On the eve of Game 3, Pat Hughes did a little dreaming.
“Nobody has ever heard anyone say: ‘The Cubs are the world champions’ because radio had just been invented in 1908,” he said. “Games on the radio did not come along until the 1920s. And if there is a recording from 1945, when the Cubs last won the pennant, I’m not aware of it.”
Hughes, who has put in 20 years and called more than 1,700 defeats, deserves the chance to deliver the historic call. If only the Cubs would cooperate.
But as Hughes mentioned in the seventh inning Tuesday night, they have not led for a moment in the series. The Game 3 dagger came on a 3-2 pitch from closer Jeurys Familia.
“And the payoff pitch … strike three called,” Hughes said. “The ballgame is over and the New York Mets take a three-games-to-none lead in the National League Championship Series.”
Hughes’ broadcast far exceeded the quality of the home team. Working on WBBM-AM 780 with analyst Ron Coomer, Hughes painted a picture the way Jacob deGrom painted the bottom edge of the strike zone.
I always get a kick out of Hughes’ description of what everyone is wearing — including home-plate umpire Ted Barrett and his “black hat, black shoes.”
“There’s something about baseball on the radio that is still a marriage made in heaven,” Hughes told me Monday. “You would think in this age of video, baseball on radio would go by the wayside, but that’s not the case. As testimony, look at broadcast fees, sponsorship and salaries … though not necessarily mine.”
Hughes is not one to complain, but his pipes were rusty Monday, the result of insisting on an open-air booth in the Sunday night chill at Citi Field in New York — and not getting home to bed until 5 a.m.
Early Tuesday evening Hughes said, “Boy, it is nice to be back home, isn’t it?”
Analysts love working with Hughes because he sets them up like a veteran point guard.
After Dexter Fowler took a low called-third strike in the first, Hughes said: “Take a look, Ron.”
Coomer responded: “I agree with Dexter. (He’s) 6-foot-5 and this pitch is below the knees. DeGrom got a break.”
Both came to life when Kyle Schwarber lined one into the bleachers in the first.
Hughes’ call: “He hits a drive to left-center field … It’s got a chance … GONE!”
Coomer: “Can you say ‘Welcome back to Wrigley’!?”
Coomer was not the only other contributor to Tuesday’s broadcast. Television play-by-play man Len Kasper subbed for Hughes in the fifth inning.
Kasper told a story about deGrom having broken a finger on his left hand while helping a neighbor in Florida castrate a calf in 2013.
Hughes couldn’t resist a friendly jab, saying: “More of a television story than a radio story, Len.”
Kasper: “We’re trying to paint a picture here, Pat. I apologize for that … no more conversations about livestock the rest of the night, I promise.”
It turned out to be a pleasant diversion on a night in which the Cubs could relate to that calf.
To read the full article visit the Chicago Tribune 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.