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Wilkins Rises Up The Ranks In NYC

Jason Barrett

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It’s not an easy road for an aspiring network-level sports play-by-play personality, but not much deters Jacob Wilkins.

He only knows one way to pursue his dream job — with passion and persistence.

Wilkins, who earned his broadcast journalism degree from Penn State in 2010, works as a sports update anchor for WFAN-AM (the nation’s first all-sports station), CBS Sports Radio and Sirius XM Radio. Based in New York City, he also handles play-by-play duties for Stony Brook University women’s basketball.

Just four years after leaving the College of Communications, where he stayed busy in a variety of roles with ComRadio, Wilkins has already handled play-by-play duties for a short-season Class A baseball team and completed assignments for mlb.com, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, MSG Varsity, CBS Sports and YES Network.

“There are just so many opportunities out there,” Wilkins said. “So far, New York has been a great place. It’s where I’m from, not that I’m tied to the city, but I’ve been able to stay busy.”

As if balancing several jobs was not enough, Wilkins created more work for himself last fall, launching a regular podcast titled “Let’s Talk” that recently welcomed College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock. Previous guests include New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, Fox Sports play-by-play man Kenny Albert and YES Network host Bob Lorenz.To listen to the podcast, click here.

Wilkins has also interviewed Penn Staters for the show, including Carmen Finestra (Class of 1971), the co-creator of “Home Improvement” and former supervising producer for “The Cosby Show,” and Mitch Lukevics (Class of 1976), director of minor league operations for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Wilkins, 26, had pitched an interview-style show to a few outlets but found limited interest. After brainstorming with a family friend, he decided to do the show himself, hoping the podcast would eventually draw interest and wider distribution because of its quality.

“The toughest part was getting the first guests. It was sort of streaky,” Wilkins said. “Fortunately, we got a couple of good ones early, and it’s found a rhythm. It’s still not easy — and I spend more time working on the podcast, just lining up guests and scheduling, than the other jobs — but it’s worth it.”

As Wilkins pursues his network dream job, his commitment to networking, with a sincere interest in getting better and getting to know people in the industry, provides an unmistakable calling card. He’s driven and sincere about meeting media and sports personalities. He’s authentic, not a schmoozer or someone simply collecting contact information.

“I’m constantly learning and networking is something you try to improve on,” Wilkins said. “It’s about developing relationships and learning how to better present myself as well as really listening to people. I’ve tried to be fairly ambitious and find people who support that ambition.”

To read the rest of the story visit Penn State University where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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 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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