He’s never worked in sports-talk radio, and until last year he hadn’t worked in any kind of broadcasting. But Nick Trupiano has rocked St. Louis jock-talk radio like no one else in the 22-year history of the format. His recent on-air comments led to fists flying, the man who hired him ending up in a hospital — then resigning his job — and a guy he was criticizing on the air spending a night in jail.
That was just for starters.
Now the NAACP has notified his new boss that it is unhappy about racial comments Trupiano made on the air, and sources say the Federal Communications Commission has been alerted about of a vulgar word Trupiano used — the FCC can fine or take other actions against stations that violate its codes.
All this surrounds a 32-year-old guy who has an extremely colorful past and a vivid present.
“If I can survive this circus, I’m sure I can survive anything — especially the things that are coming to me lately,” he said this week. “I’m not a stranger to adversity.”
His father was Matthew “Mikey” Trupiano, whom Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan has called “this city’s last mafia chieftain” who ultimately “went to prison for playing gin rummy.” That was after being busted in a game begin played at Lloyd Christopher Auto Sales, on South Kingshighway, in 1991. That building now houses a rental car facility.
The younger Trupiano and other family members have been in the headlines themselves, too, notably for battles with St. Louis officials over troubles with bars they have ran, including on Washington Avenue and in Soulard.
A few years ago Nick Trupiano was co-manager of the downtown nightclub that was known as Lure and later Amnesia, which was owned by his sister Aprille. They fought for their liquor license after police and neighborhood residents complained that club customers fought in the streets and dumped beer bottles on the sidewalks. The Trupianos eventually were out, and Nick said then that the fix was in.
“You’ve got a city judge who works for the mayor’s office, and serves at the pleasure of the mayor,” he said, and he and his sister added that Mayor Francis Slay’s Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford was out to get them.
They now run Social House, a Soulard bar that also has been under scrutiny of the local authorities. A Post-Dispatch story in late 2012 said the facility “has been on the city’s list of nuisance properties for about a year because of complaints of fights, noise, property damage and rowdy behavior.”
The family, including other siblings, has been involved in several other clubs through the years, too.
“It was a weird business to chose,” Trupiano said. “We never should have gotten into it, but now we are stuck.”
Trupiano also was stuck in a career morass before his radio opportunity suddenly developed.
He long has been an aspiring comedian, and his wisecracking as a 13-year-old was enjoyed by one of his dad’s buddies, who arranged for Trupiano to make a brief on-stage appearance at a local comedy club. One of his jokes: “My father is working for the government now. He should get off in about 2½ or three years with good behavior.”
“Everybody thought I was kidding — I wasn’t,” he said, adding that he drew a standing ovation.
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.