As Troy Aikman’s contract with Fox is set to expire at the conclusion of the NFL Playoffs, the color analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is undoubtedly a highly sought-after free agent in sports media.
While Aikman has not ruled out a return to Fox, he recently suggested there is a chance Sunday’s NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams could be his final matchup in the Fox booth. There’s a possibility that Aikman could leave Fox to call games exclusively on Amazon’s new Thursday Night Football package with Al Michaels, the current play-by-play announcer on NBC Sunday Night Football. If Aikman were to leave Fox, the question then becomes who would be his replacement as Joe Buck’s new broadcast partner.
On Friday morning, The Mac Attack‘s Chris McClain and Travis Hancock spoke on the NFL playoffs and Carolina Panthers’ offseason with former NFL tight end Greg Olsen on WFNZ 610 AM in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Olsen started working as a Fox NFL color analyst full-time this season after occasionally calling games while an active player for the Panthers. Since going into broadcasting following his retirement from football in 2020, Olsen has received positive reviews. According to McClain and Hancock, he could be an ideal choice to join Buck in the booth.
“Olsen could end up somewhere in a front office down the line, but he’s doing a phenomenal job in TV,” said Hancock. “With the way he explains stuff [and] the way he talks [about] the game, if Troy Aikman does leave for Amazon and doesn’t do the Amazon-Fox double, Greg Olsen’s a natural number one with Joe Buck as well. I know that [Sean] Payton’s been named, but come on – Greg Olsen could very easily be their number one.”
Olsen has respect for Payton, who stepped down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints earlier this week and is reportedly contemplating an entry into sports media, whether in radio or television, in studio or in the booth. At the moment, Payton is not sure what is next for his football career, but Olsen knows from his experience playing against him that he was a savant of the game.
“I obviously had a lot of respect for his football mind and what he was able to do with those guys there,” said Olsen. “I understand from a fan standpoint, you always hate whoever you feel like is your enemy, but from the field I always liked competing against guys like that because they brought a good energy to the game.”
Olsen also talked about not being able to call any playoff games this year for Fox due to the way the schedule of broadcasting rights fell. Despite this, he looks forward to being on the mic for the big games down the road as his career in sports media continues.
“I’ve been sitting there watching every other network call multiple games,” explained Olsen. “Those are the games everybody wants. You want the marquee primetime night games during the regular season. You want playoff games. You want games that matter. That’s what every broadcaster really wants.”
Suzyn Waldman ‘Still here’ at WFAN after 35 years
I don’t know if I’ve worn down the critics, but I’m still here,” Waldman told Neil Best of Newsday. “I mean, it’s 35 years, and I’m still here and I’ve had a terrific career.”
Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman is celebrating 35 years on the air. Waldman, the first voice heard on WFAN, is thankful to be where she is.
“I don’t know if I’ve worn down the critics, but I’m still here,” Waldman told Neil Best of Newsday. “I mean, it’s 35 years, and I’m still here and I’ve had a terrific career.”
Waldman looked back on the experience of doing the very first update on the air at WFAN. While doing the first update alongside Jim Lampley, a fill-in for Pete Franklin, she was shocked when listeners did not approve of her updates and tied it to her being female. She thought, “Oh my God, this is not what I thought it was going to be,” she said.
That was not something she was accustomed to in the theater. Waldman had a background in musical theater before getting into radio and eventually joining WFAN as it went on the air in 1987.
“It was a rude awakening,” she said. “But it was at that moment that everything changed.”
Waldman eventually began working the overnight shift alongside Steve Somers. It was there she really honed her craft.
Suzyn has been calling Yankees games alongside John Sterling since 2005. This is her eighth season calling Yankee games on WFAN.
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.