Back in February, when it was announced that Dave Shore would become the new programming director at Detroit Sports 105.1 (WMGC), his friends back in Los Angeles were understandably puzzled.
Why are you leaving this weather?
“I’m not in the weather business,” Shore said, laughing, over coffee on Thursday morning. “I’m in the sports business. I grew up in the Midwest. I can handle it.
“If Detroit isn’t the best … it has to be No. 1 or 2 of the top sports cities in America.”
Shore, 49, a radio veteran whose career has taken him through Los Angeles, Dallas, North Carolina, Oregon, Kentucky and Indiana, has a tall task ahead of him here, trying to take a sliver of the ratings away from chief competitor 97.1 The Ticket (WXYT).
It’s a tough battle, considering 97.1 is round-the-clock local — and among the top-rated sports-talk stations in the country, not just Michigan — while 105.1 remains local only from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Detroiters have proven time and again that they want local content, not national.
So no surprise, Shore, who takes over for Jason Dixon, who was the station’s programming director for its launch in August 2013, said more local programming is essential, and while he doesn’t have a time frame, he said, “I like to work fast.”
“You’ll hear more right away, you’ll hear more from us,” Shore said. “The bottom line, we’re not going anywhere. (Greater Media is) committed to local content. When you move to sports (format), you don’t do it to take a dip in the shallow pool. You have to get in it for the long haul.”
Among the new things you’re hearing on 105.1: Rob Pascoe is getting more of a presence on the update desk during ESPN Radio’s flagship morning show, “Mike & Mike”; Pistons pregame and postgame host Jake Chapman is starting to get more air time to talk about all sports; and on Wednesday nights, Chapman and veteran Detroit sports journalist (and former News staffer) Rob Parker are teaming up for a show.
Shore wouldn’t comment on the Parker-Chapman combo, other than saying, “What you’ll hear me do is, I will try a lot of things. Jake is one of our regular staff members. I want to hear him do all kinds of sports.”
Shore also already is starting the planning for beefed-up fall football coverage, which isn’t nailed down yet but figures to include more weekend programming geared toward Michigan, Michigan State and the Lions. Friday night high-school football coverage could be in the works, as well.
He may not be a Detroiter, but Shore knows the business, knows Detroit is a passionate sports town — and knows you can’t do enough local programming.
“Do I want more local programming?” Shore said. “I do.”
When the rapid growth will start is unclear, and Shore isn’t naming any names — though he said he values entertaining voices above anything else, because it’s an entertaining business. In past stops, he’s hired a longtime caller (Jay from Compton) to be a fill-in host, and even found on-air talent in comedy clubs.
Detroit Sports 105.1 has three regular shows under contract: Ryan Ermanni and Rico Beard weekday mornings; Matt Dery weekday mid-days; and Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer weekday drive time. The station also has an excellent reporter in Denny Kapp, and a great producer/booker/update man in Tom Mazawey.
Shore said he’s spent his first weeks on the job taking everything in, including listening to the station’s shows — and analyzing the shows’ strengths.
One of the biggest knocks on 105.1 is that its billboard hosts, Lane and Fellhauer, are as likely to talk about an 80-year-old porn star as they are the Wings playoff series. Asked for his philosophy on how much sports his hosts should talk, Shore defended going off on government or pop-culture rants if they can grab listeners’ attention.
“If you and I meet for lunch, we don’t sit down and say, ‘Do you want to start with sports?'” Shore said. “So I don’t have a daily rule book for the guys.
“Remember, every market and every show is different. We’re 18 months old. If you go to most markets where they’ve started a sports station, and you’ve got guys who every day talk Xs and Os, they don’t do have half the ratings after 18 months that Drew and Marc have.”
Shore said Lane and Marc are just being themselves, and that’s important in any line of work. “You don’t want to be something you’re not,” Shore said.
While 97.1 remains the undisputed ratings champion in Metro Detroit, 105.1 gets decent numbers from Lane and Fellhauer, and the ratings book doesn’t include the number of folks who listen on streamed apps, or who download their podcasts. The podcast numbers, Shore said, are substantial.
Detroit Sports 105.1 landed the Pistons for the 2014-15 season, and continues to hold their rights — which could be huge if the Pistons turn things around, as they’re expected to do under Stan Van Gundy. It’s unclear if Greater Media will at least make a play for other pro teams’ rights, including the Tigers, who are a significant reason behind the massive ratings at 97.1. During Tigers off-season, 97.1’s ratings drop quite a bit — though, of course, nowhere near enough to knock it from its pedestal.
Shore acknowledges he spends a little time listening to 97.1, though he doesn’t obsess. He’s got his own house to fix up.
“I try to listen some,” Shore said. “But when you get to a place and you completely switch gears, I’ve gotta spend a lot of my time listening to my station.
“I check them out and I have mutual respect for the amazing job that they’ve done over the years. But there’s room for more.”
Credit to the Detroit 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.