Another busy week in sports media full of news and notes you likely missed. To be included in a future column, send your news, tip or press release to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s what’s happening.
Well wishes are granted to Amber Wilson of 790 The Ticket in Miami. The talented and energetic morning host announced she’ll be taking time away from the morning show, which includes Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg, in order to battle breast cancer. Readers can send their support via Twitter by clicking here.
After 17 years, talented ESPN television producer and social media expert Jason Romano has decided to pursue a new calling. Romano, who has worked on numerous successful TV shows for ESPN, says he’s been nudged by the lord to help spread his message, and as a result, he’s going to start his own consulting business to help churches, athletes and other companies with their social and digital media. He also plans to host a new faith and sports podcast.
Another ESPN employee received some positive news recently. Anish Shroff has been named the network’s new Lacrosse play by play voice. Shroff replaces Eamon McAnaney who left last month to join SNY.
A well deserved congratulations is in order for Tony DiGiacomo who was recently promoted to the position of Program Director at Charlotte’s sports station WFNZ. DiGiacomo had been with the station for about 8 years, serving as an Executive Producer and Assistant Program Director before officially being given the PD title.
Also at WFNZ, midday host Nathan Conley has exited the building and is no longer with the company.
Another story out of Charlotte. Gerry Vaillancourt is returning to the local airwaves this week, hosting evenings on powerhouse news talker WBT. Vaillancourt previously hosted shows on the station earlier in his career but left the market when the Hornets elected to depart for New Orleans. At the time he was part of the team’s broadcast crew.
A tip of the cap to the crew at 1620 The Zone in Omaha. The radio station closed out the 4th quarter in strong fashion, finishing 3rd in both morning and middays. The station was also top 6 M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid, plus outranked local competitor ESPN 590 on the weekends, despite being at a disadvantage due to 590 carrying Nebraska Cornhuskers football. A great job by all involved.
After 31 years in broadcasting, former ESPN 980 Program Director and Navy Football Executive Producer Chuck Sapienza is tackling a new challenge. Sapienza announced that he’s joining the staff of Mount Saint Joseph High School as their marketing manager. He says he’ll also continue to blog for Breaking Burgundy.
After being a budget cut casualty at ESPN 980 last month, Nick Ashooh has landed on his feet. The Washington D.C. based personality is moving across town to join 106.7 The Fan.
On the network level, Seth Everett won’t be hosting on Sunday night’s any longer for NBC Sports Radio. He will remain involved on a fill-in basis. In the meantime, Everett has hosted on Baltimore news talker WBAL, and he’ll be sitting in for a few days on Sports Illustrated’s SI Now with Andrew Perloff.
An interesting development in Knoxville. Mickey Dearstone was let go from his position of Program Director and Host last week, but is still appearing on the station’s airwaves due to his involvement as the voice of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball. No word on why WNML chose to change direction.
Syracuse sports talk show host Mike Lindsley has added hosting duties on SB Nation Radio to his resume. Lindsley, who hosts weekdays from 3p-6p on The Score 1260, is hosting a new program called “The Saturday Tailgate“. The show airs every Saturday morning from 10a-12p ET.
While Lindsley’s addition may be positive, SB Nation Radio unfortunately had to part ties with a few of their staff members last week due to budgets. Lewis Woodard, and Will Palaszczuk, were among the on-air casualties. Each host is looking for their next opportunity.
Former NFL player and WDAE midday host Ian Beckles has signed on with Radio Influence to create a new weekly podcast.
In Portland, 750 The Game has added Devon Pouncey to its staff. Pouncey is originally from the Bay Area.
As one door closes, another one opens. Seth Stokes has left “The Swain Event” in order to join 106.3 WORD as a news reporter and digital content creator. With Stokes departing, Daniel Lewis has been named his replacement alongside Jayson Swain.
On the satellite radio airwaves, Robert Brender made his debut this past Saturday, hosting alongside former MLB manager Kevin Kennedy. The duo hosted the 4p-7p ET shift. No word yet on if it was a one-time test run or a program which SiriusXM will add to its weekend schedule.
TribLive Radio in Pittsburgh has reached a deal with Jordan Hall to cover NCAA and NFL football this fall.
The news isn’t as positive at CSN Philadelphia. The TV station has chosen to cancel their morning show “Breakfast on Broad“. Personalities involved with the show are expected to contribute to the TV station’s other local programs.
The post-Mike Goldberg era is beginning for the UFC. The company’s next pay per view will feature Jon Anik handling play-by-play alongside Joe Rogan. Dana White previously said he had a dream team of broadcasters in mind. Although this pairing should be very good, it doesn’t seem to be the out of the box combination White had been hinting at.
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.
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.
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.