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Will Jones Stick With Radio?

Jason Barrett

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United States Rep. Matt Jones, D-Ky.

(We’ll pause to let that continue to sink in.)

Early last week, the host and founder of Kentucky Sports Radio acknowledged being approached by Democratic campaign operatives about running against Republican incumbent Andy Barr for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District seat next year. He said he would decide whether to challenge Barr before the Kentucky basketball team begins the 2015-16 season.

Speculation about a UK broadcaster venturing into politics is nothing new. In 1988, Ralph Hacker considered challenging a freshman senator named Mitch McConnell in the 1990 Republican primary. “I would be a better representative of the state,” he said at the time.

Hacker, the color analyst on UK football and basketball broadcasts, ultimately decided not to make the run. He flew to Washington, D.C., to tell McConnell personally before announcing the decision.

After retiring from UK’s broadcast team, Hacker twice considered running for the congressional seat now held by Barr. Both times he again chose not to run for public office, yielding to Alice Forgy Kerr in 2004 and Barr in 2012.

“It stokes your ego, that’s what it amounts to,” Hacker said last week of political operatives asking a public figure like Jones to run for office.

Hacker seemed a good person to ask about a hypothetical Jones candidacy. First question: Why would the Democrats approach Jones?

Neither major party wants to leave any race uncontested, Hacker said. So the operatives look for someone with name recognition or lots of money. Ideally, both. Jones overflows with name recognition. His profile continued to grow earlier this summer when he served as emcee on Kentucky’s most visible grassroots political stage, the Fancy Farm picnic.

A Jones candidacy would lead operatives to think, “Here are millions we wouldn’t have to spend to get him known because he’s already well-known,” Hacker said. “And I think that does count for something.”

From first-hand observation, I can attest to how wildly popular Jones is with UK fans. He accompanied Kentucky on its 2010 trip to play in the Maui Invitational. Fans reacted to him as if he were a Kardashian. One grandmotherly woman proudly told me that she woke up each morning wanting to check on how Jones was doing before seeing if her husband was OK.

In the 2012 “trophy tour” stop in Ashland, Jones bounded off the UK bus and drew as much buzz from the crowd as John Calipari. Each shook hands and posed for pictures.

Dale Emmons, a political consultant based in Richmond, is a fan.

“Certainly, Matt is an engaging personality,” he said. “As a UK basketball fan, I’m a huge fan of Matt Jones. Because he is unapologetically all things Blue.”

To read the rest of the story visit KentuckySports.com where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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