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ESPN Radio Names Marc Kestecher Voice of the NBA

Jason Barrett

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ESPN Radio didn’t have to search far for Kevin Calabro’s replacement on NBA radio broadcasts on ESPN Radio. The network has promoted from within by naming Marc Kestecher its new lead play-by-play commentator for the NBA on ESPN Radio starting with the 2016-17 NBA season. ‘Kesty’ as he’s known to industry friends will team up with analysts Jon Barry, PJ Carlesimo and Kara Lawson to call regular-season, All-Star and playoff games. He will work with Hall of Famer Hubie Brown on the NBA Conference Finals and the NBA Finals.

Kestecher, has spent 17-years at ESPN and will continue to call NFL, college football and college basketball games on ESPN Radio. He will also remain a studio host for a variety of ESPN Radio programming, including the pre- and post-game shows for the College Football Playoff Semifinals and Championship, and work select ESPN TV events.

“When I arrived at ESPN Radio 17 years ago, one of my goals was to work our NBA games alongside Hall of Famers Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay, which I was able to do for more than a decade,” said Kestecher. “It is with great honor that I will occupy JD’s seat, which was filled so brilliantly the last few seasons by Kevin Calabro.”

Tim McCarthy, Senior Vice President/GM Audio Play-by-Play said, “It is always gratifying when a commentator who grew up as part of the ESPN Radio team earns an opportunity such as this. Marc has successfully covered every area of play-by-play for ESPN Radio and we are so proud as he takes the helm of one of our marquee series – the NBA on ESPN Radio.”

Kestecher joined ESPN in 1999 as an ESPN Radio SportsCenter update anchor. Prior to arriving in Bristol, Kestecher worked as an anchor, reporter and talk show host for WKNR in Cleveland (1996 – 1999), and as sports director for WPTR/WROW in Albany, NY (1992 – 1996). He also called Albany Patroons (CBA), Albany Firebirds (Arena Football, and University of Albany football and men’s basketball games, as well as men’s basketball for St. Rose College (1993-1994).

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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