The former New York Yankee outfielder and YES Network analyst Paul O’Neill was scheduled to do a promotional interview of his new book, “Swing and a Hit,” on WFAN on Monday. Instead, show host Brandon Tierney of Tiki & Tierney cancelled on O’Neill while the slugger was on hold.
The issue stemmed over a hot topic over the weekend concerning the New York Yankees’ Josh Donaldson feud with Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox. Donaldson referred to Anderson as “Jackie.” O’Neill revealed to producers just before coming on to the air that he was not interested in discussing the issue when the show brought him on. Tiki and Tierney had spent the majority of their first two hours discussing the debate and when Tierney head that O’Neill was opting out of the discussion, he dropped the interview.
Tierney revealed his decision on-air. The audio explanation begins around the 27:55 mark of the podcast version of their program and in it.
“We were supposed to have him on right now and he is on hold, OK,” said Tierney.
“He has a new book coming out, called, ‘Swing and a Hit.’ And Jack Curry wrote it, along with Paul. We were told and Tiki, you don’t even know this because I was going through this while you were finishing up your thought on the air. We were told we can not ask anything about Donaldson and Anderson.
And I I said, ‘We can’t do the interview if that is the case.’ I said, ‘Please tell Paul, we will navigate this responsibly. We will not belabor it. But I can’t have Paul O’Neill on the show after we spent an hour and 35 minutes talking about Tim Anderson and Josh Donaldson and not ask him about what transpired. That sucks. No disrespect to Paul. I love him. Truly, my second all-time favorite Yankee. We have a responsibility to the show. That’s the way it’s got to be.”
Tierney has been with Tiki Barber for nearly nine years and together they know the New York market well. This was clearly a decision made for the continuity of the show and making a content decision like that on the fly is tough one to make.
Tierney tweeted later: My #1 priority is the show. The audience. That will never change. When we accept dictated terms of what we can/cannot ask–and we accept–all credibility is lost. That will never happen. To avoid the biggest topic of the weekend, simply cannot have it. No disrespect at all.”
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.