There’s never a dull moment in sports media. The past week produced a ton of news from the sports radio and television industries and in case you missed any of it, we’ve got you covered. A reminder, if you have a news story, promotion, or anniversary to share, you can email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. On to this week’s news we go!
Congratulations to Adam Hawk who has been named the new lead producer of the Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio. Hawk most recently produced JT The Brick on FOX Sports Radio, and previously produced the Fred Roggin Show in Los Angeles on 980 The Beast.
After parting ways with morning host Chad Doing a few weeks earlier, 95.7 The Game has replaced his position with the addition of Dan Dibley to the morning show. Dibley was part of the station’s original morning show, the Rise Guys, which included Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler. In his new role, Dibley will team up with Joe Fortenbaugh, Anna Kagarakis, and former NFL fullback Lorenzo Neal. The show will be titled “Joe, Lo, Dibs and Anna” and debuts on Monday September 26th.
CAA has landed Stephen A. Smith and will provide him with exclusive representation in all areas, including broadcasting, endorsements, publishing and speaking according to Sports Business Journal. A team of agents inside of CAA will represent Smith.
670 The Score in Chicago has announced that Len Kasper will join their broadcast team during the playoffs. Kasper will handle radio play by play duties for Cubs games during the 5th inning, and provide on the field interviews.
Speaking of play by play, Houston Astros TV play by play man Bill Brown has announced he will retire this month. The sixty nine year old Brown has spent nearly thirty years with the Astros, calling his first game for the franchise in 1987. His final broadcast will take place on September 28th when Houston faces the Seattle Mariners.
The taste of crow is one that Brendan Tobin of 790 The Ticket in Miami is about to become familiar with. The midday host said in August that he’d ‘eat crow’ if Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich hit 20 homers this season. Yelich had 11 homers at the time, and entered the season with 20 in his career during a span of 1,458 at bats. Well, Yelich got hot, and started hitting bombs, climbing to 19 before cooling off. But then last Wednesday, he took Max Scherzer deep to notch his 20th, leaving Tobin to have to pay the price. To his credit, Tobin says he will sit down, tuck in his napkin and eat every single piece.
Kentucky sports radio host Matt Jones is launching a new television show on Monday titled “Hey Kentucky“. The program debuts on WLEX-TV (Channel 18) at 7:30pm. Jones says the show will be like ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will venture beyond sports too. WLEX-TV president and general manager Pat Dalbey adds that the show will feature different co-hosts, including former UK stars, political figures, “whoever can lend a provocative voice to driving an engaging and lively debate with Matt.”
The Houston Rockets are tweaking their TV and radio broadcast pairings. Longtime TV play by play voice Bill Worrell will continue to call home games on television alongside former Rockets players Clyde Drexler, and Matt Bullard, but he’ll only work select road games. The team will utilize radio play by play man Craig Ackerman on most road games, and Sports Talk 790 radio host Matt Thomas on radio play by play when Ackerman shifts to television. Thomas also returns as the team’s public address announcer for home games. Additionally, 790 host Adam Clanton adds studio hosting duties on Rockets radio broadcasts.
As WEEI goes through its process of looking at hosts to potentially become a third member of the morning show, one interesting name was in the building last week. SB Nation Radio host and former NFL Quarterback and ESPN NFL Analyst Sean Salisbury sat in on Friday alongside Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan. A vacancy on the morning show was created when longtime morning man John Dennis left the show last month.
BSM would like to pass along condolences to Bob Fitzgerald who lost his wife last week to cancer. The KNBR radio host and TV voice of the Golden State Warriors had been married to his wife Carol for 26 years. Together they have three children. Services are scheduled for October 7th. The family has requested donations in Carol’s honor be made by clicking here.
92.3 The Fan morning host Anthony Lima is under fire from the Cleveland bicycling community. The morning host said on Friday that he gets a “murderous feeling” when stuck behind cyclists which drew the ire of Bike Cleveland Executive Director Jacob VanSickle, who wrote a letter to Program Director Andy Roth demanding that The Fan run educational announcements produced by Bike Cleveland, and require Lima, his partner Ken Carman, and the show’s producers, take part in a class taught by Bike Cleveland members to show what cyclists encounter on the road. Lima said he was trying to add levity to the show, and took the point too far, and is sorry if it was offensive.
97.1 The Fan in Columbus, Ohio has inked a new three year extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets to continue serving as the team’s radio partner. The Blue Jackets have played their games on The Fan since 2000-2001. Ryan Mitchell has joined the broadcast team handling pre, post and intermission hosting duties.
A new podcast is being launched by Jason Page. “The Intersection Podcast” will cover sports, politics and entertainment. Page says it will have something for everybody. The first two episodes will feature Detroit Pistons head coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy. Connoisseur Media CT will distribute the weekly podcast.
WRGRB-TV is in need of a new Sports Director. Doug Sherman, who had spent 19 years with the station, has announced that he will leave when his contract expires on October 31st to join ESPN as a play by play announcer. Sherman has called games on a part time basis for ESPN since 2003. His prior work has revolved mostly around college basketball and football broadcasts.
SB Nation Radio has strengthened its football contributors by adding former NFL wide receiver Keenan McCardell, and former NFL Quarterback Ryan Leaf. McCardell will appear weekly with Steve Bunin and Sean Salisbury. Leaf is hosting a 2-hour program on Saturday’s starting at 8pm.
Sports radio fans in Hattiesburg, Mississippi have reason to be excited. The Score 1400 has confirmed it will be launching soon as a Fox Sports Radio affiliate. The station will carry network programs with Clay Travis, Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd and Jay Mohr, and a local show “Pine Belt Sports Drive” weekdays at 5pm. The station has also added “To The Top Talk” with Jamie Arrington, every Tuesday at 6pm.
Brett Dawson has announced via social media that he’s joined The Oklahoman where he’ll contribute to the sports department’s coverage of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dawson previously worked in New Orleans covering the Pelicans.
A new member has been added to the MLB postseason broadcast team on TBS. Former Phillies, Dodgers and White Sox shortstop Jimmy Rollins is joining the network to provide analysis during the upcoming playoffs. He played for the White Sox this season but was released in June.
Mile High Sports in Denver has added Brittanie Fowler as a video host. Fowler is expected to contribute to the company’s website, and possibly to Mile High’s local magazine.
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.