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Shulman Values ESPN Role

Jason Barrett

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Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas may be college basketball’s household names when it comes to television, and that’s just fine with one of the best and most versatile play-by-play men in the business.

“I’m exactly where I want to be,” said Dan Shulman.

As ESPN’s lead announcer for college hoops, the 47-year-old Canadian will be courtside with Bilas on Saturday night when top-ranked Kentucky meets Florida in Gainesville.

So how did a Canadian become the World Wide Leader’s top play-by-play man on two of its biggest sports?

Shulman worked three years at the University of Western Ontario campus radio station before graduating in 1990 with a degree in actuarial science. Six months as an actuary, however, caused him to try radio full-time.

He started at a station in Barrie, Ontario, 50 miles north of Toronto. A year and a half later, Shulman moved to a Toronto sports station. Five years after that, he transitioned into television where he did the Toronto Blue Jays games for seven years.

It was seeing him work the World Basketball Championships, however, that caused ESPN to hire Shulman in 1995 for college basketball. He began working exclusively for ESPN in 2002. He became Sunday Night Baseball’s lead announcer in 2011.

Major League Baseball ends just as college basketball begins, which makes for a heavy travel schedule.

“I estimate I sleep in a hotel room about 140 nights a year,” said Shulman via phone Thursday from his home in Canada. “The travel part is not glamorous, but it’s a means to an end. I’m blessed to have the job that I do.”

Wait a minute; aren’t all Canadians crazy hockey fans?

“As a young kid, hockey was the only thing I knew,” Shulman said. “I was 10 when the Blue Jays came to Toronto and I was hooked on baseball from the day they got here.”

Shulman played high school basketball, but his first exposure to American college basketball came when his family visited his grandparents in Florida for spring break.

“This was March of ’83, the year where North Carolina State made the Cinderella run and won the national championship,” said Shulman. “I was hooked. Everybody else was going to the beach and I’m just sitting and watching basketball all day.”

He is also a huge football fan — his favorite team being the Green Bay Packers, so Shulman is “still stinging” from the NFC Championship game loss to the Seahawks.

“If my career had taken a different bounce, I could have just as easily been a hockey/football guy,” Shulman said.

Instead, he is a baseball/college basketball guy.

“Sometimes people will come up to me and know me as a baseball guy and hardly even know I do basketball,” Shulman said. “Sometimes people will come up to me as a basketball guy and hardly even know I do baseball.”

The pace of the two sports is different, presenting unique play-by-play challenges.

“I liken it to during baseball season, I’m walking on a treadmill, then on Nov. 8, or whatever it is, someone triples the speed of the treadmill and I’ve got to get going fast,” he said. “I’m equally comfortable doing both, to be honest with you.”

He’s also comfortable working with different partners. Shulman said his goal is to get the most out of his analysts. It shows.

“One of the producers I work with makes the analogy that we’re a basketball team and I’m a pass-first point guard,” Shulman said. “That to me is about the highest praise I can get. I don’t need to make the basket, I prefer the assist.”

He sometimes gets an assist on the road. Two of his three boys are huge sports fans. His 14-year-old wants to visit all 30 Major League Baseball parks. (He’s at 19.) His 21-year-old is looking forward to attending the ACC Tournament in March.

“It kind of alleviates some of the loneliness for me from being gone so much,” Shulman said. “If I can take my kids with me and show them a really good time that’s a good thing for everybody.”

Just as making that career switch was a very good thing for a certain Canadian.

“I love being a play-by-play announcer for games,” Shulman said. “I’m lucky that the thing I wanted to do is the thing they hired me to do and they’ve allowed me to keep doing it.”

Credit to the Lexington Herald-Leader who originally posted this article

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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