Catching up on some news items from the past week. Here’s a number of developments that you may not have been aware of. To have your individual or radio station’s news included in a future edition of Under The Radar please send along any pertinent information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news!
WEEI in Boston should gain a few extra ears on June 16th when the station utilizes Roger Clemens as a radio analyst for the Red Sox game against the Houston Astros. The game takes place in the city of Houston. Longtime Sox announcer Joe Castiglione will miss the 3-day Houston trip, and Clemens’ appearance is being billed as a one-day stint. No word on if other opportunities in broadcasting could be on the horizon for Clemens.
Former Boston Red Sox play by play announcer Don Orsillo will reunite with his former club for a day when he works the FS1 broadcast of the Sox-Astros game on Saturday June 17th. Orsillo will call the game with Eric Karros and Tom Verducci. In addition to national work, he serves as the lead voice of the San Diego Padres.
After previously announcing he’d reduce his broadcast schedule due to health problems, Fred Manfra was forced to adjust those plans and bring his tenure in the Baltimore Orioles radio booth to a close. The popular O’s voice worked his final series this past weekend. He is relocating to Tampa, Florida to be closer to family and says two knee replacement surgeries await. He’s previously undergone two hip surgeries and back surgery. Congrats to Fred on a storied run in the Orioles radio booth.
WFAN overnight producer Russell Mafes has announced that he’s exiting the New York sports radio station after spending the past decade working for them. His last day will be June 9th. Mafes says he has accepted an opportunity with the Nassau County Police Department and will be leaving the sports media business.
Speaking of WFAN, while the station celebrates 30-years of broadcasting excellence, and has featured some of the true heavyweights of sports talk radio, the true architect of its creation is Jeff Smulyan. The CEO of Emmis Communications made a special guest appearance last week on Mike Francesa‘s show and talked about the history of the brand, how the station was launched, and why he felt sports talk as a format could work in the big apple. It was an interesting interview. To hear the conversation click here.
Staying in New York, congratulations to Steve Cohen, Steve Torre and their Mad Dog Radio morning show, The Morning Men, featuring Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik. The show held its special event, FALcon 2017 for its dedicated listeners this past Saturday at Rock and Reilly’s in New York City. The event was well attended and included on-site appearances by Ed Hendry of FOX News and Andrew Perloff of The Dan Patrick Show, the show’s update anchor Maria Marino, plus a call-in from Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. To hear the show on demand click here.
The Oakland Raiders have found a broadcast home in Las Vegas. Despite being a few years away from relocating to the city, the team has announced their games will air in sin city on Beasley Media Group‘s local stations News-Talk KDWN and Country KCYE.
A job well done by the folks at 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. On Monday, the station was tipped off that something big was developing with the Ohio State basketball program. It was expected the school would announce head coach Thad Matta would be leaving after the season. Instead, the news became Matta leaving immediately, all of it captured in real-time by The Fan’s staff while other market brands were removed from local programming.
The Los Angeles Kings have named Alex Faust as their new television play-by-play announcer. Faust takes over for Bob Miller, who retired this past April after calling Kings games the past 44 years. He’ll join television color analyst Jim Fox on FOX Sports West starting with the 2017-18 season.
104.5 The Zone received some unexpected recognition during the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on NBC. During last Monday’s game, the catfish thrower was captured on television wearing a t-shirt of the station’s Midday 180 show. That act generated a ton of media attention, and the Midday 180 followed it up by creating a GoFundMe account to pay for the Catfish Thrower’s legal defense with all proceeds over his fine amount going directly to the Nashville Predators Foundation. Tennessee Titans All-Pro Taylor Lewan was one of the early contributors to the fund.
Cleveland and Detroit radio personality Matt Dery produced a podcast highlighting the top 10 NFL play by play announcers. Green Bay Packers announcer Wayne Larrivee was given top honors To hear the podcast click here.
Allen Smothers has signed on to host mornings for 100.3 The Team in South Carolina. The show can be heard throughout 13 counties in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions of the Palmetto State. For more information about the radio station click here.
The University of South Carolina Athletics and IMG have signed a multi-year deal with 107.5 The Game in Columbia, South Carolina which will keep the station in place as the official flagship station for Gamecock Sports.
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.