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Charles Barkley Eyeing Finish to TNT Career: ‘I’m On the ‘Back Nine’ of Life’

“I’m not worried about death, I don’t think about death, but I’m smart enough to know if I’m 60 years old, I’m closer to death than I am to the front line.”

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A career total of 23,757 points. Add 12,456 rebounds. With 4,215 assists. And 11 All-Star selections. It is safe to say Charles Barkley has the numbers to back his being named a member of the National Basketball Association’s 75th Anniversary Team.

Following his 16-year professional career, during which he suited up for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets, Barkley joined the NBA on TNT upon his retirement in 2000 as an analyst on its award-winning studio show Inside the NBA. 21 years later, Barkley, 59, intends to finish out the remaining two years on his contract with Turner Sports and subsequently retire from working in television.

Barkley has provided basketball fans an innumerable amount of memorable moments, whether it be on the court or in the studio alongside host Ernie Johnson and co-analysts Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. At this stage in his life, though, Barkley wants to focus on being there for his family, which will soon welcome a new grandchild, along with enjoying his lifestyle, which includes playing golf and traveling the world.

With the recent addition of Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green to the pool of NBA on TNT analysts, along with the existence presences of Candace Parker and Dwyane Wade, Barkley’s replacement could very well come from in-house. As he explained Friday on 850 ESPN Cleveland’s morning drive program The Really Big Show, Barkley is ready for the transition and eager to see what lies ahead in his life.

“Once you’re a grandparent, you are officially old, so I’m excited about that [and my grandchild’s birth is] going to be the greatest day of my life,” said Barkley.

“I’m smart enough to know that I’m on the ‘back nine’ of life. I want to enjoy – whenever the big fella comes get me; I’m not worried about death, I don’t think about death, but I’m smart enough to know if I’m 60 years old, I’m closer to death than I am to the front line.”

Barkley is currently in Cleveland for the NBA All-Star Weekend festitivies and looking forward to seeing old friends and NBA legends, along with current NBA players named to the 75th anniversary team such as Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and LeBron James.

During the game, which is set to begin Sunday at 8 p.m. EST, Turner Sports will present an alternate viewing experience broadcast on TBS called Inside the All-Star Game. It will feature Barkley and the rest of the Inside the NBA crew talking about the game, interacting with fans and players and, of course, the Sports Emmy award-winning crew bantering throughout the night.

One thing Barkley will not be doing, however, is trying to dunk a basketball – so don’t expect to see that if you tune in.

“The only dunking [for me] is going down at Dunkin Donuts,” said Barkley. “I would be afraid to try to explode and dunk right now because I know – ankles, knees – something would break. I would be afraid to try to explode on my old legs and dunk a basketball.”

Aside from his role on television, Barkley wants to genuinely enjoy this weekend in Cleveland as society attempts to return to some form of pre-pandemic normalcy. Part of that will be through attending NBA All-Star Weekend parties ahead of the showdown between Team LeBron and Team Kevin Sunday night.

“All the great players have a party, and trying to get in the different parties is the funnest part,” said Barkley. “I know LeBron’s guys had a party last night. We couldn’t go to it because we were on the air, [but] I expect a bunch of guys will be having parties tonight.”

Barkley has been on a weight-loss program, dropping 50 pounds by eating one meal a day between 5 and 8 p.m., and has started playing golf every day for the first time in 25 years. Additionally, his wardrobe has consisted of brighter colors as of late, a change from the “all-black closet” he had when his weight would fluctuate. In short, Barkley is “starting to feel like a human being,” and hopes to live life to the fullest, especially once his television contract expires.

“I just want to enjoy the backside of my life; being a grandpa, traveling the world,” said Barkley. “I’m going to work out these last two years on my deal and thank the NBA for everything they’ve given me; TNT and Nike and everybody, and just enjoy the back nine of life.”

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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