Bernie Miklasz is the most well-connected member of the St. Louis sports media, with many sources near and far, and has been a force on the internet and social media as well as in print. He doesn’t mince words, as he’s paid not only to provide information but also give his opinion.
But those offerings soon will be on the move. Miklasz, who has been a sports columnist for the Post-Dispatch since returning to the publication in 1989, has his farewell pieces this weekend in the paper and its online component, STLtoday.com.
On tap is a “Bernie Bits” column Saturday in which he plans to “do stuff like pick my favorite moments, worst moments, favorite athletes, least favorite, favorite events, biggest regrets, my biggest mistakes, etc.” He added that his finale on Sunday will be “personal in nature … and probably overly sentimental.”
He doesn’t want to get into details about his decision to leave the company for which he has been employed for more than a quarter century and take an offer to be on the air and write for the website of St. Louis sports-talk station WXOS (101.1 FM), which he has been associated with in a variety of ways for six years — most recently making regular on-air guest appearances.
It’s a big change, and possibly a big risk, for a guy who is 56.
WXOS’ main identity is tied to the Rams, as it has been the flagship outlet of the team’s radio network since the station adopted the jock-talk format in 2009 and much of its programming is football-related. But the Rams might be gone after this season and the full impact that would have on the station is uncertain.
“I gave that some thought but in the end it was a non-factor,’’ Miklasz said. “The Rams are an asset, but the station’s ratings and financial success isn’t dependent on airing Rams games or related events. … Working in sports media, the more material you have the better. So I hope the Rams stay. But if the Rams move it doesn’t mean the station will go off the air, or I won’t have a show, or I will sit and stare at my laptop, unable to think of topics to write about.”
“We didn’t build the business model with play-by-play,” he said. “The concentration was Monday-Friday” from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. “That’s still really important. … It doesn’t change our business plan, but having an NFL franchise is so valuable it definitely would be missed.”
Miklasz is highly popular and received a special deal at the Post-Dispatch two years ago when he expanded his duties and gave up his daily show on WXOS, so he is relinquishing something that at least on the surface seems much more solid long-term than does venturing into the fickle radio field — in which format changes happen frequently. On the other hand, the newspaper industry — including the Post-Dispatch — certainly isn’t the same as it was even five years ago. Media increasingly has become a bottom-line business, where corporate profit goals often supersede what is in the best interest of individual employees. Again, this isn’t limited to the Post-Dispatch — it’s a way of life in many media outlets. Just ask people at many of the local TV or radio stations.
So Miklasz moves on.
“It’s a big world out there,” he said. “Plus, I could talk and write about Cardinals baseball 365 days a year, and a significant percentage of the local population would be happy.”
THE NEXT CHAPTERS
Now Miklasz will combine his top professional love, writing, with returning to the air on a daily basis. It’s familiar territory as he has hosted a radio show on numerous stations over the years. This time, he’ll be on 101.1 FM from 7-10 a.m. weekdays and bump the last two hours of the ESPN Radio show hosted by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic — a move that took some negotiations between WXOS and ESPN to accomplish.
The arrival of Miklasz, who is to start Aug. 31, will lead to other lineup tweaks — each subsequent show is to start one hour later than it now airs. Kevin Wheeler will be on from 10 a.m-1 p.m., Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter from 1-3 p.m., followed by Randy Karraker, D’Marco Farr and Brad Thompson moving to the 3-7 p.m. slot.
Meanwhile, Hensley vows that Sports in the Post-Dispatch and its website will remain sturdy.
“We have an opportunity here to embrace change and to make things better than ever,” he said. “But the bottom line is this: We will continue to be the undisputed leader in St. Louis when it comes to providing daily coverage and commentary on our teams. No question.”
To read the article in its entirety visit STL Today 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.