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Ernie Johnson Tells Dukes & Bell NBA Lets TNT Crew Do What They Want

“The only thing they tell us is ‘Hey have some fun. You guys do what you do.’”

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Ernie Johnson was a guest on Dukes & Bell Friday ahead of the NBA’s All-Star Game in Cleveland. The Atlanta sports talk hosts opened the interview by asking Johnson about the All-Star Game Draft last week.

Mike Bell told Johnson that it was the perfect example of why TNT’s Inside the NBA works so well. He asked Johnson if needling Kevin Durant about not picking James Harden was some of the most fun he had on set.

“It’s just fun to kind of poke and prod a little bit and see how much fun these guys want to have,” Johnson said of talking to players.

James Harden had been traded from the Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the day. Harden’s relationships on the team, including with Durant, had reportedly soured. Last year, Durant chose Harden as his first bench player. This year, Durant’s attitude was very different.

Ernie Johnson gave his Inside the NBA castmates credit for being able to make things awkward for Durant and fun for the audience in that moment.

“That’s the great thing about having Chuck and Shaq and Kenny in there too,” he told Dukes & Bell. “They’re gonna just poke the needle a little bit. That was a fun moment. That’s for sure.”

Johnson told the 92.9 The Game afternoon duo that that moment was a microcosm of the larger relationship TNT has with the NBA. The league trusts he, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith to put on a great show.

“The only thing they tell us is ‘Hey have some fun. You guys do what you do,’” he said. “They love any kind of banter we have, so if we can joke with these guys and make it as entertaining as we can, nobody wants a dry ‘Kevin?’ ‘I got him.’ ‘Okay LeBron, it’s your turn.’ ‘I’ve got him.’ You need some of that ribbing from our side of it to kind of move things along. They’re great about that. From our side of it, we’ve been together for so long they can say ‘just do what you guys do’ and they take the good with the bad. That’s a good thing to have.”

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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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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