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ESPN Confirms Radio Plans Involving Stephen A. Smith

Jason Barrett

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ESPN has confirmed The Big Lead’s initial report that Stephen A. Smith will be moving his show from Mad Dog Sports Radio to 98.7FM ESPN NY and ESPN LA 710 in Los Angeles. The show will officially take over the 1p-3p slot on the NY radio station, and the 10a-12p slot on the LA sports talker starting Tuesday January 17th. Additionally, Smith’s show will be available on SiriusXM channel 80, and originate from ESPN Audio’s headquarters in Bristol, CT.

The show will also be available digitally on ESPNRadio.com, the ESPN app and TuneIn Radio, and as a daily podcast. The radio program will have no impact on Smith’s daily appearances on First Take, ESPN’s daily debate program which airs M-F 10a-12p ET.

“This is Phase I towards much bigger things on the horizon,” said Smith. “There is no better way to get this party going than by starting in my hometown (Queens) New York, and LA, the City of Angels. But like I said, this is only the beginning. Stay Tuned!”

Traug Keller, senior vice president of ESPN Audio, added, “There is no one like Stephen A. and his show is a must listen. Sports fans will now have more options to listen to his heartfelt commentary on the issues of the day, through our flagship stations in New York and Los Angeles, on our digital platforms and on SiriusXM.”

The network also announced a few other changes taking place on January 17th. The first two hours of Russillo & Kanell will move to ESPN Xtra, SiriusXM Channel 81, while the third hour will remain on ESPN Radio Channel 80.

In New York, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz will move from 98.7FM ESPN NY to ESPN Deportes Radio New York 1050AM and air from 12p-2p ET. Le Batard’s show will still be carried nationally, although his New York exposure has been reduced.

In Le Batard’s place on 98.7FM will be Hahn and Humpty. The duo previously had hosted 12p-3p on the station.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the addition of Stephen A. creates some extra adjustments. Mike Trudell and Mychael Thompson will lose their 9a-Noon midday show, and shift to weeknights 6p-8p when Lakers games aren’t on the air. Their move requires Marcellus Wiley and Kelvin Washington’s afternoon show to be trimmed from 3p-7p to 3p-6p.

Also, ESPN LA 710 will extend the morning show with Jorge Sedano, Keyshawn Johnson and LZ Granderson from 6a-9a to 6a-10a, although it’s unclear if all three men will be involved during the final hour.

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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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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