It’s been a while since we passed along some UTR news. A few of these stories you may be aware of, some you might have missed, and a couple are brand new. Regardless, it never hurts to stay informed about what’s happening across the sports media business.
A reminder that it helps us a ton when you’re able to share information about yourself or your brand. We track down a lot of things thru researching and sourcing but if it’s going to become public news anyway, you might as well alert the industry in addition to your social media following. To have your news included in this column, send an email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Now here’s the latest!
Congrats goes out to Gregg Henson. The veteran sports radio host and program director has left Lincoln, Nebraska where he was hosting on Alpha Media‘s News/Talk station KFOR in order to join Entercom as program director of News/Talk WRVA and FOX Sports 910 in Richmond, Viriginia. Henson has already relocated and began his new assignment.
Another recipient of a PD promotion is Rob Thompson in San Antonio. The afternoon co-host of “The Blitz,” which includes Jason Minnix, was given the keys to the station’s programming department. Thompson’s station, ESPN 1250, is owned and operated by Alpha Media.
Word on the street is former 95.7 The Game program director Don Kollins is getting ready to tackle a new challenge. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement on Kollins’ next assignment.
San Diego’s new FM sports station 97.3 The Fan has found the program director it’s been looking for. An official announcement will be made in the near future.
In Miami, Brian “The Beast” London has been elevated to Assistant Program Director of WQAM and 790 The Ticket. London remains involved on-air as well, co-hosting in middays on The Ticket alongside Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard. Both Miami sports stations are owned and operated by Entercom.
Further up the coast in Virginia, Nick Cattles has decided to leave his hometown of Boston to return to where he established himself as an afternoon drive host. Cattles has exited 98.5 The Sports Hub where he was a nightly contributor to Adam Jones‘ show to head back to Max Media’s ESPN Radio 94.1. Cattles’ return unfortunately means the end of Jeff Pantridge‘s run in Virginia Beach. Jeff is looking for his next opportunity and can be reached by clicking here.
Although Cattles’ exit leaves The Sports Hub down a staff member, the station did recently make a move adding Ty Anderson as a full-time contributor.
It’s good to see Rob Ellis back behind a microphone in Philadelphia. The sports radio veteran has returned to Sports Radio WIP. He was last heard in middays on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Ellis’ former home 97.5 The Fanatic has also made some moves. The radio station has paired Geoff Mosher and Devon Givens in evenings on the 6p-9p shift. Joe Tordy gets the call to host weeknights from 9p-12a.
After officially becoming a radio free agent, former 670 The Score talk show host Jason Goff will be doing a few shows this week in Charlotte on WFNZ. Goff will be working the midday shift alongside Chris Kroeger.
In other Chicago related news, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a piece looking at the local battle between ESPN 1000 and 670 The Score. To read the article click here.
Although we don’t much on monthly ratings since quarterlies matter most, there were a few items worth passing along from the April book in Chicago. The return of the Chicago Cubs paid dividends for The Score but surprisingly Waddle and Silvy on 1000 pulled a 4.9 in PM drive which was equal to The Score’s share. That’s of interest because it marked the first month of Danny Parkins and Dan McNeil working together in afternoons (McNeil was sidelined for a while with vocal cord issues) and the Cubs cut into some portion of the afternoon schedule for ten dates during the month. In mornings the news wasn’t as positive for 1000 as Golic and Wingo were soundly defeated by Mully and Hanley.
Another ratings story worth sharing comes from Salt Lake City. 1280/97.5 The Zone finished the month of April 1st with Men 25-54 with just above an eight and a half share. The rise of Donovan Mitchell and another Utah Jazz playoff run certainly didn’t hurt business. The Zone’s closest competitors KSL and X96 trailed the Salt Lake sports talker by more than a full ratings point.
Jake Bockoven has signed off at 93.7 The Ticket in Lincoln, Nebraska. The station gave him a sendoff in early May. No word yet on what Bockoven has planned for his future. The Ticket has added Michael Snow to afternoons alongside Brett Kane to fill Bockoven’s position.
