The Ben Roethlisberger Show on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan is officially over, being replaced with running back James Conner, but the Steelers star quarterback won’t be silent, instead moving to the team’s flagship radio station 102.5 WDVE.
According to The Athletic, Roethlisberger won’t have a set day or time when he’ll join WDVE each week, instead having the ability to call-in when he chooses. His first appearance on the station’s morning show with Randy Baumann came last Thursday and lasted 12 minutes.
“It’s just run its course on The Fan, those things happen,” Roethlisberger told The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly. “A lot of times you do shows like that when you are in the middle of your career and trying to have a platform. Now, it’s just different. Plus, it took a toll on my family. Sometimes I forgot I was going on and (midday host Ron Cook) would text me and ask if I was okay. Now I can make it on my time and what I want to talk about.”
The future Hall-of-Famer regularly made headlines during his weekly appearances on The Fan. While other quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Eli Manning have followed the company line during their radio spots, Roethlisberger took a more unfiltered approach to the airwaves.
In 2017, after losing to the Patriots in an AFC Championship game, Big Ben acknowledged he was considering retirement while on The Fan. On separate occasions, Roethlisberger questioned his offensive coordinator’s play calling and criticized teammates, once saying Martavis Bryant had to toughen up, also noting a poorly ran route by Antonio Brown.
The Steelers front office publicly supported Roethlisberger’s willingness to speak openly on The Fan and are seemingly on board with their quarterback continuing to offer insight on the radio. Joining the Steelers flagship radio station 102.5 WDVE was apparently suggested by team owner, Art Rooney II.
“I am still going to give the fans what they want to hear,” Roethlisberger told Kaboly. “That’s part of the fun of doing it. They want to hear something about us. It’s not going to be much different other than I am not going to have my name on it. Just like when I am talking to you now or talking to the radio, I have to be smart and don’t say anything that might offend anybody.”
This season, without Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers are looking to clean up some of their previous off-field distractions. Roethlisberger and the team are hopeful the quarterback’s radio segments on WDVE will help to highlight positive comments more than negative ones.
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.