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Personality Profile: Chris Dimino

Jason Barrett

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Welcome to the first installment of our “Personality Profile” and this week’s featured guest is Atlanta Sports Radio Personality Chris Dimino. Over the past 20+ years, Chris has become a household name in the Atlanta market where he’s hosted morning and afternoon drive, mid-days and even Pre/Post-Game shows. He truly has a love and passion for his craft that is felt in every word he utters and he’s someone who puts his heart and soul into his profession.

I had the privilege to manage Chris while running 590 The Fan in St. Louis and the one thing I always admired was how hard he worked to provide a well prepared and thought provoking talk show. His approach isn’t built on delivering ratings or trying to please his corporate bosses. Instead he focuses on providing a product that the audience can enjoy and appreciate while also hoping to satisfy his own personal tastes and interests.

dimino680It’s that type of attitude and mentality which has led him to multiple stints working for 790 The Zone and 680 The Fan, two stations who have competed against one another for the better part of two decades. When you listen to Chris on the air, you’ll quickly discover that he comes across as prepared, honest, convincing and connected. He’s not interested in putting out a fake persona to get your attention. Instead he’s genuine and looking to provide you with something interesting that you can’t get anywhere else. He appreciates his audience and allows them into his world plus he spends time developing important relationships and isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong or made a mistake. Simply put with Chris, “what you see is what you get”.

I recently swapped some e-mails with Chris to pick his brain on how he goes about preparing, creating and navigating through each show and I think you’ll find his answers to be very interesting. Enjoy!

Q: What do you read, watch and listen to in order to help you prepare your daily talk show?

A: The night before I make sure I have “Headlines” – scores and stories I’ll need. Not much changes after 11pm in that regard. I’ll also try to get local reaction to any big story the night before online. A beat writer or columnist usually has a different perspective than national guys. Locally on gameday’s there are game reactions, quotes and audio to use and on the morning of a show, I’m a creature of habit. One TV will be on SportsCenter, another is on the MLB or NFL Network or if it’s the NBA post-season that could be on too.

On the internet I burn through ESPN, CNNSI, SPORTSLINE and MLB quickly. I have an idea of what I’m looking for. DEADSPIN and AthlonSports.com can also give you great material. 90% I’ll never use so lately I’ve tried to find different perspectives on bigger stories.

Q: How many topics do you try to introduce over the course of a 3-4 hour show?

A: 3 or 4. Recycled but hopefully fresher because of different perspectives in the room. I like quick “relatable” hits. Off-shoot stuff. Personality driven and absurd stuff that wouldn’t on first blush be “topics” but needs to be mentioned in a way that can tie into a local angle or bring a lighter moment. For example it can be a movie I’ve seen or want to see. Relatable “dad” stuff that is brought up to enhance relationship listening.

Q: How do you determine what matters most to yourself and your audience each day?

A: Am i personally fired up about it? Am I disgusted, happy or even confused by the story? Then can it be easily relatable to convey any or all of those feelings? Reading the headline isn’t that. It’s how it effects you and the listener. And it doesn’t have to be earth shattering on the surface. Just interesting as either a statement or opening question for engagement.

diminosmoltzQ: What’s the #1 thing you’re hoping to accomplish when conducting an interview with a guest?

A: I’ve always seen it as different types of guests require different approaches. Here’s what I mean.

Straight Info Interview – “How will the CFB committee pick 4 teams?” – “The TV ratings for the World Cup means what?” – in this setting I’m looking for an answer, not an opinion. Most like a Q & A.

Conversation interview – the goal is to get the guest to say something they haven’t said anywhere yet, take what is said and be thinking of how that moves the discussion among the hosts and keeps the listeners moving forward and entertains those who wouldn’t have thought that guest would go in the direction you just took them. This style of interview should NEVER feel like a Q & A.

An interview with someone who’s premise, stance or opinion you disagree with – Tell them up front where I stand and be ready for a counter. I have done this with the likes of the NCAA President and Conference Commisioners, writers and coaches. Usually good back and forth dialogue becomes key. Sometimes it’s confrontational but hopefully we have an agree to disagree tone to the conversation.

Q: How much value do you place on callers being a part of your show? Why do or don’t they matter to you?

A: It depends on the subject. I like a few more than a lot of hosts. Too much “agreement” isn’t a great thing. A counter point of view or something I haven’t thought of has the value I seek.

dimino790Q: How critical do you think it is to have a presence in the social media space? How active are you in it?

A: I do it because I like the release. It allows me to get to stuff that I sometimes won’t get to during the show. I love observational humor or another point of view and it’s great practice to do it on Twitter in short bursts. To express an emotion or point of view in 140 characters is a challenge worth taking. Also I enjoy using it to to link to others work whether it’s video or something written. I do something called the Starting 5 everyday and maybe it’s as much for me as anyone else but it helps.

Q: When using audio in your show, how do you determine what gets used and how it gets presented?

A: I love this question because its trickier than most people think. The RIGHT type of audio can be tremendous. The best is not having to set up the premise of discussion as much if you have the right kind of sound. I love it coming into segments because it helps you build momentum. I try to avoid throwing away sound because it can be as important as creating good stuff. I also think well placed drops – self effacing movie lines, famous speeches or underbed music can make a difference when used right. That can often be the best homerun you can hit.

Q: What’s the one area of sports radio today that you believe is sub-par and needs to be improved?

A: Theater of the mind. Creating the stories “angle” and conveying relatability without it being pablum. Also we can be much better at TEASING, TEASING, TEASING!

diminofieldQ: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as it relates to your broadcasting career?

A: It’s 5 guys sitting around a bar. Never lose sight of that. You can tell someone in your “group” they’re crazy because the relationship is sound. That should be your relationship with your fellow hosts and listeners. For me “off the record” is sacred. You can say “more” if you’re willing to go back to locker room and own up to it. Lastly and it’s one i strongly feel now. I want to be right but I don’t need to be. It’s ok to say you were wrong if you miss.

Q: What’s the one accomplishment in your career that you’re most proud of?

A: Relationship building. I’ve never burned anyone. I’ve been in meetings with owners, coaches, general managers and players and I’ve always respected their job while not forgetting mine.

Chris Dimino is part of “The Rude Awakening” on 680 The Fan in Atlanta. You can learn more about the show by clicking here. You can also follow him on Twitter @ChrisDimino.

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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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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