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Sports Radio Is Making An Impact In Baltimore

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Bob from Parkville was on the air, his voice filled with remorse.

A day earlier, he had agitated on WJZ-FM (105.7 The Fan) for the Ravens to place former linebacker O.J. Brigance, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in their Ring of Honor.

“We get it. … You’re passionate,” said Scott Garceau, one of the sports radio station’s hosts, after listening to several earnest apologies.

Well known to listeners, “Bob” is far from the only regular caller on 105.7, the most popular of Baltimore’s three stations devoted solely to sports, a format growing nationally and holding its own in the city. With its abundance of familiar callers and guests, local sports talk radio can feel like a close-knit neighborhood, albeit a homogeneous one in which the residents are nearly all wisecracking men.

But it’s working. Almost entirely devoid of female voices, sports call-in shows are scoring — locally and nationally — in the coveted Nielsen ratings demographic of men between the ages of 25 and 54.

“That’s the sweet spot,” said Rick Scott, an Arizona-based sports radio consultant. “The successful stations are usually in the top five in that demographic.”

Aided by being the Orioles’ flagship station, CBS-owned 105.7 often found itself in the top five among men 25 to 54 this past summer — and was sometimes No. 1 — although it placed lower in overall ratings.

While sports talk shows can be unabashedly lowbrow and occasionally repetitive, analysts say their audiences tend to linger, sometimes as an extension of their allegiance to local teams.

In a market that is increasingly fragmented — satellite radio, live streaming and podcasts have all become important outlets — sports radio “commands large, loyal audiences and those people listen frequently and regularly, which makes them great targets for advertisers,” said B. Eric Rhoads, publisher and CEO of Radio Ink, a trade publication. “It’s still a very viable format.”

Baltimore’s other two all-sports stations are both AM stations — WNST 1570 and WJZ 1300 — and barely registered in the overall ratings during the summer, if at all.

WNST downsized in 2014 and stopped taking listener calls in favor of “an ongoing conversation with [sports] experts,” said owner Nestor Aparicio, whose station emphasizes text updates and online streaming. “I don’t take phone calls on the radio because I don’t think it’s any good. We’re having an intelligent, cogent conversation.”

A partner of 105.7, WJZ 1300 is also owned by CBS Radio, a unit of CBS Corp. While sticking mostly to CBS national sports coverage and programs, it is the broadcast home of Towson University athletics.

In overall Nielsen ratings, CBS-owned WLIF-FM (adult contemporary), WERQ-FM (urban contemporary) and WPOC-FM (country) rank at the top for Baltimore listeners 6 and older, according to data released Sept. 30.

But in sports, 105.7 is “the Big Kahuna in Baltimore,” said Dave Hughes, founder of DCRTV.com, a website devoted to Washington and Baltimore media. “It’s a very Baltimore-sounding station and they get great ratings.”

The station ranks near the top of the Baltimore market in advertising revenue, Robert Philips, senior vice president and director of sales for CBS Radio nationally and its market manager for Baltimore, said in an email. The ranking could not be independently confirmed because the figures are private.

While it doesn’t have a lot of local competition, radio signals from Washington stations bleed into the Baltimore market.

“ESPN 980 in Washington sometimes gets some good ratings in Baltimore because it has a strong signal and has a lot of people in Howard and Anne Arundel Counties listening,” Hughes said.

Formerly WHFS-FM, 105.7 switched to sports talk in 2008.

It’s not a station for listeners who relish hearing hosts criticize or cut off callers. It’s pretty tame, courteous even.

“I don’t have callers that annoy me,” host Rob Long said. “If it’s annoying, we find a way to spin it and make it funny.”

After “Bob from Parkville” apologized for his rant, Garceau made it clear the caller remained on good terms. “Bob’s Bob,” Garceau said on the air. “Say your piece.”

On a recent afternoon, host Jeremy Conn — joined by Garceau — sat behind a microphone wearing an Orioles T-shirt. Eight Orioles bobbleheads were lined up on a table, and three television monitors with sports programming loomed overhead as Garceau fielded calls.

Another host, Bob Haynie, wore an AC/DC T-shirt and shorts as he prepared for an Orioles pregame show. “I wear a suit and tie to funerals,” he said of his attire.

Like cast members with small parts, the station’s regular callers have become part of the show. There is “Q in Pikesville,” an antagonist because he roots for out-of-town teams. There is “Ed in Arbutus,” a longtime high school assistant football coach and factory worker whom the hosts consider sage. There is “John in Elkton” whom the station has nicknamed “Elkton John.”

“I talk to them more than I talk to my own family,” Conn said off the air.

Ed Foster — “Ed in Arbutus” — said in an interview that he enjoys the connection derived from sharing moments from sporting events.

“From the time 105.7 started, I was making a call,” said Foster, 58.

He has developed such a close relationship with the station that he said Conn showed up at a wake service in March for Foster’s 35-year-old daughter, Amanda Winneke, who had died after a long illness.

“I was overwhelmed that he would consider that,” Foster said. “It was absolutely a surprise. I hugged him.”

Baltimore sports radio has a heavy local flavor. Nationally, ESPN Radio has 375 full-time affiliates — but none in the city.

