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NRG Media and Creighton University Announce Contract Extension

“The new three-year contract extension will keep 1620 The Zone the flagship station for Creighton Men’s Basketball.”

Jason Barrett

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Omaha’s top-ranked sports station 1620 The Zone will remain the flagship station for Creighton Men’s Basketball games following an announcement from NRG Media and Creighton Athletics that the two sides have agreed to a new three-year contract extension.

The agreement which covers the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons gives The Zone exclusive rights to broadcast play-by-play for all home and away games as well as pre-game and post-game coverage. Creighton’s home games will continue to be broadcast on 101.9 The Keg as part of the contract extension.

1620 The Zone’s afternoon host John Bishop will continue handling play-by-play duties while a host of former Bluejays, including Fox Sports Radio talk show host and national college basketball television analyst Nick Bahe, will supply color commentary.

“We’ve had an outstanding relationship with Creighton University for many years, and we are extremely excited that our relationship will continue for many years to come.  Creighton is a fantastic university with a great athletic program, and we are thrilled to be associated with the University,” said Mark Shecterle, General Manager of NRG Radio Omaha.

“We are very happy to continue our relationship with NRG,” Creighton Associate Director of Athletics Kevin Sarver said. “1620 The Zone has long been Omaha’s premier sports talk radio station and having our men’s basketball game broadcasts as part of its programming lineup, along with the home games also available on 101.9 The Keg, is a great fit for our program and our fans.” 

The three-year extension includes The Creighton Athletics Hour – a live call-in show which will air once a week from 6p-7p on The Zone from October through March. A number of Creighton women’s basketball games will also be carried on either 1180 Zone 2 or NewsTalk 1290 KOIL, plus five Creighton Men’s Soccer home match broadcasts will be offered on La Nueva 1020AM/99.5FM. 

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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