With the addition of Kent Sterling as host of CBS Sports Radio’s afternoon show at WXNT-AM 1430, there are now three local sports-talk shows on during afternoon drive time in Indianapolis.
Sterling, who replaced the nationally syndicated Doug Gottlieb Show, will face The Drive with JMV on WFNI-AM 1070 and the Query and Schultz Show on WNDE-AM 1260.
The competition for Sterling will be stiff. The show hosted by John Gliva—better known as JMV—is the runaway sports-talk ratings leader during the afternoon drive-time slot, and Query and Schultz have built a growing following among listeners and advertisers.
WXNT launched The Kent Sterling Show with little fanfare June 16. Now that the show has found its voice, Sterling said a marketing campaign including social media, press releases and on-site broadcasts at the Tilted Kilt downtown will kick off in the coming weeks.
“Driving traffic to a show that wasn’t necessarily ready, I mean we didn’t know what it was going to sound like, wasn’t very appealing to me,” Sterling said. “Now we’ve better determined what the show is going to be. We’re getting great guests and great content.”
Sterling, 50, is no stranger to the local market. He has resided in Indianapolis most of his life, graduating from Indiana University with a journalism degree in 1986.
For nearly 17 years, he worked for Emmis Communication Corp.’s Indianapolis radio cluster, helping launch WFNI, better known as 1070 The Fan, in 2007.
After a management change at Emmis in early 2010, Sterling was shown the door. After a two-year stint working in sports-talk for Hubbard Broadcasting in St. Louis, he returned to Indianapolis.
Until now, Sterling has primarily worked in radio management. He said he’s more than ready to leave management for an on-air job.
“I’ve always wanted to be on-air, but somehow got pushed into management,” said Sterling, who spent the early 1990s as an on-stage performer for The Second City in Chicago. “You can only sit in so many meetings where increasing efficiencies are talked about and derive joy from it.”
So how will Sterling differentiate his show in the crowded market place?
“We talk about sports and nothing but sports,” Sterling explained. “The [market’s] other [sports-talk] shows during that time slot are all over the place. I think there’s an opening we can exploit.”
There’s been much discussion about the market’s demand for three sports-talk stations. In December, 2007, 1070 The Fan joined WNDE and WXLW-AM 950 as the market’s third sports-talk station.
“I don’t know if this market is big enough for three sports-talk stations,” he said. “But it’s big enough for this station to survive. We are well-positioned in sports. I think this show can build an audience quickly in a market that is not served by a show that just talks about sports in this [afternoon drive-time timeslot.]”
Sterling will continue to produce his web site covering topics involving the media and sports, but said his primary focus will be his new radio show.
“I get up in the morning thinking about this radio show and I go to bed at night thinking about this radio show,” Sterling said. “I’m driven to do whatever it takes to make it a success.”
For the unedited version of the article visit the Indianapolis Business Journal 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.