Former Razorback great Scotty Thurman will join the Razorback Sports Network as a color analyst on University of Arkansas men’s basketball games beginning this season. Thurman will work alongside Voice of the Razorbacks Chuck Barrett who will handle play-by-play duties for a fifth consecutive season. In addition to his broadcasting responsibilities, Thurman will continue to serve as a full-time member of Arkansas Athletics working with the Student-Athlete Development program. Thurman has been the Director of Student-Athlete Development for the men’s basketball program for the past four years.
“We are excited that one of our program’s most beloved and respected former student-athletes will now be a part of our men’s basketball broadcast team,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “Scotty is not only a Razorback basketball legend, he has been an outstanding representative of our program and has made a positive impact on the lives of our basketball student-athletes. I am confident that Razorback fans will enjoy what Scotty brings to our broadcasts based on his experiences as a player for Hall of Fame Coach Nolan Richardson. Scotty knows the game and will provide Razorback fans a player’s perspective on basketball and an informed insight into our program.”
Thurman played for the Razorbacks from 1993-95 helping lead Arkansas to a pair of Final Fours, including the 1994 NCAA Championship and an NCAA Runner-up Finish in 1995. The Ruston, La., native is best known for hitting what simply is known as “The Shot” in Razorback Basketball history. Thurman nailed a high-arching three-pointer as the shot clock was winding down in the final minute of play against the Duke Blue Devils. Thurman’s clutch shot gave Arkansas a lead it would never relinquish in a 76-72 victory in the national championship game.
“I am honored to join Chuck Barrett in helping bring Razorback Basketball to the entire state of Arkansas and to Razorback fans throughout the country,” Thurman said. “When I think of broadcasters such as Mike Nail, the late, great Paul Eells and Rick Schaeffer, I am truly humbled to join the Razorback Sports Network team. I want to thank Jeff Long and (IMG General Manager) David Shoemaker for this opportunity. I am also grateful to Coach Mike Anderson for his continued support, allowing me to be a part of this program and this university in a state which has meant so much to my family and me.”
Thurman will assume the role previously held by former sports information director and longtime University of Arkansas radio and television broadcaster Rick Schaeffer. Schaeffer served a combined 34 years on Arkansas’ men’s basketball radio broadcasts in two separate stints including the past 10 years.
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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.