Over the last couple of weeks on the I’m Interested podcast, the listener continues to learn more about the early years of Mike Greenberg’s career. On this week’s episode, he spoke with Yankees radio analyst Suzyn Waldman.
Before the interview, Greenberg went back to his days working at WSCR Radio in Chicago and how he wanted to cover major sporting events at night. In order to convince the station to get him that opportunity, he took inspiration from what Waldman was doing at WFAN covering the New York Yankees.
“Being from New York, I knew that Suzyn Waldman covered the New York Yankees as an electronic beat reporter for WFAN,” Greenberg told his listeners. “I went in and put together a whole presentation for the management on how they should let me do that with the Bulls. For reasons only known to the people I work for, they gave me the job at the age of 24.”
Waldman would gave some insight on how she made the position a reality. It started with being moved to overnights. While listening to the station during the day, Waldman said she noticed that the newspaper beat reporters the station was using to give updates on the local teams were not offering much value to the listeners.
“I went to the program director and they said this isn’t good for us. Why don’t you give me a tape recorder? I’ll take my car and I will go to the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, or Yankees games and I got sound, so I can come on the air at 2 a.m. and break stories.”
One powerful question that Greenberg asked Waldman was how she sees the industry now and Waldman was very candid saying she will be happy when it is not a big deal that a woman gets hired for a major position.
“I believe that I am tolerated and not accepted and still to this day, they would rather have a guy in the Yankees radio booth. I don’t think it has changed fast enough. When we get to the point where someone can be hired and it is not a big deal because it is a woman, then I will be satisfied.”
When asked about her role in opening the world of baseball broadcasting up to women, Waldman joked about what it means to be called a “pioneer” before heaping praise on those following in her footsteps.
“I guess it means that I am old because no one is a pioneer at 20. I think it means a lot now because now I see the results of what I have done because there are sleuths of young women in their 20’s who are now doing minor league baseball play-by-play and they are very good.”
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.