Well, that didn’t last long. After six weeks, Dino Costa is leaving 590 The Fan KFNS in St. Louis.
In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Costa says he’s leaving after learning that ownership were in talks with others about a potential takeover which could result in a restructuring of management.
“There have been strong rumors over the last couple weeks that there could very well be an ownership restructuring for 590 and I have made it clear to Randy Markel — that I’m not interested,” Costa said. “I have nothing but great things to say about Randy. But I indicated to him that I have no desire to work under a restructured ownership paradigm with the station. I made it clear before I came to St. Louis that I was not looking necessarily to get back into commercially run radio with just any person or any group or any station. It had to be a tremendous fit across the board. I perceived this to be a perfect situation with Randy. I told them that if there is going to be a change and someone else will be coming into the organization to run the day-to-day operations that I have no desire to work for anyone else.”
Costa entered St. Louis creating an immediate stir. He delivered verbal jabs to the station’s local competitors, and even had choice words with one of his own teammates Kevin Slaten. The KFNS morning host said he would crawl back to Wyoming on his hands and knees if he didn’t dominate the market within a year.
Ironically, Tim McKernan, who was one of the recipient’s of Costa’s wrath, is at the center of Costa’s decision to exit. KFNS management have had talks with McKernan about potentially operating the radio station. Markel and McKernan though both say that Costa has jumped to conclusions.
“Starting in early February, we were contacted by several media outlets about opportunities,” McKernan said. “We continue to have conversations, but at this point, we have no deal in place with any of the stations.”
Markel added, “There is no sale, there is no anything,”. “Have we talked about partnering up at some time? Absolutely. I talk to people every week. There is always talk in this business about, ‘What if we do this, what if we do that?’ But there is no deal to announce at this time.”
Costa wanted a guarantee that he’s in the radio station’s long-term plans, and would be unaffected by any regime change, but Markel couldn’t provide one for him. As a result, Dino took Thursday off to make sure he was comfortable with his decision to leave. He planned to do one final show on Friday.
Markel though says that despite Costa leaving the door open for a possible return, his days at KFNS are over.
“I like Dino, he’s like your crazy brother you have to bail out of jail,” Markel said. “I believe in Dino. He’s very talented. But it’s the BS that comes along with him that’s hard to take. He came into this area with a scorched-earth mentality and it just didn’t work. It’s the way he wanted to do it, I wasn’t about to stop him. You hire somebody to do what they do, he tried it. It didn’t work. It was a constant uproar. Me for one, I’m tired of the drama.”
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.