ended.
“I feel like at this stage of the game, you might as well let the halftime show breathe a little bit,” Keefe said.
“Like the Super Bowl, we’re not gonna listen to the NBC crew break it down while Eminem’s in the background. No, we’re just gonna watch Eminem, and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, right? They’re not gonna be down on the field with Chris Simms screaming over those guys.”
Keefe went on to say that for special occasions or deeper into the playoffs, leagues and networks feature halftime entertainment anyway. The obvious difference is that those situations are planned far in advance, while this wasn’t.
Also, the natural instinct for CBS producers and engineers was to try and fix the problem, to salvage a halftime show that was quickly slipping away. How quickly should such a decision to just give up and go with the Walker Hayes musical performance have been made?
Suzyn Waldman ‘Still here’ at WFAN after 35 years
I don’t know if I’ve worn down the critics, but I’m still here,” Waldman told Neil Best of Newsday. “I mean, it’s 35 years, and I’m still here and I’ve had a terrific career.”
Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman is celebrating 35 years on the air. Waldman, the first voice heard on WFAN, is thankful to be where she is.
“I don’t know if I’ve worn down the critics, but I’m still here,” Waldman told Neil Best of Newsday. “I mean, it’s 35 years, and I’m still here and I’ve had a terrific career.”
Waldman looked back on the experience of doing the very first update on the air at WFAN. While doing the first update alongside Jim Lampley, a fill-in for Pete Franklin, she was shocked when listeners did not approve of her updates and tied it to her being female. She thought, “Oh my God, this is not what I thought it was going to be,” she said.
That was not something she was accustomed to in the theater. Waldman had a background in musical theater before getting into radio and eventually joining WFAN as it went on the air in 1987.
“It was a rude awakening,” she said. “But it was at that moment that everything changed.”
Waldman eventually began working the overnight shift alongside Steve Somers. It was there she really honed her craft.
Suzyn has been calling Yankees games alongside John Sterling since 2005. This is her eighth season calling Yankee games on WFAN.
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.