It’s been just over a month since Mark Grote took over 670 The Score’s overnight shift, filling the seat long held by Les Grobstein. (Perhaps in an acknowledgement of Grobstein’s ownership of “Score Overnights,” Grote is doing three shows a week with a cast of rotation hosts taking the other two nights.)
Switching to a schedule of midnight to 5 a.m., working when most are sleeping, is a life-changing adjustment. Some eventually adapt, others never do. And a few are naturally nocturnal. Or they also work an overnight shift, which is why such a bond develops between a radio host and an audience.
Knowing what a major change going to overnights is, Grote’s 670 The Score colleagues, Parkins & Spiegel, checked in on their fellow host to see how he was doing. Grote is doing fine so far, but as you might expect, he’s drinking coffee at a time of day when most of us have switched to less caffeinated beverages.
“I feel great about myself, seeing Matt [Spiegel] staring me in the face, and then being stimulated by the caffeine that is being pumped through my system throughout the day,” said Grote. “So I’m great!”
Noting that Grote was drinking coffee at 4 p.m., Danny Parkins asked if that was the last time he would drink coffee that day, knowing that his air shift would begin eight hours later. Most of us who begin working at, say, 9 a.m., aren’t typically up and drinking coffee at 1 a.m.
Normally, Grote probably would need more coffee to get through his day. But as he explained, Wednesday was his Friday, so to speak. It was Grote’s last night of the work week, so he didn’t need a cup to power him along so much as just feel normal.
Asked why he wouldn’t just skip coffee so he could sleep at a more normal hour, Grote said this is what he called his recovery period.
“Part of the recovery is, I just don’t want to do nothing,” said Grote. “I want to take advantage of not having to be up at midnight and performing a show. So I want to feel normal. There’s a normalcy level that goes along with having the cup of coffee. Because if I don’t, I don’t want to fall asleep at 5 and wake up at 11.”
Grote kind of sounds like someone who needs a nap. But the process of adjusting his biorhythms, circadian rhythms, or whatever you might call a sleep pattern and awake period, is surely complicated. And what works for one might not work for another. Grote might even still be trying to figure it out at this stage.
Parkins and Spiegel certainly sounded grateful they’re not making that adjustment, though they marveled at the feat. Their listeners likely felt much the same way.
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.
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.