Here are the latest developments in sports radio that you may have missed. To be included in a future UTR column please pass along your information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news.
One of the worst kept secrets in San Diego is starting to become public knowledge. The San Diego Padres have confirmed they’ll be moving from ALT 94.9 FM to ENERGY 97.3 FM, fueling speculation of a forthcoming format flip. The 97.3 air staff were taken off the air on February 15th according to All Access, and it’s expected that the new format will include sports talk as former Mighty 1090 host Dan Sileo has been hired to host a drive time show on the station. Sileo confirmed via social media that he’s signed on with Entercom and has been going thru preparations for the launch. No word yet on the launch date, remaining lineup plans or if the station will go all-sports or feature a mixture of sports/talk. Stay tuned.
Cumulus‘ financial troubles in Chicago opened the door for the Bulls to move to 670 The Score and the White Sox to WGN AM 720. As a result of those changes, Dave Zaslowsky has left WLS for a new Executive Producer opportunity with WGN. Zaslowsky’s primary focus will be overseeing White Sox broadcasts and the White Sox radio network.
Over the weekend, Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy released a video stating that Michael Rapapport had been fired by the company for trashing the brand’s supporters and employees. Many speculated on social media that the situation screamed of a work between Portnoy and Rappaport, but ‘El Presidente’ told TMZ that it was indeed a very real issue. Barstool then turned the controversy into a sales opportunity, creating a new t-shirt poking fun at Rappaport. Once sales for the new shirt began to take off, Rappaport had his lawyers send a cease and desist letter to Barstool to have the item removed. The shirt is still available on the company’s website.
It’s foolish to put a ton of stock in a monthly ratings report because things can change quickly, however since there is a ton of curiosity in sports radio circles about WFAN and their new afternoon show, Neil Best at Newsday wrote a piece which includes a look at the January numbers in the big apple. To read it click here.
Following the dismissal of Patrick “PCon” Connor from KNBR for his commentary on Barstool Radio, the San Francisco sports station has elevated Adam Copeland. Copeland is now hosting “The Leadoff Spot” weekday mornings from 5a-6a PT.
Things are trending upward for 680 The Fan host Steak Shapiro. In addition to recently moving to morning drive, Shapiro’s company “Atlanta Eats” has had its weekday television show ‘Atlanta Eats: Daily Special’ expanded from thirty minutes per day to a full hour. The show airs Monday through Friday on Peachtree TV from 9a-10a ET. The company also airs weekend programs on Saturday nights at 7p ET and Sunday mornings at 10:30am. For more information click here.
Also in Atlanta, The Sports X 1230AM and 106.3 FM has added another local weekday program. Jerry “Tug” Cowart and former University of Georgia QB Hutson Mason are teaming up to host weekdays from noon to 3pm ET. The show is expected to debut in March.
Dave Shore received some positive news recently. The ESPN Radio contributor and former PD has partnered with BAM Testing to provide a media training and branding seminar to athletes at the Sports Science Expo in Dallas, Las Vegas and the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Other cities could be added at a later date. For more information click here.
Congratulations to 93.7 The Fan morning man Colin Dunlap, who was recently inked to a new 3-year deal according to company sources. The Fan’s morning show has been a consistent performer among Men 25-54 in the Pittsburgh market.
The University of Miami has reached an agreement with 790 The Ticket in Miami to air Miami Hurricanes Baseball and ancillary baseball programming on the radio station. As part of the partnership, The Ticket will broadcast at least 15 regular season games, all postseason baseball and various Canes baseball-focused programs throughout the season.
After spending over six years as a fill-in and weekend host at 102.9/750 The Game, Curtis Long has moved across town as a fill-in host on both the radio and TV side for NBC Sports Northwest/Rip CIty Radio 620 in Portland. The move is a natural fit for “The Principal,” who also works for the Trail Blazers Radio Network and has filled in as the team’s Public Address Announcer in recent years.
With Justin Kinner now installed in afternoon drive on ESPN 1410 WING-AM in Dayton, Ohio the radio station has given him a partner. It was confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Mark Schlemmer has been added to the ride home.
Last week, 101 ESPN morning host Bernie Miklasz joined The Athletic. This week Miklasz has announced he’s launched a new podcast “Seeing Red” with sports writer, author and Deadspin‘s founding editor Will Leitch. To hear the pilot episode click here.
Congratulations to Mike Remy who has signed on as Sports Sales Manager at Entercom Sacramento. Remy has a history in the sports format, spending 15 years as the program director of Sports Radio 1140 KHTK.
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos has been named the lead broadcaster of the Los Angeles Football Club. The play by play opportunity won’t impact his ESPN duties.
Also at ESPN, Senior Researcher Paul Carr is leaving the network after 10 years. Carr has landed an opportunity with TruMedia Networks, an engineering firm with a focus on sports analytics.
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.