The Best of Denver curse strikes again.
Back in March, we named ESPN’s The Locker Room, co-starring Nate Kreckman and Broncos Ring of Famer Tom Nalen, Denver’s top radio sports show in our 2014 Best of Denver issue. But as with Gloria Neal, who was given her walking papers at AM-760 shortly after we dubbed her 2014’s Best Radio Talk-Show Host, Nalen’s out at ESPN Denver (although apparently by his choice), as are two other noteworthy personalities, Les Shapiro and Charles “CJ” Johnson — and other changes are on the way at the station beginning Monday, July 28.
First, a little background. In February 2010, aswe’ve reported, a group led by automobile expert and local TV staple Dealin’ Doug Moreland bought 102.3 and 105.5 from NRC Broadcasting, fronted by Tim Brown, an energetic figure who also happened to be gazillionaire Phil Anschutz’s son-in-law. The following May, we learned that the ownership cabal also included onetime Denver newspaper journo turned ESPN talking head Adam Schefter and Tom Manoogian, who was well known to listeners of KOA and other stations via his Lou From Littleton pseudonym.
The 102.3 format was dubbed The Ticket and featured Shapiro, Johnson and Kreckman — and all three survived when, in January 2012, the switch was made to ESPN Radio Denver. But the station has consistently struggled in the ratings. Combining the most recent numbers from both its signals still puts it in 26th place overall out of 36 stations.
Now, Shapiro and Johnson, who’d been paired in a midday slot, are out and Kreckman is the sole host of The Locker Room. Here’s how Manoogian describes the changes.
Regarding Nalen, Manoogian says, “Tom’s contract ended July 22. We offered an extension and he refused.”
Shapiro and Johnson received no such opportunity due in part to scheduling of nationally syndicated ESPN programming, including Mike and Mike, featuring Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, and Colin Cowherd.
“Mike and Mike is our flagship show,” Manoogian allows. “It dominates men 25-54 in the mornings. And Colin does a great job for us. We couldn’t be happier.”
As a result, Mike and Mike will air from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. beginning on July 28, with Cowherd following from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — an hour later than previously. That shrinks the subsequent slot, which Les and CJ had manned from noon to three, to two hours, and Manoogian says, “A two-hour show doesn’t lend itself to having two people. It’s not cost-effective. At the end of the day, I’ve got to return a profit to my investors. So when Les and CJ’s contract also ended, we decided not to renew them.”
Instead, the two-hour block is now being filled by Cecil Lammey. “He has passion, energy and is about everything football,” Manoogian notes. “Cecil’s been doing Sunday mornings since we started the station and he’s an expert on fantasy — so we thought it would be the perfect time to give a chance to a guy who’s been with us since day one.”
For the rest of this story visit Westword 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.