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Under The Radar – January 4, 2018

Jason Barrett



The new year is here and we’ve got plenty to catch you up on from across the sports media universe. A reminder to my industry friends, I’m happy to help you tell your story if you take the time to pass it along. Whether it’s a major development or something smaller, if it’s relevant to the sports media business and worth informing listeners or advertisers about, I’m here to help. All tips can be relayed via email to

Now here’s the latest news!

BSM will have a piece coming out on Friday taking a look at the fall ratings for a number of sports stations across the country. Be sure to visit the website or keep an eye out on social media for the column.

2018 began with a number of new shows premiering across the nation. The one though under the largest microscope is WFAN‘s new afternoon show featuring Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray. The trio officially took over for Mike Francesa on Tuesday January 2nd and have already earned the scorn of the New York Daily News. To read the newspaper’s blistering review of the show click here. Newsday‘s Neil Best provided a less scathing assessment of the show which you can read by clicking here. Best also gave some ink to WFAN‘s new morning show, Boomer & Gio, and the Michael Kay Show which took exception to a caller suggesting the program should have been more complimentary towards Mike Francesa when he signed off at The Fan. got in on the action too by crafting an article which explains why Chris Carlin is unfazed by critics.

Speaking of debuts, CBS Sports Radio has turned the morning airwaves over to Marc Malusis and former pro wrestler turned talk show host Taz. With Gregg Giannotti moving over to WFAN to work with Boomer Esiason, Giannotti’s former co-host Brian Jones has left the radio network to focus on his television work. CBS Sports Radio has also begun simulcasting Jim Rome and Boomer and Gio on the CBS Sports Network.

Meanwhile at ESPN Radio, the new year started off with Stephen A. Smith, Will Cain and the team of Sarah Spain and Jason Fitz now entrenched in the weekday lineup. All three shows began airing nationwide this past Tuesday January 2nd. ESPN Radio is also launching a new weekend program, “Game Day“, featuring Laura Rutledge, Myron Medcalf and Doug Kezirian starting Saturday January 6th. The show will air from 12p-4p ET.

Elsewhere, JT The Brick has landed a local 1-hour show in Las Vegas on FOX Sports 98.9 FM/1340AM. The Brick will host from 4p-5p PT prior to taking over the national airwaves on FOX Sports Radio from 5p-8p PT.

Also in Las Vegas, Matt Perrault has moved from evenings to middays on SB Nation Radio. Perrault’s new program, Pushing The Odds, airs weekdays from Noon to 3p ET.

Glad to see WEEI and afternoon host Dale Arnold come to terms on a new deal. Arnold, along with Michael Holley and Rich Keefe, have consistently delivered strong ratings in afternoon drive for the radio station. The combined share of Men 25-54 in Boston listening to sports radio on WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub during afternoon drive is consistently between 20-25, making it a highly competitive battle and the envy of many other local markets.

KNBR afternoon host Tom Tolbert is doing better following a series of surgeries. The longtime Bay Area sports talk show host and ex-NBA player was the focus of Bruce Jenkins‘ latest piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s an excellent read. You can enjoy it by clicking here.

Take a few minutes to read Zach McCrite‘s piece on former University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich. In the article, McCrite shares how the former AD used his influence to prevent him from hosting afternoons on 790 KRD in 2010. This is an issue which many broadcasters deal with especially when trying to serve as a radio partner to popular teams who are run by influential executives. You can read it by clicking here.

A few content pieces worth listening to.

  • Clay Travis‘ interview with Hugh Freeze on FOX Sports Radio was very good. The former Ole Miss football coach discussed his ugly exit from the school, why social media is bad for college football and much more. You can hear it by clicking here.
  • Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith of the Mighty 1090 in San Diego conducted an emotional interview with NFL on CBS play by play announcer Jim Nantz. The conversation included Nantz sharing a few thoughts on the late Dick Enberg. To hear it click here.
  • Joe Beningo of WFAN eviscerated CBS Sports Radio‘s Damon Amendolara after DA went on SNY and said New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles had performed better than expected this past season. DA then phoned into Beningo’s show and the two exchanged a few passionate views on the Jets head coaching situation. You can hear it by clicking here.

