In an interview with Greg Hardwig of Golf Week, Mark Lye explains his termination from SiriusXM by saying “it’s really cancel culture”.
Lye, who played on both the PGA Tour and the PGA Champions Tour had been with SiriusXM since 2015. He was fired over the weekend after saying that he would rather shoot himself than watch WNBA basketball.
“You know, the LPGA Tour to me is a completely different tour than it was 10 years ago … You couldn’t pay me to watch. You really couldn’t,” he said on air. “Because I just, I couldn’t relate at all. It’s kind of like, you know, if you’re a basketball player — and I’m not trashing anybody; please, don’t take it the wrong way — but I saw some highlights of ladies’ basketball. Man, is there a gun in the house? I’ll shoot myself than watch that.”
After the segment ended, Lye claims he knew his thought came out clunky. He says he told the other people in the studio that he needed to apologize when they came back from break. His intent was to praise the LPGA Tour and not to denigrate the WNBA.
Lye was less apologetic and more defensive on Twitter.
He told Hardwig that he “thought it was case closed” after his tweet. Another Twitter user named @jalawsons posted the audio. That is what started the firestorm.
“The reason (the comments on Twitter were) blowing up is they took the most unflattering part of that sound bite and they cut it off in a spot that buttressed their point of view, which is that men hate women’s sports or Mark hates women’s sports,” Mark Lye said.
He does acknowledge that his words weren’t carefully chosen and admits that “as I look back on it, it was a hurtful thing.”
Still, he is not happy with the way his show ended. He says that he cut back from a full-time schedule to a weekend show at the end of last year because he was concerned about being able to be himself on air.
“They want us to be somewhat interesting. We’re on the air for a two-hour show. They pay me to be who I am and that’s why they hired me. I’m not the most politically correct guy in the world, but I try to make things interesting for the common golf fan.”
Mark Lye says he has received death threats over the comments. He worries about his wife and kids being confronted.
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.