Over the last decade, teams around the National Basketball Association have adopted the practice of “load management,” which essentially means they intentionally hold a player out of game action to preserve their health, often for a playoff run. The term has become synonymous with all-stars such as L.A. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden.
Well, the same applies in sports media, which is why the sound of afternoon drive has been a bit unusual as of late on KFAN FM 100.3 in Minneapolis, Minn. On-air host Dan Barreiro has been experiencing vocal fatigue, and did not host Wednesday’s edition of Bumper-to-Bumper with Dan Barreiro to make sure his voice is adequate to host in the long run. After show producer Justin Gaard filled in for Barreiro Wednesday, Barreiro returned to host the show on Thursday, and spoke about his plan going forward to protect his voice.
“I am, I think, improved, but I vowed Gaardie that I’m not going to do the leader open until I’m convinced that I’m about 98% back,” Barreiro said to open Thursday’s show. “I probably have to get more assertive and louder at the open than at any other time in the show except for when I’m yelling, and then it has a deleterious impact [on] the rest of the show.”
As a result, Dan Barreiro announced that his traditional show open, in which he shouts, “Leader FAN Radio Network and KFAN.com” to the tune of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 hit “What’s Going On,” will be altered to conserve his voice in order to be able to host for four hours a day.
“On days where I’m still not sure the voice is all back… we’re just going to do a cold open,” Barreiro said. “It’s okay to do that; it probably isn’t a bad idea to mix it up once in a while.”
While it may have seemed like a disappointment that the show’s open would be altered, Gaard expressed his enthusiasm for the unpredictability and spontaneity it will bring to listeners each day.
“Now we’ve got anticipation for the open every single day,” expressed Gaard. “People are going to have to tune in every day.”
Dan Barreiro, 67, knows that as he grows older, his show needs to become more modern to appeal to newer audience members in today’s crowded media marketplace. He is willing to come up with new, entertaining bits and get “more with it” to make sure that he not only preserves his voice, but also his entertainment value while on-air.
“I like to think that our listeners could not possibly be hoodwinked [into pretending] to be 25 years old…. But maybe that’s what the kids want – I don’t know,” said Barreiro. “That’s what a couple of people have suggested because we’re all aging on the FAN.”
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.