The latest developments that you may have missed throughout the sports media world. As always, if you have news to share or something to promote, feel free to pass it along via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Jim Celania of 610 The Fan (WFNZ-AM) is retiring after nearly 20 years at the radio station. Celania recently hosted the morning show alongside Chris McClain. He previously worked with Gary Williams on the Morning Sports Page. Celenia said “I had two highly prepared lead hosts in Gary and Mac and many others allowing me to just be me, but now it’s time to go. I will miss it more than it will miss me. If I made you think or laugh then I guess I did ok.”
Former CBS Radio President Dan Mason is keeping busy in sports media circles. Mason, who currently serves as Senior Advisor for iHeartmedia, will be calling a handful of college basketball games on television for the CBS Sports Network. He was also added recently as an analyst on the Horse Racing Radio Network. HRNN programming can be heard on Sirius 93, XM 93, online and podcast at horseracingradio.net, and on select HRRN affiliates.
Clay Travis wrote a column which focused on the continued decline in subscribers at ESPN. This led to a response from the worldwide leader. Nielsen, the company which supplies ratings data for radio and television companies has since removed their November 2016 Cable Network Coverage Universe Estimates (versus the prior month) citing an unusual change. The company says they take the accuracy of their data very seriously and are conducting a thorough analysis to determine whether or not there was an issue.
Prior to the start of the World Series, 670 The Score program director Mitch Rosen took to his station’s website to thank listeners for their support during the past 25 years. You can read Rosen’s piece by clicking here. The Score’s Chris Tannehill also put together an excellent production piece to summarize the Cubs season and get local fans ready for the matchup with the Indians. You can hear it by clicking here.
102.5 The Game in Nashville has a brand new program director and they didn’t have to look far to find him. Ryan Porth has been promoted from the station’s APD role to the top spot. Station General Manager Jana Hampton says “Ryan exceeded expectations as the APD and has proven himself worthy of the elevated role. He brings energy, understanding, knowledge, and a plan to win. The competition wasn’t even close.”
Jeffrey Wright has been hired by 92.9 ESPN in Memphis. He’ll serve as Executive Producer of the Geoff Calkins Show, and as a contributor to the station’s local programming. Wright spent the past four years in Oxford, Mississippi covering Ole Miss for the Yahoo/Rivals network and hosting the Oxford Exxon Podcast, the largest daily podcast in the Southeast.
Staying in Nashville, 104.5 The Zone doesn’t have the radio rights to the Predators but that isn’t stopping them from tapping into one of the team’s most popular new additions. P.K. Subban has been added as a weekly contributor and will join the station’s afternoon show 3HL every Wednesday.
97.9 ESPN in Hartford is down to a few finalists for its vacant program director position. A final decision is expected soon. Former PD Tim Spence left in order to take the reigns at Denver Sports 760. Both stations are owned and operated by iHeartmedia.
Longtime Golden State Warriors radio producer R.C. Davis has joined 95.7 The Game as a producer of the station’s weekday NBA show. The program “NBA This Week” is hosted by John Dickinson and Matt Steinmetz.
Congratulations is in order for Arizona Sports 98.7FM midday host Vince Marotta who has taken over duties as the P.A. Announcer of the Phoenix Suns. Marotta replaces Kip Helt.
Chris Herring has left his position as the New York Knicks beat reporter at the Wall Street Journal to join ESPN where he’ll serve as a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight and as a national NBA reporter for the True Hoop Network.
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.