Welcome once again to our weekly look inside the sports media world. This column exists to keep you up to date on some of the recent moves and developments taking place in the industry that you might not have been aware of. If you or your organization have exciting news to share and wish to be included in a future article, you can email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to this week’s tidbits.
- Last week was the 25 year anniversary for one of America’s leading sports radio stations WEEI in Boston. Congrats to all involved who have helped make it one of the best in the format for over two decades. Former Program Director Jason Wolfe wrote an excellent piece reflecting on the evolution of the brand. You can read it by clicking here.
- Speaking of anniversaries, congratulations to Arizona Sports 98.7FM host John Gambadoro who recently celebrated twenty years on the air in Phoenix. “Gambo” as he’s known by his audience currently works the afternoon show alongside Dave Burns.
- Longtime producer and on-air sidekick Marc “Nigel” Sterne has reconnected with popular Washington DC and PTI personality Tony Kornheiser to contribute to his new podcasting venture which is being distributed by DGital Media and IMG. Sterne began his new role last Tuesday. He previously worked with Kornheiser at ESPN 980.
- A round of applause is in order for Brian “The Beast” London who was named the new Programming Coordinator for 790 The Ticket in Miami. Program Director Len Weiner told his staff last week that London was promoted as a result of demonstrating strong work ethic and stepping up to tackle additional responsibilities inside the programming department, including working with sales and promotions, and technical and logistics, all while maintaining his on-air role in middays.
- In Albany, Tom Goslowski has also earned a job promotion. “Goz” has been named Jeff Levack’s new co-host on 104.5 The Team. He takes over for Bob “Wolf” Wohlfeld who was let go by the radio station a few weeks ago. The new show is being billed “Levack and Goz”.
- Former ESPN and FOX Sports sideline reporter, and Gridiron Now contributor Kayce Smith is adding a new show on SB Nation Radio. The program debuts on September 19th at 3pm. Smith says that she enjoyed her time on the sidelines, but was more interested in sharing her opinions and being part of today’s debate culture.
- Sports Radio 950 KJR midday host Ian Furness has agreed to serve as the TV play by play voice of the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Western Hockey League franchise will have eight of their games broadcast in the Seattle area on This TV, channel 13.2 and on Comcast Cable channel 357. Furness will call six of the eight contests.
- Former NFL Offensive Lineman, and current FOX Sports Radio weekend host and Oakland Raiders radio sideline reporter Lincoln Kennedy has confirmed that he’ll be hosting a weekly show with Grant Napear on 1140 KHTK in Sacramento. “The Nation” will air Wednesday’s from 6p-7p PT and focus on all things silver and black.
- Buffalo News Columnist Tim Graham has added a Wednesday night show on 1270 The Fan. The program airs 5p-7p ET and is in place for the 2016 NFL season. No word on whether it will be continued after that.
- Nick Kostos announced via social media that he’s re-signed with CBS Sports. The former satellite radio host on Mad Dog Sports Radio and Bleacher Report radio joined CBS Sports in October 2015 and says he’s humbled and blessed to continue living out his dreams by working for the company.
- A familiar face has returned to the St. Louis sports radio scene. Dave Greene, who previously worked on-air and later as GM and owner of Grand Slam Sports (creator of St. Louis Sports Magazine) has signed on as the VP of Sales at Tim McKernan’s new 590 The Fan KFNS. Greene spent the past two years working as a GM for Cumulus Media in Huntsville, Alabama, and Townsquare Media in Quincy, IL.
- Matt Bagley has been hired as Sports Director at KTMT in Medford, Oregon. As part of his new role, Bagley will deliver news and sports updates and broadcast high school play by play.
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.