On Thursday, 97.3 The Game in Jacksonville ditched their regular lineup for one day, instead giving listeners the chance to host from 6am – 6pm.
In a contest called “Dream Day,” the iHeart owned radio station had a new listener behind the mic for each hour of the day, 12 new hosts in 12 hours. Listeners signed up online, explaining in a note why they should get the opportunity to host their own show for an hour on The Game. “The more creative the better,” station Program Director and afternoon drive host, Seth Harp said regarding the listener entries.
According to Harp, the process of choosing the 12 hosts involved more than just selecting the best entry. Each potential host received a phone call and the 12 finalists joined The Game for a station visit, getting the chance to watch a broadcast and meet the producers.
“We had a teacher, an attorney, public relations professionals, a DJ, a recent college grad, but no ‘Radio’ professionals. I wanted it to be fans getting their shot to host,” Harp said about the contest.
Of the dozen new radio hosts, two of them decided to go solo, the other 10 chose a co-host for the hour. When asked if he was surprised by their performances, Harp said, “Each host was different, unique, and passionate about their topics. I was impressed.”
But could The Game’s Program Director see any of the Dream Day dozen with a chance to get their own show someday? “Boy it’s a different beast for 5 days a week at 3 hours a day,” the PD said. “Could some of them do it? Yeah, given the opportunity and some quality coaching you bet they could.”
It’s common for sports radio listeners and callers to think they could get behind the microphone. Giving them the opportunity to do so is a fun way to create excitement and sometimes it can lead to the station uncovering new talent.
WFAN in New York gave two of its prominent hosts their start after winning a listener contest, Joe Benigno and John Jastremski. Last year, Denver’s 104.3 The Fan ran a Dream Job promotion to find new talent and 95.7 The Game in San Francisco’s current midday co-host, Daryle “The Guru” Johnson got his start after winning an American Idol like radio contest. Take note of the names below to see if any of Jacksonville’s dozen continue to follow the dream.
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.