Another host with ties to 93.7 The Ticket is in the market for a new opportunity. Mike Welch was let go in Kansas City where he had been working on the morning show with Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler for 610 Sports. To get in touch with Welch about future openings you can reach him by clicking here.
Welch isn’t the only person in Kansas City to have their situation change. After 18 years with Sports Radio 810 WHB, Danny Clinkscale has left the station due to what he labeled on Twitter “downsizing.” Clinkscale says he’s not finished working in the format and is appreciative of having a chance to spend close to two decades working for one employer.
Cincinnati sports radio listeners now have another local program to listen to. Kentucky Sports Radio featuring Matt Jones has been added in the market on 1360AM FOX Sports Radio. Jones’ show originates out of Kentucky and is heard in 41 markets and throughout 4 states.
The Star-Telegram produced a great read on 105.3 The Fan‘s afternoon team, Ben & Skin. To become more familiar with their sports radio journey click here.
Continuing with profile pieces, Newsday in New York published a piece on Mike Francesa’s producer Brian Monzo. To get a better read on Monzo’s career click here.
In South Carolina, 105.5 The Roar has added a new weekend program. Kelly Gramlich has been given a hosting opportunity on Saturday mornings at 10am.
ESPN 700 in Salt Lake City has named Mitch Harper as the station’s Executive Producer. Harper is expected to work closely with midday host, program director and Utah play by play voice Bill Riley.
Behind the scenes support has been added as well at Orange and Blue 760 in Denver. PD Tim Spence has hired Michael Coover to serve as the station’s Executive Producer. Coover returns to Denver where he previously worked for 104.3 The Fan. He had recently been working as a talent booker for Envision Networks in New York City.
Speaking of 104.3 The Fan, a tip of the cap to the station’s digital team which put together a fantastic video featuring local listener, Corporal Jason Rump, who served in the military and listened to the station regularly while serving overseas. The serviceman presented hosts Zach Bye and Brandon Stokley with an American flag which flew on a base in Afghanistan. To see how the station honored Corporal Rump and made use of the flag click here.
Kudos to 710 ESPN in Seattle who tried something different in morning drive on Memorial Day. With Brock Huard and Mike Salk off, 710 turned mornings over to two women, Lydia Cruz and Stacy Rost. Cruz hosts weekday mornings from 6a-7a and Rost writes for the station’s website MyNorthwest.com.
Congratulations is in order for Sports Radio 1560 afternoon host Mark Moses. The Florida based talk show host received the Radio Alumni of the Year award from his alma mater Western Illinois University.
Longtime voice of the San Jose Earthquakes Hal Ramey returned to the booth on Saturday, calling the Quakes game as part of a special Saturday Retro night match. Quakes games air in the Bay Area on KNBR 1050.
Nate Bukaty was on the receiving end of a welcomed phone call. The 810 WHB host was called on to pinch-hit on FS1‘s coverage of Sporting Kansas City vs. Columbus Crew SC. Bukaty called the opportunity to perform before a national audience a childhood dream come true.
Sticking with soccer, ESPN 94.9 The Game 2 in Nashville will carry at least 20 matches featuring the United Soccer League’s Nashville SC. The Game is owned and operated by The Cromwell Group.
99.9 The Fan in Raleigh went all in on the ACC Baseball Championship tournament, which featured games involving the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Duke. The Fan aired a total of twelve games, while it’s sister station 620 The Ticket carried six. The Fan’s Adam Gold who co-hosts the afternoon show, contributed to the play by play along with Baseball America’s Michael Lananna, UNC baseball play-by-play mane Dave Nathan, and Duke baseball voice Chris Edwards.
Congratulations to Maria Marino. The SiriusXM and NBC Sports Radio anchor and FNTSY Sports Network host and analyst has been added as a contributor on SNY. Marino made her debut on the channel last week.
The Washington Post recently published an excellent profile on Barstool Sports personality PFT Commenter. If you haven’t seen it you can read it by clicking here.
