ESPN analyst JJ Redick became the talk of sports media after his exchange with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on First Take this week.
Redick checked Russo for comments the sports radio legend made about Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green.
On The Team 980 in D.C., host Reese Waters continued his weekly “Racist of the Week” segment, touching on those who culturally appropriate Mexicans on Cinco de Mayo. But he brought Redick up immediately after and awarded the former Duke standout his “Anti-Racist of the Week.”
“Nobody makes progress on their own, we are not the majority,” Waters said. “So allyship is very, very important. And for JJ Redick to be able to see that and to call that out, I find to be admirable. And amazingly surprising considering how I felt about JJ Redick, I don’t know, 10 years ago.”
During his time in college, Redick was one of the most hated players in the country. He was routinely listed amongst the least favorite or most annoying by anyone that wasn’t a Duke fan. Waters began the segment by identifying himself as a Maryland Terapins fan, a team that had an intense rivalry with Duke during Redick’s time on campus.
On Wednesday, Russo made the point that players like Draymond act and carry themselves differently than greats of the game that played in the 1960s and 1970s. He said that he wished Green would “just shup up and play.” Waters said the eras can’t even begin to be compared.
“Let’s be realistic in the fact that that bygone era was a completely different culture, and we have evolved to a place of at least attempting to see these athletes as human beings and giving them agency over not only their careers, but their bodies and their selves and their lives,” he said.
Waters praised Redick for speaking up on First Take this week. The Team 980 midday host said it goes deeper than having the opinion that athletes aren’t allowed to express opinions on anything other than the game they play.
“I have to sit back all the time and listen to people try and make the argument that life was so much better back in the day,” he said. “It is the attempt to try and talk around the fact that we, in many cases, strike back against the athlete that is fully grown into his agency. And we see that in Draymond Green.”
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.