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The Top 10 of The Capital Region

Jason Barrett

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There was no one-hour special proclaiming “I am taking my talents to the Metroplex,” but Glens Falls native Dave Strader steered his hockey broadcast career in a new direction last week by accepting the play-by-play job for the NHL’s Dallas Stars.

That got us thinking about other radio broadcasters who parlayed their time in the Capital Region to move on to bigger jobs — many of them on TV.

At the risk of forgetting someone, we came up with this top 10 of former Capital Region radio broadcasters (thus eliminating folks such as ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and CBS’s Andrew Catalon, both former weekend TV sports anchors) who have advanced to bigger platforms in the broadcasting field:

10. Doug Sherman (Siena basketball, 1989-93): Yes, he is still in the area as WRGB sports director, but his introduction to the Capital Region came as play-by-play voice for Siena basketball (1990-94). He is now the television voice for Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball and has drawn numerous assignments for ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com.

9. John Hennessy (Albany River Rats, 1993-2000): He was promoted from Albany to New Jersey, where he spent six seasons at the Devils’ radio voice, including calling the 2003 Stanley Cup championship. (He also called the Rats’ 1995 Calder Cup victory.) He is now broadcasting hockey games for the University of Massachusetts.

8. Brian Noe (WTMM show host, 2010-2013): Remember the “Noe Show” on WTMM (104.5 FM)? He uses the same name for his weekend show on Fox Sports Radio, which, ironically, airs 7-10 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m.-noon Sundays on WOFX (980 AM) — a competitor to his old station.

7. Joe Castellano (Siena basketball, 1998-2002): The Saints got to the postseason in three of his four seasons as play-by-play man, although baseball is his first love. He was host of a talk show on SiriusXM, called softball games for NBC during the 2008 Olympics, and now does podcasts focused on the San Francisco Giants and 49ers.

6. John Kelly (Adirondack Red Wings, 1987-89): The son of the late hockey broadcasterDan Kelly, he left Glens Falls for the St. Louis Blues, where his father became legendary. He called games for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche before returning to St. Louis in 2005. He has called Blues games on television for the past 10 seasons.

5. Mike Haynes (Capital District Islanders, 1990-93): The former voice of the Troy-based AHL team, which later transformed into the Albany River Rats, he just completed his 20th season with the Colorado Avalanche. He has done the past 10 seasons on television for Altitude, the regional sports network serving Denver.

4. Ari Wolfe (Albany Firebirds, 1996-2000; Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs, 2000; Saint Rose basketball, 1997-2001): He has gone from calling Firebirds games to perhaps being the pre-eminent voice of the Arena Football League, working games for both CBS Sports Network and ESPN. He has done updates and other work for NFL Network, and he called table tennis in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

3. Freddie Coleman (WOFX 980 AM, 2003): His stay in Albany was brief, a five-month stint on an afternoon talk show with John Tobin where he got second billing. He used “Tobin and Coleman” as a springboard to ESPN Radio, where he has been a regular prime-time host since 2004.

2. Dave Strader (Adirondack Red Wings, 1979-85): He was the Red Wings’ public-relations director when he began broadcasting games in the team’s inaugural season. He has called games for the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes, and since 2005 was a prominent play-by-play voice for NBC. He may still call occasional games for NBCSN, but his new position with the Stars will limit those opportunities.

1. Marc Kestecher (Albany Patroons, Albany Firebirds, 1989-96): A Guilderland native, he had several other play-by-play roles and was sports director at WPTR (1540 AM) and WROW (590 AM) before departing for a job at 50,000-watt WKNR in Cleveland. He left there in 1999 for ESPN Radio, where he sports a major presence. He was host of the network’s NBA Finals pregame and postgame shows, has done play-by-play on a number of NBA and college football games, and has been a prominent update anchor.

Also considered: Sandy Penner, former WQBK (1300 AM) host who now has a talk show in the Tampa area; Owen Newkirk, former Albany Devils and Adirondack Phantoms voice who now is the radio host for Dallas Stars games.

Credit to the Times Union who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

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 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, All 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 its 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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