Michelle Smallmon is heading home. After recently announcing her departure from ESPN Radio, the former producer for Ryen Russillo, Danny Kanell, Will Cain and Jorge Sedano has been hired by her former employer 101 ESPN in St. Louis to become Bernie Miklasz’s partner in morning drive.
“I’m so thrilled to be reunited with Bernie Miklasz and my 101 ESPN family in this new role” said Smallmon. “Getting the opportunity to work at ESPN in Bristol was a dream come true, and I’m so grateful for my time there and to all the amazing people I met at the network. But St. Louis is my home, and it feels great to be back in the community that means so much to me.”
Prior to moving to Bristol, CT to produce for ESPN Radio, Smallmon spent time producing and contributing to Miklasz’s show. Now after gaining more experience and honing her skills, she’s ready to head back to where it all started and take on a bigger on-air role working with one of St. Louis’ best on-air radio personalities.
“I gave Michelle her first full-time gig in sports-talk radio” noted Miklasz. “I chose her as my producer even though there were more experienced candidates under consideration. But I sincerely believed she had a chance to be special, and she was worthy of the chance. I am so proud of her, watching her develop into a budding star. She is an exceptional talent and person who will only continue to grow and shine. And she will make my show better in so many ways. It really is the perfect fit.”
The radio station confirmed that Miklasz and Smallmon will start working together on a full time basis Monday January 29th. She’s also expected to contribute to 101 ESPN’s digital platforms.
“It’s great to have Michelle come home to 101 ESPN” added PD Chris “Hoss” Neupert. “She will be a great addition to ‘The Bernie Miklasz Show” and we are excited to continue improving our great sports radio station! We are also looking forward to her contributions on www.101sports.com.”
In conjunction with the announcement of Smallmon’s addition, Hubbard St. Louis VP John Kijowski acknowledged that the radio station had also agreed to terms on a lengthy contract extension with Miklasz.
“With all of his accomplishments, awards and honors from his on-the-air show hosting and sports writing- we’re thrilled to extend Bernie’s deal with 101 ESPN” Kijowski commented. “And we could not be more pleased to welcome back Michelle to the 101 ESPN airwaves. She’s proven herself as a sports radio professional on the national level, and we’re excited to have her expertise and skills working with Bernie on ‘The Bernie Miklasz Show” in her new capacity.”
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.