In the sometimes mundane world of sports television, broadcasters don’t get very many days in the sun. Akin to the athletes they cover, the good days outnumber the bad, but the mundane days far outnumber both.
Within a 162-game baseball season, broadcasters go through summer lulls; instead of knee-buckling curveballs and slick-moving sliders, they try to ward off mid-inning malaise and blowout boredom with their description and analysis.
For Fox Sports Detroit’s play-by-play man Mario Impemba, the onset of July brings with it the dog days of summer and an extra push to make it to the All-Star break, where there’s at least a short respite from the everyday routine.
The challenge, though, is breaking out of the lull for the most exhilarating moments, such as last week’s call of Rajai Davis’ walk-off grand slam against the A’s. Along with analyst Rod Allen, Impemba found the right words to encapsulate an improbable victory:
Impemba: “Driven in the air toward left field, that ball is deep, that ball is waaay back — and it’s a game-winner!”
Allen: “He walked him off!”
Impemba: “Grand slam home run, Ra-jai Davis!”
Impemba is in his 13th season broadcasting Tigers games, and chose to keep the call simple, noting there’s little preparation for such a moment.
“I don’t think you can say, ‘If Rajai hits one in the gap, how am I going to call it?’ ” said Impemba, 51. “I think that takes away the spontaneity of what we do. … Are there instances where you’re running through situations in your head because you don’t want to screw it up? Absolutely. But I wasn’t doing that. I think you do a disservice if you take away the spontaneity of the moment.”
In the breadth of the six-month regular season, the walk-off home runs, no-hitters and other rarities are uncommon but always welcome.
“You have a handful of those nights every year,” Impemba said. “Mostly, (the routine) is come to the game, prepare for the game, call the game, pack up your case and go home. And you come back and do it the next game.
“It was a little different — and sometimes you need those nights to break the monotony, to give you some energy and something different.”
For the rest of the story visit the Detroit News where it was first published
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.