The latest sports media news across the country including details from the television and radio industries. As always, if you have a news tip to share, email me at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here are the latest headlines.
- ESPN Radio is taking over First Take on ESPN2 July 11-15. The show airs from 10a-12p ET. Molly Qerim will host all week and welcome a new duo or trio each day to give their takes on the day’s top stories. Steve Mason and John Ireland of ESPNLA 710 in Los Angeles will host Monday. Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman of ESPN 1000 in Chicago will sit in Tuesday. Don Lagreca, Peter Rosenberg and Rick DiPietro of 98.7 ESPN New York get the call on Wednesday. Bomani Jones and Freddie Coleman of ESPN Radio participate on Thursday. And ESPN Radio‘s Jalen Rose and David Jacoby wrap things up on Friday.
- ESPN is losing one of its top television executives. John Wildhack, who spent 36 years in various positions before becoming the network’s executive vice president for programming and production, has agreed to become the new Athletic Director for Syracuse University. Wildhack is a Syracuse graduate.
- Reporter Shannon Spake is exiting ESPN to join FOX Sports. She’ll serve as a sideline reporter for college football and basketball, and contribute to the NASCAR broadcast team on pit road and in studio. She’ll also have a sideline role on select NFL broadcasts.
- The Portland Trail Blazers have announced that they’ve agreed to terms on a four-year extension with their television home Comcast SportsNet Northwest. The extension will cover the 2017-18 season and run through 2020-21. ROOT Sports NW was interested in acquiring the team’s television rights and reportedly offered more years but the Blazers liked the Comcast deal more.
- FOX Sports Radio will have a strong radio presence at this year’s MLB All-Star Game. Both Colin Cowherd and Jay Mohr, will travel to San Diego to broadcast their shows on location on Tuesday July 11th and Wednesday July 12th.
- After announcing his plans to leave 95.7 The Game in San Francisco for its local competitor KNBR, John Lund was pulled off of the airwaves after his show on Friday May 20th. Since then, he’s sat on the sidelines chomping at the bit to entertain local listeners. He finally gets to break his radio silence on Monday July 11th when he debuts in afternoon drive on KNBR with Tom Tolbert.
- 107.5 The Game in Columbia, SC has made some changes to its weekday lineup. Bill Gunter has left 1400 The Team to join The Game in mornings where he’s now teaming up with Tim Hill who had been hosting middays. Hill previously left his TV gig on Columbia’s ABC affiliate to join the radio station in a full time role. With Hill moving into mornings with Gunter, Tommy Moody and Jay Phillips will occupy middays.
- Duke play-by-play broadcaster Bob Harris has announced he will retire after the 2016-17 men’s basketball season. Harris began calling Duke games in 1976 and is the longest-tenured voice in ACC history. No word yet on who will replace him in the future.
- Mike Hammer and Brian Shapiro are launching a new show in Las Vegas titled “The Vegas Take”. The show will air every Saturday from 2p-4p on CBS Sports Radio 1140 and 107.5-3 FM HD3. The show debuts on July 9th and will feature a special guest appearance from entertainment journalist Robin Leach.
- Matt Harab is leaving the Rural Radio Network in York, Nebraska to move south to Houston, TX where he’ll join Yahoo! Sports Radio. Harab spent the past 21 months working for the local radio group as its news and sports director.
- Sports radio host Jeff Weinberger, a fixture on the Memphis airwaves for the better part of five decades, passed away on Saturday. He was 62.
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.