After two years of anticipation and excitement, the National Football League’s Washington Football Team announced its new name as the Commanders on NBC’s Today.
The announcement had been teased on various media platforms, including radio, television and social media, for quite a while. However, the news was made official when Washington Commanders President Jason Wright broke the news this morning by saying, “We are the Commanders.”
This revelation, though, was hardly a surprise to those who had been following the name change over the last few months. There were people who saw the domain name “Commanders.com” had been purchased, former quarterback Joe Theismann went on CBS Sports Radio Tuesday and spoke as if the name was definitive, and a video from an NBC 4 chopper Tuesday night zoomed in on the team store at FedEx Field to reveal the new Washington Commanders wordmark on the front window, which has been viewed over three million times.
On Wednesday morning, The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C. reacted to the name’s public dissemination prior to its formal announcement, and their thoughts on a scenario that would have made it the greatest name reveal in history.
“For a lot of people out there, Chopper Brad zoomed in on the team store at FedEx Field, and there was a banner saying ‘Washington Commanders,’” explained John-Paul Flaim, co-host of the morning drive program. “And then there were more leaks later on in the evening of the gear.”
Indeed, the new name was leaked early. However, some of the morning radio hosts were holding onto hope that the “Commanders” was an intentional means of deception to avoid the actual name being leaked early.
“I was thinking it would be the greatest misdirection in history if Jason Wright was thinking, ‘We’re just going to leak the name to our players and former players knowing that [it] would get out somehow,” said co-host Jason Bishop. “It would have been so creative, but obviously it wasn’t. They’re transparent. They’ve been transparent for 20 years.”
Washington Commanders beat reporter and co-host of 106.7 The Fan’s BMitch & Finlay J.P. Finlay said a few months prior that all signs were pointing to “Commanders” being the new name of the football team. Yet WFAN’s Boomer Esiason reported on the air last month that the new name would be the “Washington Admirals,” just after the Feb. 2 reveal had been announced by the team.
“I know… I started leaning towards [Commanders] because [J.P. Finlay is] over there every day,” said co-host Eric Bickel. “Boomer was my outlier. Turns out Boomer knows nothing.”
On a day when the Washington Football Team was seeking to make headlines with the announcement of their new team name, Auville felt bad for Jason Wright and company in that the announcement was clearly going to be overshadowed by the football news over the last 24 hours, in particular the formal announcement of Tom Brady’s retirement and former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores suing the NFL and various organizations for racial discrimination.
“Of course, Tom Brady retires and the Brian Flores bombshell hits,” said Auville. “The name change is the biggest thing here [in Washington, D.C.]. They’re looking for that pop around the country [and] I just feel bad for Jason Wright. He’s thinking, ‘I’m going to dominate the news cycle. I’m going to own this day.’”
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.