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Under The Radar – December 12, 2016

Jason Barrett

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Here’s a few developments that you may not have heard about from the world of sports radio. To pass along future news, tips or press releases, email JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Could we see the return of Jim Rome to sports television on a daily basis in 2017? According to sources, Rome and CBS Sports Network executives have talked about the possibility of a daily TV simulcast of his radio program. Rome previously hosted TV shows for the network and Showtime from 2012 to 2015. No word on when the simulcast would start assuming a deal can be reached.

As Mike Francesa enjoys a break during the holidays, WFAN will give Brandon Tierney an opportunity to reconnect with New York sports radio listeners. Tierney will team with midday host Joe Beningo this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during Francesa’s timeslot. BT will also host all three days of his national show with Tiki Barber which airs on the CBS Sports Radio Network weekdays from 9a-12p ET.

A tip of the cap to DJ Stout, the longtime program director of WFNZ-AM, 610 The Fan in Charlotte, who announced that he won’t be leading the radio station as it changes hands from Beasley Broadcasting to Entercom. Stout is staying with Beasley where he’ll manage the country station WSOC-FM, The New 103.7, and news talk station WBCN, America’s Pulse 1660AM. WFNZ is expected to resolve their PD plans soon.

Last week Sean Baligian announced he’d be doing play by play of the Carolina Hurricanes game on December 31st. This week we’ve learned that the former Detroit sports talk show host will step in for good friend Bill Simonson on the Huge Radio Network from December 16-22. Simonson’s show originates out of the studios of WBBL in Grand Rapids and airs throughout the state of Michigan on 13 affiliates.

Cutbacks are the cause for longtime sports anchor and reporter Jon Jeffries losing his position at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. The well traveled sports radio veteran is looking for his next opportunity and can be reached by email by clicking here.

590 The Fan, KFNS in St. Louis has announced they’ll be moving into new studios and part of the expansion includes launching a new restaurant and bar, the Kirkwood Brewhouse. Owner and morning host Tim McKernan says the goal is to have the studios ready by May, and the restaurant and bar will open this Friday at 4p.

Bay Area native and longtime radio host Rich Herrera has landed the role of pre-game host and senior executive producer of San Diego Padres baseball on Entercom alternative station FM 94.9. Herrera has previously worked in similar roles on Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s, and San Francisco Giants broadcasts. He’s recently been hosting shows for SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, 790 The Ticket in Miami, and KMOX in St. Louis, and a podcast with former major league baseball manager Kevin Kennedy.

A job well done by the folks at 1080 The Fan in Portland. The station executed its 6th annual radiothon and helped raise more than $173K for Special Olympics Oregon. The radiothon was anchored by The Fan’s afternoon show “Primetime with Isaac and Suke”, which features Isaac Ropp and Jason Scukanec.

Kirkman Broadcasting has changed the format of a few of their stations in Charleston, South Carolina. 92.1FM and 102.1FM have dropped sports in favor of classic rock. The two signals are being re-branded as “The City“. The company though will continue offering sports radio programming on 98.5 The Zone, and ESPN Charleston 98.9FM/910AM.

Congrats is in order for former WEEI creative director Pete Gustin who has returned to his former station to assist with creating bits. Gustin tweeted that he was thrilled to be involved on a part-time basis adding some levity to the brand.

Speaking of WEEI, the newest episode of “Enough About Me” with morning host Kirk Minihane features new afternoon show addition Rich Keefe, who recently left 98.5 The Sports Hub to join the station. In the episode, Keefe opened up about the way the WEEI opportunity came about, and how he felt the past few years at the Sports Hub. To hear it click here.

The Hamilton Spectator published a piece last week showing the early struggles for the Hamilton Bulldogs new radio home, TSN 1150. The station has been the the lowest rated in the city, and among the lowest rated in all of Canada. Executives with TSN say it’s part of the growing pains many brands experience. The Bulldogs moved to TSN from news talk station CHML, a brand that reached more than four times the number of unique listeners TSN did this fall. Officials though remain optimistic and say it’s a marathon not a sprint.

The “Two Angry Guys”, Richard Skinner and Tom Gamble, who previously talked sports in Cincinnati on a number of different stations, and have been off the air since 2008, have released a podcast. The new program is being produced by Ebel’s Sports Productions’ ESP Media. You can download it by clicking here.

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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