An icon not only in Tampa Bay, but throughout the entire sports radio industry, Steve ‘The Big Dog’ Duemig passed away at the age of 64 on Thursday.
Born in Florida, Duemig moved to Philadelphia at an early age, where he grew up rooting for for the 76ers, Flyers and Eagles. After attending college in Philly, Duemig qualified for the PGA Tour and moved to Florida to focus on his golf game. It was in Florida that his sports radio career began, making ‘The Big Dog’ one of the most influential and recognized voices in the industry.
For nearly three decades, Duemig entertained the Tampa Bay community on the radio. Starting in 1991 Duemig was heard on Tampa’s first all-sports station, WFNS, remaining there for five years before moving to WDAE in 1996 where he was a fixture until 2018. Garnering the nickname ‘Big Dog,’ he enjoyed challenging callers, putting anyone who joined the show at risk of being called an idiot. In addition to his work locally in Tampa, Duemig hosted nationally on Fox Sports Radio and contributed to The Golf Channel for more than five years.
Early in 2017, Duemig informed his audience he was suffering from inoperable brain cancer. Last year, Duemig hosted his final show on WDAE, leaving the station to focus on his health, while Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles took over the afternoon drive timeslot.
After announcing Duemig’s death Thursday afternoon, WDAE’s programming turned into a “Big Dog” tribute for the next five hours. Duemig’s passing garnered an outpour of condolences, not only from his WDAE colleagues, but from listeners and friends all over the country.
“We mourn the loss of an icon in not only Tampa Bay radio, but the entire format of sports radio,” said WDAE Program Director John Mamola. “‘The Big Dog’ was an intelligent, brash, entertaining brand of sports talk that spawned a large following and sparked the minds of many looking to follow in his footsteps. God bless you Steve! Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family of Steve Duemig.”
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.