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Boomer Esiason On Staying With WFAN Mornings, Not Doing Super Bowl Radio Row

“There’s nothing like being the first behind the mic after a big game.”

Ricky Keeler

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Earlier this week, Boomer & Gio were named as the number two major market sports radio morning show in the country on the BSM Top 20. For someone like Boomer Esiason, he appreciates the journey that the morning team at WFAN has taken together and doesn’t want to leave that.

Esiason was a guest on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast with Jimmy Traina this week. During their conversation, he mentioned having a chance to move to the afternoon when Mike Francesa decided to leave and WFAN thought about putting him back together with Craig Carton. Ultimately, he turned it down:

“If I didn’t love what I do, I wouldn’t do it. They did ask me to move to the afternoons when Mike left and they were thinking about reuniting me with Craig and all that other stuff,” said Esiason. “I was like, man, I don’t want to leave the morning. Look what we’ve built here. When I was saying ‘we,’ I mean also Eddie Scozzare, Al Dukes, Jerry Recco, Bobby Dwyer. I mean we all built it together. I wanted to stay there and I know those guys wanted to stay there.

“I could’ve easily went to the afternoons, but then I was like then my whole life is going to change again. I’ve got this routine, I’ve got it all down. I understand what’s going on, I know what my responsibilities are. There’s nothing like being the first behind the mic after a big game.”

Being on the air to talk about the Super Bowl Monday morning was one of the reasons, according to the former Bengals QB, that he did not make the trip to Los Angeles this weekend to watch Cincinnati try to win its first Super Bowl in franchise history:

“It’s one of the reasons why I think I decided not to go out to the Super Bowl this year is because I want to be able to watch it and then talk about it the next day coherently and not be drunk or hungover from being at the game and watching the game with my former teammates,” Esiason explained. “It’s a labor of love for sure, but I think both Gio (Gregg Giannotti) and I and the rest of our crew don’t mind getting up and getting our day started.”

This year, Boomer & Gio were not at Radio Row for the Super Bowl unlike some of the other shows on CBS Sports Radio and CBS Sports Network. However, Esiason didn’t mind that because it allows the show to continue as normally as possible:

“I’m not big on Super Bowl shows. I hate the interviews. Everyone is pushing a product,” he said. “Hell, I was pushing a product for a lot of those years, so I understand all that. At the end of the day, being back in our studio, being able to have a normal type of show and a normal conversation depending on what’s going on around here to me is more entertaining to the listener anyway.”

While Esiason gives a lot of credit to Gio and Carton for the way they handle those interviews on Radio Row and thinks those interviews are entertaining for the hosts, he knows they don’t exactly fare well with the audience the show is trying to appeal to:

“Both Gio and Craig Carton are really good interviewers. They have a unique way of bringing personality into the subjects that we’re talking to,” said Esiason.

“The fact that I am a former NFL player and some guys feel a little bit more comfortable maybe with me up there and those guys asking ridiculous questions. It actually was entertaining at least for us individually. But we know back home it doesn’t sound right, there’s a lot of background noise. It gets a little awkward at times… Those things sometimes lend to funny interviews and awkward moments, but I don’t think overall the entertainment value is there.”

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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