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ESPN’s Tirico On Top of His Game

Jason Barrett

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I don’t know ESPN announcer Mike Tirico, but if I ever spoke with him I believe he would tell me he is one of the most fortunate guys around.

He’s surely one of the most talented.

I don’t need to do research to discuss great announcers or pertinent voices of major sporting events from the last 75 years. We are talking legendary guys such baseball’s Vin Scully, Harry Caray, Red Barber, Jack Brickhouse, Mel Allen and Jack Buck. In college football, there were people such as Lindsey Nelson, who also announced for the New York Mets, the great Keith Jackson or the terrific Green Bay Packer announcer Ray Scott.

Every sport can boast some giants in broadcasting, but the greatest I ever heard on TV was the verbose Howard Cosell, a true icon but not necessarily a lead broadcaster.

The all-around performers were guys such as Curt Gowdy and Pat Summerall, and ones still around today such as Al Michaels, Marv Albert, Bob Costas and Dick Enberg. You can disagree and email me your support for anyone I might have forgotten at mike@northtonorth.com.

With all that said, there is a new dog in the hunt, and in 10 years he will be considered one of the best of all time.

As you know, I don’t throw around a lot of bouquets when it comes to sports announcers or talkers on TV or radio, but 47-year-old Tirico stands out.

I heard him doing the British Open this past weekend, and he mentioned he had been on the road for 47 straight days starting with the 2014 World Cup and ending at the Open. He made this comment Thursday, so Tirico was on the road for 51 days going into Monday.

At first I thought he was complaining, but then I listened and he wasn’t. He was just saying it in conversation.

I watched him for a good segment of his travels this time, and he’s been fresh and crisp on the air. His preparation is impeccable, and forget trying to look for mistakes from him — you won’t find any. All of us make mistakes every day and there are numerous on-air errors, but this guy seems be at a different level.

In 2009, a Yahoo sports.com poll done by David J. Halberstam named the Top 50 Network TV Announcers of All Time, and Tirico was 17th. In 2014, I think he would be ranked much higher and his cache just continues to grow.

Tirico seems to be more than capable at a variety of sports including college hoops, the NBA, tennis, golf and, of course, the NFL as ESPN’s Monday night football play-by-play commentator. I think he is the best out there and I just see his star climbing higher.

I’m writing about him today because many athletes complain about being tired, but there’s always the exceptional ones who can perform under any conditions.

Well, the same goes for broadcasting, and Tirico right now is that guy.

For more on this column check out the Daily Herald where it was originally published

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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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