Steve Stone joined Mully and Haugh Tuesday morning on 670 The Score in Chicago to reflect back on his broadcasting career. June 7 marked forty years in the booth for the former pitcher.
“As people usually say when they get to any point later in their life, as a seasoned citizen they say it really went by quickly,” Stone said. “It usually does. You can look back and look at the ground you covered, but realistically, it was in the blink of an eye.”
On June 2, 1982, Stone retired after eleven Major League seasons. Five days later, his broadcasting career began on ABC’s Monday Night Baseball working with Al Michaels and Bob Ueker. He joined the Cubs’ television booth the following season, where he stayed until 2004. Since 2005, he has been part of the Chicago White Sox broadcast crew.
That means Steve Stone has worked with a number of different broadcasters. He told Mully and Haugh that he had to learn to adjust to each new partner. They were all coming in looking to perform their best and it was up to him to keep up.
“Each and every one of these guys who is calling Major League Baseball on a play-by-play basis, they have a lot of pride in what they do and they try to bring it each and every day. Knowing that and understanding that, I have to give them some room just like they have to give me some room.”
Mike Mulligan asked Stone what made him so good as a broadcaster. Steve Stone said he had the kind of playing career that made it possible to offer many different types of insight.
“When you talk about guys that put on a headset that were really great in the game, or were a really great player in the game, I’m not sure they can relate to the tougher aspects of the game,” Stone answered. “Because I was the eleventh pitcher on an eleven-man staff at times, I was the number one pitcher on an eleven-man staff at times, I saw each and every aspect of the game. I realize what it was like to not have a job and try to win one in spring training or to go into the bullpen and try to work your way back into the rotation as well as one of those guys you depend on every fifth game to give you that stopper role-type feeling.”
Hawk Harrelson retired as the play-by-play voice of the Chicago White Sox in 2019. Since then, Steve Stone has been partnered with Jason Benetti calling games on NBC Sports Chicago.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.