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DiPietro Explores Sports Radio

Jason Barrett

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Rick DiPietro and Alan Hahn were supposed to be preparing for a radio show, but the conversation again had gone “off the rails,” as they like to put it. The subject: Batman vs. Superman.

“Batman is Inspector Gadget with a cool suit,” DiPietro said before veering into an analysis of Aquaman and his heroic limitations, which brought Hahn back to Iron Man, of whom he said, “Again, he’s just a guy in a crazy suit.”

This was Wednesday evening, an hour before the latest episode of a summertime radio bromance on ESPN New York that improbably has lasted past Labor Day and whose public reception has both surprised and heartened DiPietro, the former Islanders goaltender.

By 7:20, the discussion had found its way on to the air when DiPietro finally concluded, “Unless Batman’s suit is made of Kryptonite, he has no chance.”

Before they were done at 11, they had covered a range of sports topics and many other matters, including the old MTV reality show, “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,” and the tracklist of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

To say DiPietro, whose most recent job had been blocking vulcanized rubber disks for a living, is enjoying all this would be an understatement.

“It’s just so easy, man,” he said in the show’s Upper West Side studio as he studied a stack of newspapers — old school! — with a highlighter and a notebook full of potential material he neatly had written out during the day.

“My wife is like, ‘Isn’t four hours a lot?’ And we’ll look at each other at 11 o’clock and say, ‘That’s it?’ We could go for six. We could go for eight . . . It just goes so fast.”

Actually, Hahn and DiPietro do go for six or eight, in that their debates begin as they carpool from their homes in West Hills and Oyster Bay and continue on the ride back to Long Island.

It all works thanks to a relationship dating to Hahn’s time covering DiPietro and the Islanders for Newsday, one that continued into Hahn’s current job as a Knicks studio analyst on MSG.

DiPietro would text observations and/or wisecracks when Hahn was on MSG or hosting Saturdays on ESPN Radio.

“After the show I would text him back, like: ‘You should do this,’ ” Hahn said. “He would just say, maybe, yeah, maybe. I would tell him: ‘We’re going to do this one day. I’m going to get you in there one day.’ “

It happened Aug. 11, when DiPietro joined Hahn and SNY’s Brian Custer. Two nights later, Hahn was scheduled to work alone. He told DiPietro to come along anyway, figuring “no one needs to know.”

That night DiPietro landed a newsmaking interview with the Mets’ Matt Harvey, a friend of his.

Then Hahn was asked to work Labor Day afternoon, the traditional end point for summer radio fill-ins. He said he would do it if DiPietro could come along.

Soon they were doing nightly shows this week, while the usual host, Dave Rothenberg, joined the midday show with Ryan Ruocco, whose old partner, Stephen A. Smith, now has a satellite radio show.

They are set to work nights again next week. After that . . . “Who knows?” Hahn said. “I’m just riding it, having fun with it, and we’ll see what happens.”

That is DiPietro’s attitude, too. But unlike Hahn, he does not have another job waiting for him.

To read more visit Newsday where this article 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 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.

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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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