“Baltimore is certainly on my radar,” said Traug Keller, an ESPN senior vice president overseeing the radio network, among other divisions.

News-talk station WBAL, the Ravens’ flagship station and the city’s AM ratings leader, carries some ESPN national game broadcasts but not the network’s signature shows such as “Mike & Mike.” Hearst-owned WBAL broadcasts its own sports talk show at night, often competing over the summer with Orioles games.

The Orioles jumped from WBAL to 105.7 last year, signing a multiyear deal.

 

To read the rest of the article visit the Baltimore Sun where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Industry Analyst Predicts Crypto Will Surpass Gambling In Sports World

Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year.

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Industry insiders have believed for quite a while that sports betting was the future for sponsorship and advertisement revenue, but it appears that there is a new venture on the rise that is quickly surpassing it.

Crypto.com made a huge statement in purchasing the Staples Center in what will be known as Crypto.com Arena come Christmas Day.

SponsorUnited Founder and President Bob Lynch believes that there is no doubt that Crypto and Blockchain will far exceed sports betting as the premiere revenue money maker for the sports industry over the next decade.

“They’re essentially buying equity,” which would be particularly valuable in an industry that is still widely doubted, Lynch said on Crypto.com’s purchase of the arena. “The Lakers and Clippers have global exposure, media value and mentions that give instant brand legitimacy with top-of-mind awareness through national/global TV exposure,”

Crypto has already started to push its way into major advertisements for key events in the world of sports. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX purchased an ad in this upcoming Super Bowl, and already has the backing of the biggest star in professional football. Tom Brady has an equity stake in the company.

Crypto.com is already the sponsor of FOX‘s college football studio show, Big Noon Kickoff, on top of running ads during broadcasts of the game as well.

Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year. It seems that the possibilities are endless for crypto within the sports landscape. While sports gambling certainly isn’t going away from the public eye, it could be overtaken by crypto in terms of ad spending and sponsorship visibility very soon.

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Sports Radio News

Colin Cowherd: Lincoln Riley At USC Is Good For Networks

“Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches.”

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FS1

Colin Cowherd is a self-professed college football fan. When the sport is interesting, he talks about it. The sport may never be more interesting than when the coaching carousel is spinning.

On Mondy’s edition of The Herd on FS1 and FOX Sports Radio, Cowherd dove in on USC’s hire of Lincoln Riley. He says that it is good for college football that Riley left Oklahoma for Los Angeles.

“My phone blew up yesterday, not only because people know I’m kind of a USC honk, but network people,” Cowherd said. “They’re like ‘do you understand how big this is for networks?’”.

Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches. He noted that when USC lost to Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl, ABC scored a 22.5 rating in the city.

“The networks want USC to be good. You know why? Because New York, DC, and Boston have never watched college football. Chicago does and LA does. So the Big Ten being good is good for college football TV ratings. But LA doesn’t watch college football anymore. They will now.”

As for the hard times USC has fallen on and been stuck in mostly since Pete Carroll bolted for the NFL, Cowherd is not particularly worried. He pointed out that Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame were all down before they hired the right coach. Programs at the blue blood level in the sport have a way of bouncing back quickly.

Network executives are hoping Cowherd’s assessment is correct. USC is the only brand on the West Coast capable of resonating on a national level.

The Los Angeles sports landscape has changed though. When USC was a celebrity program under Pete Carroll, the city did not have an NFL team. Now it has two. The Dodgers were not annual contenders in Major League Baseball. The Lakers had stars, but the Clippers didn’t. Now both do.

Does LA love college football enough for the Trojans to turn some heads in the city with the most stars in the sports world?

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee’s Wife Shares Couple’s Pregnancy Struggles

“Saying that now the couple is no longer able to conceive naturally, Samantha went on to tell her followers that she and Pat will be pursuing in vitro fertilization when they are ready.”

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As hard as it can be as a celebrity, or as the spouse of a celebrity or popular media figure, to keep your personal life private and out of the limelight, sometimes it can be uplifting to put your personal struggles out there for all to see.

Enter Samantha McAfee, the wife of popular sports radio host Pat McAfee. Samantha took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to share a heartbreaking update on the couple’s journey to conceiving a child.

“On Tuesday, I had what we thought was a ‘normal’ miscarriage, it was painful and miserable,” Samantha wrote in part. “However, Saturday morning I woke up in extreme pain so Patrick took me to the ER. They found that I had internal bleeding again due to the pregnancy being in my (fallopian) tube and it had burst. I needed emergency surgery to remove my remaining tube.”

Samantha shared that this was not the first time she had experienced complications in the beginning weeks of a pregnancy. She said she had her right fallopian tube removed in 2020 due to an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy where a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus.

Saying that now the couple is no longer able to conceive naturally, Samantha went on to tell her followers that she and Pat will be pursuing in vitro fertilization when they are ready.

Additionally, McAfee noted that the point of her sharing the update was to give others who may be going through similar difficulties hope, but to also shed a light on the reality of fertility issues and emphasize that she will have a child someday.

“I KNOW I WILL BE A MOTHER somehow some way, I know Patrick and I will be the best parents we can be whenever the universe thinks it’s the right time,” she said.

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