S.A. radio will gain a new sports talk show Monday with a familiar – and once-controversial – local voice at its helm.
That’s Walter Pasacrita, former longtime air personality and salesman for Ticket 760 (KTKR-AM), who, back in 2007, was blasted by both the media and the Spurs after an offensive skit featuring a fake Allen Iverson aired on the talk show he co-hosted.
Starting next week, Pasacrita will talk Spurs, Cowboys, Texas Longhorns and more. “San Antonio Sports Talk” will air from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays on KONO-AM (860).
As sports fans likely already know, the AM side of KONO — which had been an S.A. destination for oldies for decades — switched formats more than a year ago.
Though KONO-FM continues as a top-rated popular hits station here, its AM sister now essentially belongs to CBS Sports Radio and its syndicated fare, such as “The Jim Rome Show.” The station also airs Missions games and UIW football.
Its latest venture is local talk, giving the two already existing afternoon drive sports hosts on Ticket 760 (Geoff Sheen) and ESPN 1250 (Jason Minnix and Dat Nguyen) some new competition.
To hear the not-exactly-humble Pasacrita talk, however, he has no competition — at least none of his caliber. What makes him different, he said in a phone chat Friday, “is I have more experience on the radio in San Antonio than the rest of those people, I’m more passionate about sports than the rest of those people. I don’t sugarcoat anything. . .and don’t let relationships get in the way of what should be stated. I tell it like it is.”
He does have many years of experience in this area – nearly 13, he said, having started on S.A. radio in 2000.
However, there are many here who, upon hearing his name, may still bristle from his part in an insensitive bit of radio that aired in spring of 2007 on the Ticket 760 show then co-hosted by Pasacrita and Jeff Vexler.
A recap: According to an Express-News story at the time, the locally produced skit, which included a fabricated interview with then-Denver Nuggets guard Iverson, contained references to Iverson and teammate Carmelo Anthony providing the Spurs drugs — something from their own “special stash” — before a game, implying that’s why Denver won.
The segment also included a mention of Iverson and other players cruising the River Walk looking for sex with “Mexican” women. In addition, the fake Iverson talked about firing a gun into the air with the bullet falling on a homeless person. That was OK, the impersonator said, because the man turned out to be an “illegal alien.”
Ouch. Deeming the skit highly inappropriate, the Spurs proceeded to sever ties with Pasacrita and Vexler.
“We don’t want them involved in any way, shape or form with Spurs programming,” was the way team spokesman Tom James put it.
However, Pasacrita said he’s long since made peace with the team.
“It wasn’t too long after that I apologized to Coach Popovich and R.C. Buford,” he said.
“I’ve mended the fence with the Spurs and have covered the Spurs since that time many, many times.”
However, he also pointed out — repeatedly — that he himself didn’t do anything wrong, “other than participating in that skit that we did.
“I never wrote it and I didn’t say anything controversial in it. The producer who put it together was fired at the time.”
As for making it up to offended listeners, the talk host stated he did apologize to the audience right after “the stupid skit” aired. “After it played out at 4:45 p.m., and we came back at the top of the hour at 5 p.m., I apologized to the listeners,” he recalled.
Now, he hopes to move on.
Pasacrita said he’s “thankful to the folks at Cox Media Group — owners of KONO — for wanting to do some live local sports,” adding the whole thing will be his baby. Not only will he host “San Antonio Sports Talk,” but he’ll executive produce it.
Come fall, he’ll also bring a Saturday morning show to the mix. Pasacrita will debut that at 10 a.m. Sept. 5 on KONO-AM.
Roger Allen, director of programming for KONO, said he’s thrilled to have Pasacrita. “We’re excited to have Walter on board” and that “his experience level and brand name in the market will be the first live local sports on CBS Sports 860.”
Credit to My San Antonio who originally published this article
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.