Veteran sports talk show personality Mike North will host a Chicago Bears postgame show this fall on WDRV FM 97.1, the Hubbard Radio classic hits station announced Friday.
Starting September 13, North will host “The Mike North Sunday Drive,” a three-hour live talk show after every Bears game. Throughout the season he’ll also call in on Fridays and Mondays to Pete McMurray and Dan McNeil’s morning show on The Drive.
“Timing for this show just feels right,” said Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Hubbard Radio. “All the football experts are predicting a rough year for our beloved Bears, so fans will want and need a place to sound off after the games. As The Drive continues our evolution into more of a Chicago lifestyle station, this is the perfect chance for us to experiment and bring in a superstar like Mike North. Mike is truly authentic — and he’s all Chicago.”
It’s the latest addition to the postgame program competition since the demise of Ed O’Bradovich and Doug Buffone’s celebrated show on CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670:
- After Buffone died in April, O’Bradovich joined Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720, where he’ll host a post-game show with Dan Hampton and Glen Kozlowski.
- The Score this week announced Olin Kreutz, James “Big Cat” Williams and Hub Arkush as hosts of its new postgame show.
- CBS Radio all-news combo WBBM AM 780 and WCFS FM 105.9, home of Bears play-by-play, follows its broadcasts with locker room interviews with head coach John Fox and players. Then former Jay Hilgenberg and Jim Schwantz join Ron Gleason taking calls.
- ESPN sports/talk WMVP AM 1000 features Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Jeff Dickerson, Fred Huebner and Ben Finfer after each game.
With listener loyalties and advertiser dollars up for grabs, North offers an unpredictable alternative among the crowd of Sunday afternoon talkers.
“I’m sort of like almost like Trump in this equation now,” North said, comparing himself to wild card Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. “The loudmouth is coming in. I think things are going to change a lot.”
The addition of a sports talk show on an unadulterated FM music station would have seemed unlikely until last March when The Drive hired McNeil to co-host its new morning show with McMurray. Given McNeil’s 30 years in sports radio, his presence has redefined the station and its appeal to men between 25 and 54 (where the show currently ranks third in the market).
“I’ve known Danny since 1992, and it warms my heart so see that we’re going to be back together again,” said North, who worked with McNeil at The Score and was its biggest star for 16 years until 2008. “Hopefully there will be many more things to come. But I’m very happy with my situation. I’m thrilled that I’ve landed at a reputable place with the arrow pointing up. I am absolutely ecstatic about this.”
There are no plans to team him with McNeil, but North isn’t ruling it out: “I’m going to try my best to talk him into doing some shows with me if he can. I think it would be great.”
North is keeping his day job as co-host of “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman, which airs outside Chicago from 5 to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports Radio.
Credit to Robert Feder 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.