Well, that didn’t take long. Little more than an hour had passed since Tim Benz signed off from WEEI’s “Middays with MFB” program for the final time, and the station Thursday already had tweaked its promos to reference the program as “Middays with Merloni and Fauria.”
That would be the M and the F — holdovers Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria — but no more B.
Benz, who arrived from Pittsburgh in May 2014 to essentially replace Mike Mutnansky on the program (Fauria, a former Patriots tight end, signed on at the same time during the midday shakeup), announced Tuesday that he is returning from where he came.
Thursday marked his final show, and while those promos excluding him might have been updated quickly, he did receive an appreciative sendoff from his co-hosts as the clock neared 2 p.m.
“You and I obviously went at it,’’ said Merloni, who often found himself defending the Patriots when Benz, a Steelers fan, would antagonize listeners with his perspective. “That’s what this is all about . . . It made for good radio.”
Benz came to WEEI from 970 AM in Pittsburgh. He is returning to the Steel City for an undisclosed opportunity that begins next month. But his reasons are personal as well as professional. Benz’s family remained in Pittsburgh the entire time he lived in Boston. That makes for a heck of a weekend commute.
Whether he made much of an impact during his 15 months on the air in the city is debatable. WEEI did see an uptick in its ratings from last spring, when he was hired, to this spring. Last year, the program finished eighth in the market with a 4.5 share among men 25-54. This spring, it earned a 5.3 share, good for sixth.
So what — or who — is next? Phil Zachary, vice president/market manager for Entercom Boston, WEEI’s parent company said “at least five candidates were being considered to replace Benz, all local”. The whispers heard at this address include familiar names and voices: Gary Tanguay, Greg Dickerson, Danny Picard (though he has his fans and skeptics at WEEI), and Christian Arcand.
A triumphant return of Glenn Ordway, who was let go after a long and successful run on WEEI’s afternoon-drive program in February 2013, would make a lot of sense if Entercom corporate management would sign off on it. From this perspective, he is the odds-on favorite.
To read the full article visit BostonGlobe.com where it was originally published
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.