Dickey Broadcasting is coping with budget shortfalls like so many other media companies during the Covid-19 pandemic. For Dickey, it means layoffs for a number of major personalities at its Atlanta sports stations.
Barrett Sports Media has learned that two big names in the world of Atlanta sports radio are out.
John Kincade, the longtime host of ‘Buck & Kincade’ which included Buck Belue, had been a staple in The Fan’s lineup since 2000. The show in fact held the distinction of being the longest running sports talk radio show in The South with more than 5,000 broadcasts produced by the two partners. Kincade started his career in Philadelphia with Sports Radio WIP and has since gone on to host national shows for ESPN Radio, and CBS Sports Radio. He also hosts “The BIG Podcast with SHAQ” with Shaquille O’Neal for Podcast One.
The second big name to exit the station is Steak Shapiro, one of the lead voices of The Front Row with Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran in morning drive on 680 the Fan. Shapiro joined the station in January 2014 following a long stint at the now defunct 790 The Zone which he previously served as host and co-owner of. Fortunately for Shapiro, his food company and television show ‘Atlanta Eats‘ has been doing well. The program just celebrated a Southeast Emmy Award as the Best Lifestyle Program Feature/Segment & Program.
Kincade and Shapiro are not the only hosts to be let go as part of the station’s cuts. Mark Zinno, who had hosted A to Z Sports on Xtra 106.3 also had his position eliminated. After our report came out, Zinno took to social media to confirm the news.
According to sources, Zinno’s exit is part of eliminating local programming entirely from Xtra 106.3. Joe Hamilton, Brandon ‘Home Team’ Leak, Hutson Mason, and Tug Cowart are all expected to move over to 680 The Fan soon.
One additional name which will be part of the station’s lineup plans moving forward is Atlanta sports radio veteran John Michaels. Michaels previously worked for 92.9 The Game and 790 The Zone and will replace Shapiro alongside Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran on the morning show. Though he writes a weekly column for BSM, Michaels didn’t respond to texts or calls seeking comment.
The latest lineup changes follow another big change at the station which recently flew under the radar. Veteran Operations Manager Jim Mahanay was let go as part of company cuts. Mahanay’s duties are expected to be assumed by Matt Edgar. Edgar has worked as a producer at the station but has a history in programming, previously occupying that role at 790 the Zone, a station he spent 14 years at.
What comes next for Kincade and Shapiro remains to be seen, but given their credentials, relationships, and talent, local and out of market options should be available. Zinno is also a talented host who should have appeal to other stations.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.