TNT’s “Inside the NBA” returns next Tuesday, coinciding with the start of the NBA season. There’s no show quite like it.
If it seems more unstructured, freewheeling and off-the-cuff than other studio shows, well, that’s because it is. By design.
Ernie Johnson Jr., the two-time Emmy Award-winning host of “Inside the NBA,” revealed some of the show’s secrets to success in a recent phone conversation.
One is that analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal don’t attend preshow production meetings.
“There’s no way,” said Johnson, who’s about to start his 25th season as the show’s host. “It would not work for the show. We don’t want to have these guys know what’s coming.
“(What) that does is lend to the spontaneous nature of the show. You get gut-level reactions from the guys. We’re not afraid of that either.”
“Inside the NBA” never feels rushed or beholden to commercials, and that’s no accident either. Longtime producer Tim Kiely is willing to let Ernie, Chuck, Kenny and Shaq go if they’re on a roll. Kiely simply will tell Johnson: “Hey, I’ll make up the time later.”
The reason “Inside the NBA” has proved impossible to replicate is the unique chemistry shared by the cast and crew. They didn’t know they’d have it until they went on the air together for the first time.
Barkley asked Smith what he was going to talk about during their first halftime segment when he joined the group in 2000. “You’ll find out,” Smith replied.
“That set the tone for the way the next 15 years would go for us,” Johnson said. “We’re just guys sitting around in a living room watching a basketball game. No one asks for permission to talk. We’re not going to rehearse it. We let ’er rip.”
Johnson, the ringleader, prepares as meticulously for “Inside the NBA” as his other assignments. We spoke during the MLB playoffs while Johnson was in Anaheim calling the Royals-Angels series for TBS. The coming NBA season already was in the back of his mind.
“Preparation is the lifeblood of this job,” Johnson said. “It’s a non-stop process. You’re always working ahead.”
Johnson often will be the only person awake at his house, watching games and compiling notes deep into the night. It’s the best prep possible for “Inside the NBA,” which typically ends about 2 a.m. EDT, with uproarious laughter.
For more visit the OC Register where this story 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.