Congratulations are in order for Chicago sports broadcaster Chuck Swirsky, who will be inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame on September 7th. An induction ceremony is scheduled during the 20th annual Awards Dinner. WFLD-TV/FOX 32 anchor Corey McPherrin will serve as emcee.
Swirsky’s has spent nearly four decades in the broadcasting industry. He began his career in 1979 on WCFL-AM, with a late night call-in show. He then moved over to WLUP-FM to host a weekend talk show and deliver sports updates during the week. In 1981, Swirsky signed on at WGN-AM and worked his way up to Sports Director. He provided sports updates on the station, including in mornings where he became affectionately referred to as “The Swirsk” by morning host Bob Collins. He also was the station’s first host of the long-running weekend show “Sports Central”, working alongside Jack Brickhouse. He stayed with WGN-AM until 1994.
Additionally, Swirsky served a public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls from 1980 to 1983. He also worked as a host on the Chicago Cubs Radio Network for 12 years, and on the Chicago Bears Radio Network for 10 years. Swirsky added radio play by play duties for the Chicago Sting and DePaul Blue Demons men’s basketball, and television play-by-play responsibilities for Northwestern University football. He also got a taste of filling in as a television sports anchor on WGN-TV.
In 1994, Swisky decided to leave the windy city in order to accept an offer as the Sports Director of WJR-AM in Detroit. Combined with that role was an opportunity to host the pre-game, and post-game shows for the Detroit Red Wings, and call the play-by-play for the University of Michigan men’s basketball and football games.
By 1998, Swirsky became recognized internationally when he moved to Canada to become the radio voice of the Toronto Raptors. He spent the first three years calling their games on radio, and the next seven handling their play by play duties on television. He also remained connected to radio, hosting a popular sports talk show for CJCL-AM.
After officially becoming a Canadian citizen in 2008, Swirsky had to say goodbye to the country that welcomed him in with open arms. Chicago came calling with an opportunity to become the radio voice of the Chicago Bulls, and he’s remained the team’s lead announcer ever since.
Since returning, he’s also stepped in as a fill-in television announcer for the Chicago White Sox when Ken “Hawk” Harrelson had to miss time for medical reasons.
The Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame will pay tribute to Swirsky for his decades of sports broadcasting excellence in Chicago. He has been awarded the 2016 Media Award by the organization.
For more information on the annual event and the organization, visit ChicagolandSportsHallOfFame.com.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.