For those that don’t know what a death pool is, participants buy in and select celebrities that they believe have a chance to die soon. If your selection is the next to die, you win the pool. Chicago’s 670 The Score radio host Dan McNeil shared on Facebook, his dismay after being informed a listener selected him in a death pool.
“Give the dude credit for a sound investment strategy. I’m a good “value pick” in a pool like that,” wrote McNeil in what ended up being a very honest and emotional Facebook post.
McNeil went on to outline he’s out of shape for a 57-year old, something that has been discussed on-air. The radio host doesn’t exercise, drinks about nine cups of coffee per day and continues to smoke cigarettes which he has for decades. McNeil has also been open about his dealings with depression and mental illness, reiterating in the Facebook post that it runs in his family.
But McNeil didn’t just laugh off the selection, it forced him to reflect and picture his children living without him, which made it difficult to absorb the thought that he is a death pool pick. “I must confess, this guy got to me. I even cried a few times. Daydreaming about my sons’ sadness over the void in their lives is an optic I’d just as soon avoid,” the Score radio host wrote. McNeil has three sons, Van, Jack and Patrick all between the ages of 24 – 28.
The most emotional part of McNeil’s post and reflection was envisioning his 25-year old autistic son Patrick dealing with the loss of his dad. “His sadness is my biggest fear. Fear isn’t strong enough. It…takes my breath away. He doesn’t have typical friends. He’s verbal, but not conversational. I am his life soulmate and he is mine.
“Patrick already has expressed being terrified over the eventual passing of loved ones. He’s close to very few and my departure would be catastrophic for him. He still asks me to tickle him when he goes to bed. He has the spirit and doting eyes of a 5-year-old looking at daddy.”
McNeil has participated in death pools himself, just two week ago he asked his radio partner, Danny Parkins if he was “appalled” by the game. After Parkins said he doesn’t participate in them, but wasn’t appalled by the concept, McNeil said “I’m participating in one right now.” He then added that he plays with the “85 and over” rule, which both hosts agreed made the death pool more reasonable.
McNeil has been a sports talk staple in Chicago for decades and at the age of 57, he’s in the midst of his third tenure at 670 The Score. Last year he was paired with Danny Parkins. McNeil and Parkins broadcast weekdays from 1 – 6pm.
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.