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Under The Radar – June 13, 2017

Jason Barrett

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If you missed any of the latest sports media developments, we’ve got you covered. If you have personal or station news to share and would like to be included in a future column, please pass along your information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news.

According to The Province, Rogers Media has found its program director to lead its new Vancouver sports radio station. Craig MacEwen is expected to take the reigns and lead the brand new Sportsnet 650. The station landed the radio rights to the Vancouver Canucks in March and is expected to launch as a full service sports radio brand this fall.

After five and a half years in Phoenix, Neil Larrimore has exited as program director of FOX Sports 910 and News/Talk 550 KFYI. Filling Larrimore’s position is Aaron Trimmer, who moves to the desert from Richmond, VA where he programmed FOX Sports 910 and Newsradio 1140.

Meanwhile, one of Trimmer’s former colleagues is taking on a new project. FOX Sports 910 host Wes McElroy has added writing duties for Fan Rag Sports. The Richmond based host wrote his first piece for the website last week and it focuses on the Washington Redskins. Click here to read it.

A tip of the cap to 102.9/750 The Game midday host Justin Myers. The Portland talk show host last week shared a powerful and emotional personal story at the start of his show last week about his history as a child abuse victim. The discussion came up after it was discovered that Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich had molested a six-year old girl while he was in High School. If you can afford 15-20 minutes it’s worth listening to. Click here for it.

ESPN 700 has found its replacement for Sean O’Connell in afternoons. The radio station has added former 1320 The Fan host Kyle Gunther. The Salt Lake veteran has joined forces with Tom Hackett weekdays from 2p-6p MT.

In Milwaukee, 105.7 The Fan has added Cody Grant as producer of Chuck and Winkler‘s morning show. The program airs locally weekdays 6a-10a CT.

Times Herald Record sports writer Justin Rodriguez has announced he will begin hosting a weekly radio program on WALL-AM 1340 in the Hudson Valley area of NY. The show will debut on Monday June 19th at 7p ET and focus primarily on high school sports.

Vince Ferrara deserves a congratulations. The Knoxville radio host on WNML has been added as a play-by-play announcer by the SEC Network. He’s expected to call select games for the network. The additional work won’t preclude him from hosting his radio program.

In other play by play news, congratulations to Chicago White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti. The team recently announced they’d signed Beneti to a new multiyear agreement which calls for an expanded role in the broadcast booth. He replaced Ken Harrelson as the team’s television voice for home games in 2016 and is expected to take over on a full-time basis starting in 2019.

Another recipient of good news is play-by-play announcer Josh Appel. After calling games for Florida International University and the minor league baseball team the Clearwater Threshers, Appel is moving to a larger stage. Sports USA Media has hired Appel full-time to call NFL and college football games.

Duke University will have a new voice calling Blue Devils football and men’s basketball games soon. North Carolina native David Shumate has agreed to join the Blue Devil IMG Sports Network and become the school’s new play-by-play announcer. He starts officially on July 1st.

A new host will anchor the Inside Michigan Football radio show this season. WXYZ Sports Director Brad Galli has been charged with leading the weekly conversation with Wolverines Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Michigan play-by-play voice Jim Brandstatter previously hosted the show but said he chose to give up the assignment due to the increased demands of his position and weekend travel schedule working with Michigan and the Detroit Lions.

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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