We have us an apparent ballgame in the radio sports talk competition that for years has been dominated by SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket. If the first ratings book of 2015 is any indication, the new year may be an interesting study.
In the January ratings released this week, 105.3 FM The Fan and KESN 103.3 FM, aka ESPN Radio, made significant strides.
In the demographic that matters most because it pays the bills – men 25-54 – the score for the month was: Fan 4.2; Ticket and ESPN tied at 3.2.
Consider that in January 2014 the numbers were: Ticket 6.0; ESPN 3.1; Fan 2.7 and you can see how the universe has shifted.
For more egalitarian readers, among all listeners the final ratings were: Fan 2.6; Ticket and ESPN tied again at 1.8.
There’s little question that the Fan benefited from broadcasting two Sunday Cowboys playoff games and the Super Bowl while ESPN, which is run by the same folks who manage the Ticket, got a lift from college football’s three playoff games as well as the Cotton Bowl.
In the radio business, there is often a lingering residual effect from broadcasting big events. Listeners bleed over to regular programming. That’s the way the radio game is played.
So let’s delve deeper into men between the ages of 25 and 54.
Looking at the weekday ratings that feature the high-priced local talent from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. it was: Ticket 4.0; Fan 3.6; and ESPN 3.5.
A year ago those numbers were Ticket 7.6; ESPN 3.4; Fan 2.3.
It’s odd that given the Cowboys success and college football’s national championship game that combined listenership ratings for all three sports talk stations dropped from January to January, but that’s what the numbers show.
As usual, the Ticket’s “Musers” topped the morning sports talk mix master but there are new leaders in other day parts.
The Fan’s “G-Bag Nation” was No. 1 among sports talk stations middays and ESPN’s Afternoon Show topped afternoon drive.
The highest-rated weekday hour at the stations in men 25-54 was, as usual, turned in by the “Musers.” They scored an 8.4 share at 7 a.m.
The highest rated local hour at ESPN was “The Afternoon Show” at 4.9. Tops at the Fan was “Shan & R.J.” at 7 a.m. with a 5.4.
Credit to the Dallas Morning News who originally published this article
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.