This past March when Kevin “Whitey” Gleason and Mark Kreidler, along with their partner, Dan Dibley – collectively known in sports-talk radio as the Rise Guys – were let go by The Game (KGMZ, 95.7 FM) in San Francisco, they were stunned. Sure, in the tumultuous and often mysterious world of radio, anything seems possible. Firings are common, re-hirings routine, and re-invention a survival requirement for stations as well as their personalities.
The two were briefly on the street wondering what happened, but all that changed two weeks ago when ESPN 1320 (KCTC AM) in Sacramento announced it had hired Gleason and Kreidler – for an afternoon show still called “The Rise Guys,” which debuts Monday in the 2-6 p.m. slot. The pair now work for the same company, Entercom, that fired them in the spring.
It was almost three years ago exactly that Gleason and Kreidler bolted from their comfy, successful morning perch at KHTK (1140 AM) in Sacramento for the greener pasture of the San Francisco gig, where they dove headfirst into Bay Area sports mania. It was hard to fault them for the change of venue.
“We had an incredible opportunity to go to a larger market in San Francisco, which was a good career move,” Gleason said recently, sitting in a conference room at his new station’s Old Foothill Farms studios.
Kreidler and Gleason became a team in 2009 when Kreidler joined Gleason’s enduring Rise Guys franchise, which then also included Mark Lowe, known as the “Phantom.” Lowe didn’t take the San Francisco excursion. Kreidler had been an acclaimed Sacramento Bee sports columnist and frequent guest of the show. Gleason felt he and Kreidler complemented each other on the air, and the partnership has been a strong one.
“You have roles on a show,” Gleason said. “What Mark brings is the knowledge and journalistic integrity that help route us. You’ve got to have fun, but if you don’t know what you’re talking about, nobody cares how much fun you’re having,” Gleason said.
A Baseball Hall Of Fame voter, Kreidler has covered multiple World Series, the Olympics and numerous Super Bowls, so he knows big-time sports well. Kreidler has also written three well-received nonfiction books, including “Four Days to Glory: Wrestling With the Soul of the American Heartland” and “The Voodoo Wave: Inside a Season of Triumph and Tumult at Maverick’s.”
Gleason is a radio veteran whose Rise Guys show had aired on KHTK for 12 years. He has more than 30 years in radio, moving into sports talk in 1999. He said going to KMGZ “did not work out ideally” but “I would do it again in a heartbeat. I think our show for having been in San Francisco is a better show than it was.”
Kreidler said they became much stronger at focusing on various elements of their broadcasts.
“I became much better at asking basic questions like ‘Who’s this segment directed toward? Why would we be talking about this thing? Why we would we have this guest?’ ” he said.
Both note that they couldn’t have chosen a better time to come back to Sacramento and talk sports. If it was a golden era when the Kings were playoff locks and legitimate title contenders, then current times are significantly richer in quantity if not quality. The A’s look like championship material and the Giants have reasonable post-season aspirations. Soccer has hit Sacramento hard with Republic FC, and the River Cats continue as a national model for running a minor-league sports franchise.
“This is becoming such a more sophisticated sports market,” Kreidler said. “It’s been coming on for awhile, but you really see it the last couple of years.”
The homecoming has been auspiciously calm and welcoming for the pair so far. Kreidler never left his longtime Davis home, so his commute has relaxed. Gleason, who was renting in Pacifica, will move back into his Sacramento home this fall.
Gleason and Kreidler plan on being as current as possible, monitoring trending topics as well as understanding their sports entertainment show may not always be just fun and games. They believe the best shows are personal and resonate from topics they and the listeners are truly passionate about.
While their name doesn’t make as much sense now that they’ll be on in the afternoon, Gleason said the 1320 management feels it still has cachet in town.
Kreidler matter-of-factly observed that radio is a “weird business.” He said he and Gleason feel lucky to be back in Sacramento.
For the full article visit the Sac Bee where it was originally 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.