Like everyone else with a passion for the Mets, Howie Rose has spent the week looking back and looking forward, but mostly decompressing as he returns to the humdrum of real life after an emotional crazy-quilt of a month.
In his case that meant calling a Devils-Islanders game in Brooklyn for MSG Plus Tuesday night when he would rather have been calling Game 6 of the World Series in Kansas City for WOR radio.
“It’s a bit of an adjustment, an adjustment that I’m not certain I’m ready to make,” he said. “That’s no disrespect at all to the other side of it. It’s just human nature. You’re riding this unbelievable wave, and then it’s a regular-season Islanders game in November.”
But what a wave it was. Rose, 61, called 2015 “the greatest damn season of broadcasting I’ve ever had.” “It was great,” he said, growing increasingly emotional as he spoke about the experience while preparing for the Islanders game at Barclays Center.
“I can’t find the right words to tell you how much I loved this season, from the 11-game winning streak and even through the down periods, because even at their worst they were in close enough proximity to first place. They lost that miserable game in the rain in July and were three games out, but then Washington comes in and they swept them and they’re in a virtual tie.
“It was an honor – an honor – to do those games. I can’t look at it any other way, man. Look, you want to take exception to this, or other media people want to, fine. But people know what I’m about. Cut me open and I have a Mets logo in there. I’m just so proud to have been there for this season. I can’t say it any other way.”
Nothing illustrates how much it meant more than this: He said it surpassed the 1994 Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup on his personal list. Yes, that includes his famous “Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!” call when those Rangers won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final over the Devils.
“Up until now I could say on one level ’94 with the Rangers was the biggest thrill of my career,” he said. “But when those words, ‘The Mets win the pennant!’ came out of my mouth in Chicago that beat everything. That was the trump.
“You have to understand, and I know this sounds contrived or hyperbole, but you have to trust me, it’s the honest truth: I knew when I was 12 years old, maximum, at the oldest, that I wanted to broadcast for a living. And my two favorite teams growing up were the Mets and Rangers.
“Those were the two teams in my wildest, almost unimaginable dreams to work for, and somehow I was able to do that. So obviously ’94 meant a lot.
“But there was a game the Mets played in ’66 that I was at when Ron Swoboda hit a pinch-hit homer to beat the Giants in the bottom of the ninth inning and all the way home from Flushing to Bayside on the bus all I could think of was: I wonder how Lindsey [Nelson] made it sound. I wonder how Bob [Murphy] made it sound.
“I would always put myself in their shoes in the biggest situations in my mind. So when I had those words spill out of my mouth, ‘The Mets win the pennant!’ everything came rushing back. I was literally getting images of being there in ’69, and in ’86, even though I was working.
“It was the most profound, deepest level of pride, satisfaction and, frankly, sheer joy I’ve ever had in the business.”
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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.