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Philly Changes Have Pros, Cons

Jason Barrett

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I don’t want to talk bad about Josh Innes. I really don’t. I listened to his show a few months back, and while he’s not my kind of sports talk host, I don’t want the guy to fail.

Despite what people thought after I wrote a very critical blog about him last year, I certainly don’t dislike the guy personally. And I wanted to write something positive about his new show with Tony Bruno. But after listening for a few minutes Friday, I lost my mind and also my desire to write something positive.

Innes started talking about how Rob Tornoe, the great cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, drew one of Innes and Bruno yelling at Fanatic drive time host Mike Missanelli. He then said something along the lines of this being a big boom in Philadelphia radio, and said something to the effect, and I’m paraphrasing, that Angelo Cataldi has been a legend here, but this – the pairing of Innes and Bruno – is the biggest thing that ever happened in Philly radio.

Seriously, he acted like this was the biggest thing ever.

Bigger than Wing Bowl.

Bigger than booing Donovan McNabb.

Bigger than Angelo throwing a ball from, I believe, the 700 level to past home plate at Veterans Stadium.

Bigger than “Honk for Herschel!” the “For Who, For What?” scandal and the 15-hour pregame show from years ago when the Eagles played the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

Bigger than all of the great things Howard Eskin did, bigger than all the great things The Morning Guys have done.

This is it!

This is the greatest boom in Philly sports talk! And it means WIP is having its greatest success ever!

Or are they?

WIP was Comcast. It was a monopoly.

It was the sports station. When people thought Philly sports talk, it wasn’t even a question where they turned. It was WIP.

Now “Radio Wars,” a great phrase coined by Kyle Scott on Crossing Broad, is a huge thing and an extremely popular feature on that site.

Is that really a good thing that a battle between the station that has been king forever against the competition is now an all-out war? Why would the station that had always been in first place even talk about the war?

The reason is because Innes would much rather talk about himself than he would talk about sports.

It’s not terrible radio, either, because some people enjoy Innes’ shtick. He is a charismatic guy who does have stories some might find entertaining. It’s about 20 percent sports, and the rest is stories about his life. That’s fine. There are talk radio shows that have nothing to do with sports on stations across the country. He does entertain people.

But don’t gloat that you’re now in a war with a station you previously demolished.

Facts remain, there is a radio war going on, and it’s almost incredible that this is the case considering WIP’s former dominance in the Philadelphia sports market.

When WIP didn’t bring Glen Macnow back to the midday show, they lost me as a consistent listener because, from that point, they went downhill drastically in my book.

They took Rob Ellis, who was a vanilla guy who knew sports, and made him do shtick with Anthony Gargano. They were fans who talked sports. They weren’t the most informative duo, but at least they gave you sports talk.

Then they don’t renew Gargano’s contract and that absolutely killed Ellis. In a year or so, they killed his credibility, and then asked him to be credible again. That’s impossible and it was unfair to Ellis.

I agree, Ellis in his new form couldn’t work the earlier shift, but I’m not sure other hosts needed to bury the guy. Ripping teammates is fine behind the locker room door, but doing it on the air is unprofessional at best.

Pairing Bruno and Innes together for the afternoon show is probably the best WIP can do right now. But chances are that they’re going to continue to lose to Missanelli.

I’m obviously not their target audience, but here’s my advice to them: stop talking about Missanelli. The people who are listening picked you over 97.5, so why would you talk about the competition? Do your own thing. Do your bits, make your jokes, do what got you there. The station obviously thinks you have what it takes to win, so do what you do best. Talk about yourself. Talk about strippers or bacon or whatever. And let Bruno be Bruno. Run your offense, as they say.

It might work. There are a lot of kids and young adults who like that kind of show, and there are older people who love Bruno. See how it goes. But do what you do best and don’t make the show about the competition.

I agree that sports talk is doing great right now, but it has little to do with the afternoon shows.

Eytan Shander and Harry Mayes are now on 97.5 from 10 a.m. to noon, and that’s the must-listen to show these days. They do this crazy thing where they find sports topics and then talk about them. It’s cutting edge!

Mayes has always been a very great host for 97.5, and Shander has been great since he was on nights at WIP years ago. Even my wife will listen to these guys, and she’s not a big sports talk fan.

Last year, Eytan took us all the way from Bucks County to Wildwood and she only asked to change the station once, and that was when we started to lose the signal. You don’t get higher praise than that.

Two other people at 97.5 who should also get a little love are weekenders Phil from Mount Airy and Kwame Fisher-Jones.

I’ll listen to Fisher-Jones when I’m up in time, and while I don’t always agree with him, I do always enjoy his show.

Phil, on the other hand, got a bad rap from me years ago (and still does) because he always loved Michael Vick, but would bury Donovan McNabb. But when he talks other sports, he’s great. Just lay off my boy Donnie.

I really hope we get a new era of great Philly sports talk, but it looks like the next era won’t be my kind of shows. Oh well, at least I’ll have the comments on Crossing Broad.

Credit to the Bucks County Courier Times who originally published this article

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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