It happened more than a decade ago, but journalism professor John Nicholson vividly remembers criticizing verb tenses used by the sports department of Syracuse University’s radio station and the intense stare he got from Jason Benetti in return.
“He was polite. He stood up for himself,” said the director of the university’s Newhouse Sports Media Center. “I admired the heck out of him.”
Benetti developed that passion in college into his career. He has worked for the Salem Avalanche and Syracuse Chiefs minor league baseball teams, and he called baseball, football, lacrosse, hockey, and basketball for Time Warner, ESPN, Westwood One and Fox Sports. Now, at age 32, he has his dream job as the new member of the television broadcast crew for the Chicago White Sox — his favorite team. He joins the White Sox as Ken Harrelson winds down his long career.
His accomplishments have come as he’s managed cerebral palsy throughout his life, giving him a pronounced limp and a lazy eye.
After finishing college in 2005, Benetti quickly landed the job with the Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. He then took over the Salem Avalanche broadcasts in 2007 and 2008 before returning to the Chiefs as play-by-play announcer in 2009.
But that wasn’t quite enough. In his spare time, Benetti did college basketball for ESPN, studio work for Notre Dame football, high school football for Time Warner Cable, taught television broadcasting at Newhouse, and also performed some disability policy research work for the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse.
And he regularly flew back and forth to North Carolina to attend law school at Wake Forest University. Yes, he has his degree.
“You never know when somebody is going to have something taken away from them. I can get hit by a bus tomorrow,” Benetti said. “You might as well live life to the fullest while you have the opportunity.”
Benetti says he never wanted to be an activist about disabilities because it’s never been his personality. Still, because of what he’s accomplished he’s well aware that he’s an example of how to manage tough circumstances.
To read more visit the Roanoke Times where this article was originally published
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.