Here are the latest developments inside sports media circles. If you have a future news tip, press release, promotion or other tidbit to pass along, you can reach me at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
According to sources, big changes are on coming to the update desks in New York. As part of the adjustments, WFAN update anchors are expected to handle update duties on WINS 1010AM. CBS Sports Network anchors will pull double duty taking on update responsibilities at WCBS 880AM. There could also be some adjustments coming to the overnight schedules. Stay tuned.
In Milwaukee, Drew Olson has a brand new daily show on The Big 920. Olson joined iHeartMedia Milwaukee in August after a long run with Good Karma’s ESPN 540 and will be installed in mid-days from 1p-3p CT. Former host Mitch Nelles is transitioning into a full time sales role with the company.
Across town at Olson’s former employer, FOX Sports Wisconsin‘s Sophia Minnaert will appear daily as a guest on ESPN Milwaukee to provide updates on the latest happenings with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Former St. Louis sports radio host Brian McKenna is home and recovering after undergoing four surgeries in three weeks to battle a cancerous cell. During the process there were complications which caused nerve damage and partial paralysis to the right side of Brian’s face. Although the cells were removed, Brian still faces a long road ahead which includes additional surgeries and therapy. The broadcasting community is encouraged to reach out and lend a hand by contributing via the family’s GoFundMe page.
Congratulations is in order for Rob Taylor who has signed on with 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland as an anchor. Taylor previously worked in Dayton, Ohio where he spent over a decade at Alpha Media’s HOT 102.9 and 1410 ESPN Radio.
Former WHB evening host T.J. Carpenter has landed a new opportunity in Denver. Carpenter will be relocating to join Sean Walsh on Mile High Sports Radio 1340AM. The pair will team up weekdays from 2p-4p MT.
Following the arrival of 1580 The Fanatic in Phoenix, former NBC Sports Radio 1060AM program director and talk show host Rich Gray has decided to make the jump and work for the upstart sports station. Gray has signed on with the station as an on-air producer.
WGN in Chicago has added former NHL defenseman Brent Sopel as a hockey analyst and weekend talk show host. Sopel will be part of the weekend show “The Beat” which includes Mark Carman, Adam Hoge, and Jarrett Payton.
Longtime Los Angeles Kings broadcaster Bob Miller announced his retirement last week following doctor’s orders. The 78-year old Miller had suffered a mild stroke in January and was encouraged to step aside and focus on his health. Miller called Kings games from 1973 to 2017. Former Dallas Stars play by play voice Ralph Stangis will call the team’s games going forward with analyst Jim Fox.
According to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, Evan Drellich is leaving the Boston Herald for a multi-platform opportunity at Comcast SportsNet New England. Drelich has also appeared recently on WEEI creating some explosive content with Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan.
The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel reports that Kaylee Hartung will be leaving ESPN to join CNN. Hartung has been with ESPN since 2012. Prior to that she worked for CBS News in Washington D.C. She’s expected to join CNN in April.
Michael Gehlken has confirmed that he’s no longer with the San Diego Union Tribune. Gehlken had been working the San Diego Chargers beat but with the team moving to Los Angeles his position was eliminated.
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.