We learned this week that Dez Bryant indeed will be on the job at AT&T Stadium on the opening Sunday night of the Cowboys season. Brad Sham, however, will not.
Instead of opening his 37th season in the Cowboys broadcast booth, Sham will be celebrating the first night of the Jewish New Year on Sept. 13.
It will be only the second game Sham has missed in two tours with the Cowboys, interrupted by a three-year hiatus in the mid-1990s when he worked Rangers radio.
Replacing Sham in the Cowboys’ opening night booth will be a familiar voice. Verne Lundquist, who retired as the play-by-play voice of the Cowboys at the end of the 1983 season, will fill in alongside Babe Laufenberg. The last time Lundquist called Cowboys play-by-play, they lost a playoff game at Texas Stadium to the Rams, who then were still anchored in Los Angeles.
The very next day was Lundquist’s last as the lead sports anchor at WFAA-TV (Channel 8) as he prepared to set off for a network television career. That prompted Sham’s switch from the Cowboys analyst seat to play-by-play.
Sham had been prepared to miss a game in order to observe a religious holiday in each of his first 36 seasons on the job. But that never proved an issue until the 2015 schedule was released in April.
Although you may recall that in September 2009, after he was honored with an afternoon reading at Temple Emanu-El on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish Year, Sham flew via private jet from Love Field to Arlington Municipal Airport and was given a police escort to AT&T Stadium so he could be on time to work the Carolina Panthers-Cowboys game on Monday Night Football.
“It’s always the first thing I look for when the schedule comes out,” Sham said Friday. “I don’t look for opponents, whether games are home or away, or anything like that. I look to see if there will be a conflict with the Jewish High Holidays.”
Sham knew the Cowboys’ 2015 season probably would be opening on Sept. 13. He hoped they would be slotted into a day game that would have ended before the holiday arrived at sundown.
As soon as he saw it would be a 7:30 p.m. kickoff against the New York Giants, Sham knew his iron-voice streak that dated to the final game of the 1982 season at the Minnesota Vikings was over. That, too, was a night game. On Monday Night Football, Tony Dorsett set an NFL record with a 99-yard touchdown run. Lundquist called it alongside guest analyst Charlie Waters while Sham was battling an upset stomach at the hotel.
Sham said he would like to take the credit for coming up with the idea of inviting Lundquist to be his substitute. But that should go to Douglas Barricklow, a producer on the Cowboys’ broadcast. He suggested it to Scott Purcel, the Cowboys director of broadcasting. Everyone at the Cowboys loved the idea.
It was left to Sham to ask his friend, Lundquist.
Keep in mind that Lundquist has a job calling football. He is the voice of CBS’ Saturday afternoon Southeastern Conference games.
It wasn’t until the end of June when Sham finally was able to broach the subject with Lundquist over the phone.
“I was hopeful,” Sham said.
“It took me about 10 seconds to say yes,’’ Lundquist said in an interview.
Lundquist, who celebrated his 75th birthday Friday, will work the Georgia-Vanderbilt game Sept. 12. He’ll fly to Dallas-Fort Worth on Sunday morning and arrive in plenty of time for the game.
He has a date later in the week to participate in a banquet for prominent University of Texas booster Joe Jamail in Houston, and then he’ll be back at CBS to work the Auburn-LSU game in Baton Rouge.
“This will be a pleasure,” said Lundquist, who has one AT&T Stadium game on his résumé. He worked last season’s Texas A&M-Arkansas game.
“I am really pumped,” he said. “I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be that day.”
Credit to the Dallas News 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.