Back in 2008 when the University of Texas radio was searching for someone to work its game day football studio show, play-by-play voice Craig Way offered a suggestion.
In fact, Way told the decision makers he had the perfect candidate.
“The guy we need to hire is in Dallas,” Way said, beginning his pitch.
And then Way went all in for Ted Emrich, framing him as young up-and-comer who was working on his craft at high school games.
The decision makers listened intently before asking an obvious question. “Just how young is he?”
Way gulped, offering a guestimate in an unfamiliar soft tone. “I think he’s 22 or 23,” the voice of the Longhorns said.
Way may have known better. After all, he had been pounding the Dallas-Fort Worth high school football broadcast beat alongside Ted’s dad, Roger Emrich, when the boy was born.
Turned out the younger Emrich was only 20 and still in school at the University of North Texas. He had been studying there under maestro Bill Mercer, whose students have included the likes of Way, Dave Barnett, Mark Followill and Rich Phillips, not to mention George Dunham and Craig Miller.
In the end, talent trumped age. The decision-makers were impressed when they listened to Emrich’s audition tape, compiled from Southlake Carroll broadcasts he had started working when he was still a high school junior at Dallas Christian.
Emrich is now in his eighth season in the Texas studio, which includes men’s basketball duty. Still, he never abandoned his Friday night roots. He continues to work for Chuck Kelly’s Metro Sports Communications, which has taken him from Southlake to McKinney and landed him at Coppell High where he calls play-by-play of the games that are heard on KSKY-AM (660).
Of course, Emrich has a fulltime day job. It starts weekdays at 5:22 a.m. when he does the first of his morning sports reports on KESN-FM (103.3). Over the years he also has worked on Westwood One Sports’ national broadcasts. He delivered reports from the College World Series as well as the London and Sochi Olympics for the radio network. On Saturday, he’s been excused from the Kansas State-Longhorns game so he can make his Westwood One college football debut calling the Clemson-Miami game.
Now at the ripe old age of 28, Emrich is about to take another giant step in his career. He is in the final stages of talks with ESPN about calling college basketball play-by-play. He’s been penciled in to call 10 games, mostly in the American Athletic Conference, which includes SMU.
“A huge break,” as Emrich described it.
As luck had it, Emrich filled in for R.J. Choppy on broadcasts of the NBA Development League‘s Texas Legends last season. When Choppy, co-host of 105.3 FM The Fan’s morning show, couldn’t make it, Emrich called the games on KNXT (Ch. 49).
“The way to build a career in broadcasting is to say ‘yes’ to everything,” Emrich said, explaining his detour into television.
Looking for feedback, Emrich sent a videotape of his work to Followill, the television voice of the Mavericks.
Followill liked it. His assessment of Emrich: “Really talented.”
Believing he had nothing to lose, Emrich then sent the unsolicited tape on to ESPN. ESPN’s first response was predictable: thanks but no thanks.
But then one day Emrich answered his cellphone and heard an ESPN executive say, “I bet you didn’t expect to hear from me.”
Among the first people the son called with his ESPN news was his father Roger, who works opposite him mornings at the rival Fan and doubles as the public address announcer at Cowboys home games .
“I can’t tell you how proud I am,” father said of son, who may be the next big thing on the local sports broadcasting scene bursting with talent. “I’m speechless.”
Fortunately, you will be hearing a lot more from his in the months and years to come.
To read more visit the Dallas News where this story 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.