The Athletic is continuing its hiring spree. The sports website has added former ESPN and Sports Illustrated scribe and personality Rick Reilly, well known college football reporter Bruce Feldman, Stephen Cohen as senior editor in Seattle, and Ryan Clark as a beat reporter for the Colorado Avalanche.
One talented writer who The Athletic has yet to scoop up and is now available is Alex Marvez. Marvez’s time at Sporting News has unfortunately come to an end. He remains involved still on radio with SiriusXM and said on Twitter that he’s not sure when/where he’ll write again but given his talent and track record it’d be surprising if other groups weren’t interested in retaining his services.
If you want to enjoy a good read on what it takes to climb the ladder in sports media, check out this piece on Leanne Cozart. It captures her stops at ESPN, NFL Network, the Oakland Raiders, Golden State Warriors, and 95.7 The Game.
Yahoo Sports is bolstering its NFL coverage with the addition of Terez Paylor. Paylor has signed on as the website’s senior NFL writer.
Rising baseball writer/reporter Chris Cotillo is taking on a new challenge. Cotillo has signed on with MassLive.com as the website’s Boston Red Sox reporter. He starts his new assignment on May 29th. The Boston outlet has also added Matt Vautour as a sports columnist. Vatour spent twenty years writing for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
In case you missed it, ESPN decided to end the experiment of utilizing a public editor. Jim Brady left his post in March. The network has decided to discontinue the position.
The Los Angeles Times has lost Lindsey Thiry. After four years with the paper, Thiry is joining ESPN to cover the Los Angeles Rams.
And finally, NBC Sports Chicago has hired Bryan Perez. Perez will contribute to NBC’s Chicago Bears coverage.
NEW STUDY: 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 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.
Jonas Knox: Adrian Wojnarowski’s NBA Draft Reporting Was Desperate Ratings Ploy
“The idea that Woj is going to get duped by Orlando Magic in the draft! The first time he’s ever been duped in his career?”
Thursday’s NBA Draft is a moment the guys waiting to hear their names called had been waiting for since the day they picked up a basketball. While his draft came decades ago in the NFL, LaVar Arrington could relate to what they were feeling.
“It’s a dream recognized,” he said on Friday’s episode of FOX Sports Radio’s 2 Pros and a Cup of Joe. “You work so hard for so long. So, when you’re sitting there waiting for them to call your name, it’s a surreal moment.”
His partner, Jonas Knox, wasn’t in such a nostalgic or celebratory mood. He had a problem with the information leading up to draft night and just how much the narrative that Auburn’s Jabari Smith would be taken by the Orlando Magic with the first pick was pushed before all the sudden, it wasn’t.
“What a bunch of crap that we are being fed by Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN, the Orlando Magic,” he said. “Whoever’s feeding it is full of crap.”
Wojnarowski tweeted an hour before the Draft that Jabari Smith was still the favorite to be taken, but he was hearing that the Magic weren’t ruling out Duke’s Paolo Banchero.
When the first pick was announced, it was Paolo Banchero that heard his name called, not Smith.
“One of three things happened,” Knox said. “Either ESPN is so desperate for ratings and for people to give a crap about the NBA Draft and their sport that they waited until the final hour to pump up some interest, realizing we’ve got a problem here based on some ratings and some reports on some ratings in the NBA Finals, so they waited until an hour before and had Woj drop a ‘Woj Bomb’ that it could not be Jabari Smith, that it could be Banchero who’s gonna go number one overall. It’s either that or Woj is in some kind of cahoots with the Orlando Magic.”
That is a powerful accusation. Knox finds it hard to believe the information got to ESPN’s renowned NBA Insider so late in the process.
“The idea that Woj is going to get duped by Orlando Magic in the draft! The first time he’s ever been duped in his career?”
He didn’t rule out that someone was trying to make money behind the scenes. As late as Thursday afternoon, the Duke Forward was still in plus territory to be the top pick on many sportsbooks’ odds boards. The odds had gone as high as +1600 last week.
“I call BS. I think it’s all shenanigans and I think somebody needs to get called out for it,” Knox concluded. “That pisses me off, man.”