Dino Costa has his share of fans and critics. The controversial talk show host is on his way to St. Louis where he’ll soon be hosting mornings on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. He debuts on Monday morning March 14th.
In a conversation with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Costa made it clear that he’s going for the throat and not holding back. When asked about his expectations for his show he said “If I don’t dominate this market in a year, I will crawl on hands and knees back to Wyoming. They’ve got some nice little shows on sports radio here but they’re ham-and-eggers for the most part. The worst thing that ever happened to other people in sports radio is the arrival of Dino Costa. I have nothing personal against any of these guys but I have to destroy them, I will destroy them, and I will dominate this market.”
That brash approach has been part of Costa’s DNA for a long time and only time will tell if it resonates with St. Louis listeners. Others have tried that approach and not performed, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t work. However, it’s clear that one of the first objectives on Dino’s end is to try and ruffle the feathers of other local personalities.
When asked about Tim McKernan, Jim Hayes and Doug Vaughn’s morning show on CBS Sports 920, WGNU-AM, he said “it’s sophomoric, juvenile, and a lot of sexual talk. McKernan, appeals to a younger demographic. He can keep the kids. I’ll take everybody else.”
He also took aim at market ratings leader 101 ESPN. Costa said of morning host Bernie Miklasz, “I have been a longtime fan of Bernie from his days writing for the Post-Dispatch, and he was a huge fan of my show on SiriusXM. I love Bernie. But it’s unfortunate I now have to destroy him, and I do so without apology or any hesitancy.”
In addition to hosting mornings, Costa is also jumping into the programming end. Since joining the station he’s dumped Dan Patrick’s show in favor of a Blues-specific program hosted by Dave Rapp, and he’s extended an offer to Curt Schilling, although it appears to be a publicity stunt. Costa though says the offer is legitimate.
What’s even more interesting, is that he’s joining a radio station which includes Kevin Slaten, a market veteran who’s built a career as St. Louis’ bad guy, and wears that title like a badge of honor. When asked about Dino’s arrival, Slaten gave him a ringing endorsement.
“There’s something new and fresh about his show that I think people will gravitate to. I think this is a home run for St. Louis. If St. Louis doesn’t give him a fair chance, shame on them.”
But although Slaten offered praise to Dino, the response from Costa wasn’t as warm.
“As long as Slaten stays the (expletive) out of my way we won’t have any problems. I think my presence is going to bring his game up. From what I’ve listened to Kevin, I think he is very good. But he could be so much better.”
His approach and attitude may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Dino Costa operates a certain way, and KFNS knows what they signed up for. The ability to generate headlines, make noise, and create interest are right in Dino’s wheelhouse. The real question is will that style and approach be received favorably by St. Louis listeners?
If it works, KFNS will benefit. If not, it’ll be an experiment that was tried and didn’t prove to be unsuccessful. Either way, they’re taking a risk to get people to take notice of the brand. Now it’s up to the audience to decide if KFNS’ risk was worth it.
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.