Look for a feature soon on The Athletic’s Chicago platform featuring 670 The Score overnight host Les Grobstein. The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg, who previously worked in Chicago sports radio and television is writing the story.

Sticking with Chicago sports media news, 670 The Score evening host Laurence Holmes says plans are in the works for a future podcast with afternoon host Jason Goff. No word yet on when it will be released.

Like father like son. Ben Rosen, the son of 670 The Score program director Mitch Rosen, has played a prominent role in reviving WMPA, Morgan Park Academy’s radio station. The high school senior is providing play by play and a pregame show for boys basketball games. Familiarize yourself with his story by clicking here.

A tip of the cap to Cumulus San Francisco who utilized the KNBR, KNBR 1050, KGO, 107.7 The Bone, KFOG and KSFO airwaves to help raise $500,000 dollars for North Bay wildfire victims. Cumulus is disbursing the funds to three groups, United Way Bay Area, Redwood Empire Food Bank and American Red Cross’ Northern California Chapter.

Continuing with the theme of making a difference, Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket in Dallas raised over $540,000 for the Austin Street Center as part of its annual Normathon. Since starting the fundraiser 17 years ago, The Ticket has helped raise $4.7 million dollars. Austin Street Center is an emergency shelter that serves men ages 45 and older and women ages 18 and older, meeting the basic needs of the most vulnerable homeless.

Shifting to Buffalo, great job by WGR‘s Bills beat/sideline reporter Sal Capaccio on capturing video reaction from Bills fans at the airport after the team landed Sunday night. Despite  en route to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. To watch the video click here.

With the University of Georgia set to face Alabama on Monday night in the NCAA College Football Playoff, 680 The Fan is taking advantage of the excitement by broadcasting a special 24-hour pregame show starting Sunday night. The station’s shows will originate from a heated tent in downtown Atlanta with live check ins taking place from local tailgates. The Fan plans to mix up it’s talent combinations and shows to create a special day of programming. ESPN Radio‘s Golic and Wingo will also be in town broadcasting their show at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Former 92.9 The Game evening host Mitch Evans has landed an opportunity as a sports anchor and writer for iHeart Media and the 24/7 News Network. Evans will continue to be based out of Atlanta.

Dave “Deuce” Mason did an excellent job producing an audio documentary on the career of Sacramento Kings play-by-play man Gary Gerould. It includes interviews with Gerould, Chris Webber, Doug Christie, Marv Albert, Grant Napear and more. You can hear it by clicking here.

Former Minneapolis sports radio host Jeff Dubay has plead guilty to third degree assault. The former KFAN personality will be sentenced on March 22nd and could face up to four months in jail. You can learn more by clicking here.

A few programming promotions to pass along. Jason Rossi has been named the new afternoon producer of Dale and Holley with Keefe at WEEI. Tim Murray will be part of Westwood One‘s Winter Olympics broadcast crew this February serving primarily as the studio host for all hockey broadcasts. Jose Partida has been elevated to full time producer at ESPN 97.5 and SB Nation Radio in Houston. Shane Riordan has increased his behind the scenes duties at 670 The Score, and Matt Castillo has been hired behind the scenes at FOX Sports 1400 in Spartanburg.

Radio Ink recently produced its annual Top Sports Talkers list. To see which hosts and shows were featured in the Top 35 click here.

All the best to longtime ESPN NFL Miami-based reporter James Walker who has left the worldwide leader after spending the past decade with the company. Altogether Walker spent sixteen years in the business. He’s elected to pursue a new opportunity with a CPA firm handling accounts for professional athletes.

In case you missed it, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated reported that Jeannine Edwards has retired from the sports broadcasting business. Edwards worked the Cotton Bowl as her final assignment for ESPN. She had been with the network since 1995.

2018 begins the same way that 2017 ended in print news, with The Athletic adding more contributors to their staff. The latest to announce his addition to the digital platform is Lars Anderson.

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.



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.



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”



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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