The sports media world never stops making news and we’re here to make it easier for you to consume all of it. A quick reminder, if you have a story, promotion, personnel move or valuable piece of information to share, you can pass it along via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news we go.
Stephen A. Smith has changed agents, dropping Headline Media in New York City for CAA in Los Angeles. Smith re-signed with ESPN last year for a little more than 3 million dollars per year. CAA, which represents Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd, and helped both men land deals with FS1 for more than 5-6 million annually, are being tasked with helping SAS earn a bigger payday.
The sports radio scene in Nashville continues to be dominated by 104.5 The Zone. In the September book, The Zone delivered a 13.3 in mornings, 14.3 in middays, and 12.2 in afternoons. All three of their shows, the Wake-Up Zone, Midday 180 and 3HL finished #1. Local competitor 102.5 The Game was far behind in the ratings but the station recently underwent lineup changes which they hope will make a bigger difference in the future.
In Boston, the battle between 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI remains a tight one. The Hub won the summer book (July-Sept.) with Men 25-54. All of their weekday shows finished 1st overall and popped double digit ratings. They sit comfortably ahead by 2-3 ratings points in each weekday slot. WEEI was 2nd in morning and afternoon and 4th in middays. However, WEEI finished ahead of The Hub with Men 18+, Men 25-64, Men 35-54 and gained 26% with Men 25-54 year to year. The Hub lost 12% with Men 25-54 during the past 12 months. The Hub though was 1st overall with Men 18-44 and Men 25-44. The two stations continue to thrive and make Boston the top rated sports market in America.
101 ESPN continues to go through the audition process searching for a third host for their afternoon show “The Fast Lane“. So far a number of talented individuals have received a look. Former football players Isaac Byrd, Cam Davis, TJ Moe and Michael Young, former hockey player Cam Janssen and broadcasters Katie Felts and Jonathan Platek have all been in. Chris Rongey is in this week for a couple of days and a few others will appear in upcoming weeks before the station makes a final decision. “The Fast Lane” is consistently one of the top rated spoken word programs in the St. Louis market.
Kent Sterling has been elevated to Program Director of CBS Sports 1430 in Indianapolis. Sterling, currently hosts afternoons on the radio station. He’s previously programmed 101 ESPN in St. Louis and 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis.
It’s the end of an era in Atlanta. Entercom has sold radio station AM 790 (WQXI) to Atlanta Radio Korea for $850,000. Over the past two decades, 790 The Zone broadcast sports talk on that signal and became a very successful brand. Led by Steak Shapiro and Andrew Saltzman, the radio station produced big revenues and launched successful talents including Shapiro, Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini, Mike Bell, Matt Chernoff, Chuck Oliver, David Pollack and the 2 Live Stews. The station was eventually sold to Lincoln Financial who then sold it to Entercom. The station most recently simulcasted programming from Star 94.
Sports Radio 94WIP has added a new producer. Ben Livingston has been added following a successful run producing 93.7 The Fan’s morning show in Pittsburgh which features Colin Dunlap, Jim Colony and Josh Miller. Livingston is originally from Philadelphia.
97.1 The Fan in Columbus has a new Web/On-Air Producer. Brandon Beam has been tasked with producing “Tim and Beanie” and overseeing the management of The Fan’s web and mobile sites. He’ll work with the staff on creating fresh stories, video, and podcasts, along with providing analytics.
Hockey season is just around the corner and TSN 1050 in Toronto is strengthening their coverage with the addition of Patrick O’Sullivan as a Maple Leafs analyst.
Derek Fogel has left 103.5 ESPN in Southern Illinois to join Sports Radio 610 KILT in Houston as a sports anchor and weekend/fill-in host. Fogel will also write for CBSHouston.com.
College Basketball Insider Jon Rothstein is following in the footsteps of Jon Heyman and joining the FanRag Sports Network. Rothstein will write and report for the website. Although he will no longer write for CBS Sports, he will continue to appear on the CBS Sports Network’s studio shows and serve as a sideline reporter on game broadcasts.
Evan Daniels has signed on with FOX Sports and FOX Sports 1 as the network’s new College Basketball Insider. Daniels began his new role on October 1st.
The folks at 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis have added a new podcast. Phil Mackey confirms he’ll be hosting “Hardball Society“, a baseball themed podcast focusing on stories and opinions from baseball insiders. The first two episodes feature Aaron Boone and Jim Brower as guests.
Jake Brown has launched a new podcast on CBS Radio’s Play.It network. “The Jake Brown Show” will feature a mixture of sports and entertainment.
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.