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Under The Radar – July 3, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Independence Day may be upon us but that doesn’t mean the sports media news cycle stops. A reminder, it’s helpful when you pass along any personal or brand information. We create UTR each week to keep members of the sports media business informed about the latest industry developments. Please do your part by forwarding any pertinent details via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

We hope you enjoy your July 4th holiday, but before you fire up the grill, drink a few cold ones and take a dip in the swimming pool, be sure to read the news and stay informed. Here are this week’s stories.

BSM has a few upcoming projects that will require additional contributions from industry members. If you have a passion for sports radio, an ability to write, a good ear, and want to increase your profile in the business, send an email by clicking here. There may be future opportunities to earn compensation but if money is your end game, it’s wiser to pursue other outlets that are working with higher budgets.

Budget cuts have claimed another talented programmer/on-air talent. Gregg Henson has been let go by iHeartmedia. Henson had been programming ESPN Pittsburgh and doubling as an afternoon talk show host with Jim Costa and Drew McCarthy in Detroit and Grand Rapids. To reach Gregg to discuss future opportunities email him by clicking here.

In recent months the media industry has seen a steady reduction in talented writers. Just last week FOX Sports and MTV made major changes to their digital approach, choosing to eliminate written content in favor of heavier video distribution. Although opinions remain split on the financial upside of written material, Clay Travis of FOX Sports Radio and Outkick The Coverage wrote an excellent piece on the future of sports writing. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read it I highly recommend it. You can do so by clicking here.

After decades of deadlines and covering every major sports development in the Bay Area, Mark Purdy has decided it’s time for a change. The exceptional wordsmith of the San Jose Mercury News has revealed he will leave the newspaper after more than three decades of providing journalism excellence. His final column will be published in August. In a piece this week where he announced his forthcoming departure Purdy said he’s not done writing but changes to the journalism profession have forced many to alter their approach and he’s looking forward to exploring new possibilities and enjoying a little more free time with his wife. To read the piece click here.

WEEI afternoon host Rich Keefe may not be invited over for dinner anytime soon by Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell. During Farrell’s weekly interview on the Boston sports station, Keefe asked about a local report about the team’s position coaches being frustrated with the Sox skipper over the way he was using closer Craig Kimbrel. Farrell denied the report and appeared none to pleased with Keefe. To watch their exchange click here.

Congratulations is in order for St. Louis Blues television personality Darren Pang. The outstanding hockey analyst has confirmed he’s agreed to a new three year deal to remain with the team and its television partner FOX Sports Midwest.

In other television news, the NFL Network has added a new reporter to its staff. Tom Pelissero has left the USA Today and will be contributing on-air and on NFL.com. He’s also expected to continue hosting radio shows on 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Dallas based radio host Matt Mosley, who has been working with Ed Werder on the Doomsday Podcast, revealed thru social media that he’ll be heard this week on the ESPN Radio Network. Mosley will work nights alongside Cincinnati talk show host Mo Egger and Joe Ovies of 99.9 The Fan.

In what’s being billed an upset of epic proportions, NBC Sports Radio has agreed to turn over the airwaves once again to Rob “Stats” Guerera. Mike Florio’s executive producer will host Pro Football Talk Live Tuesday morning July 4th from 6a-9a ET.

Former 95.7 The Game midday hosts Guy Haberman and John Middlekauff will be earning some air time on KNBR. The two men are scheduled to host on the Bay Area sports radio station on Monday July 3rd from 9a-1p.

The final fill-in news comes from Phoenix where Jody Oehler of FOX Sports 910 will earn an opportunity to present himself to a national audience this Wednesday-Friday. Oehler will step in on FOX Sports Radio for Rich Eisen.

A tip of the cap to 97.3 ESPN. The Atlantic City sports radio station won the Most Creative Localization contest of the Mike and Mike Dream Finals campaign. The station used Mike and Mike’s winning word and localized the promotion by tying in the station’s LPGA VIP experience promotion which rewarded a listener with an opportunity to play in the LPGA Pro-Am and earn an inside the ropes experience during the event. For winning the contest, the station received a $1000 gift card and an opportunity to be featured in a future case study by ESPN Radio.

In late May, ESPN Pensacola was abruptly shut down. As a result, Paul Chestnutt and Chad Brillante were left without jobs. Fortunately for both men, that stint on the unemployment line didn’t last long. Chestnutt has been hired by WPNN (103.7 FM and 790 AM) to host his hour-long “Sports Roundtable” show. Brillante has been added to The Ticket Sports Network (97.1 FM in Pensacola, 100.3 FM in Crestview-Fort Walton-Destin, and 93.5 FM in Panama City) to host afternoons.

Up north, Andy McNamara has shared that he’ll be hosting a new Wednesday night program across Canada called CFL Weekly. The show will be heard on the TSN Radio Network and focus on the Canadian Football League.

A couple of play-by-play news items to pass along. First, AJ Ricketts has been named the new voice of Florida International University football.  Second, former Boston College and North Carolina State head football coach Tom O’Brien has been named the new radio color analyst for the Navy Football Radio Network. O’Brien takes over for Omar Nelson who moved into the position of Football Recruiting Coordinator.

Additionally in the play by play arena, SiriusXM MLB radio host and TNT television host Casey Stern will make his debut as an NBA play by play announcer. Stern is scheduled to call summer league action on NBA TV July 7-9. He’ll be working with Isaiah Thomas and Steve Smith.

Congratulations to accomplished writer and reporter Bruce Feldman. After enjoying stints with ESPN and FOX Sports, Feldman has announced he’s joining Sports Illustrated to cover and write about college football.

Greg Smith has announced he’s leaving the Gregath and Smith show on ESPN 1480. Smith has signed on to be a Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity. The website has also added Derek Peterson as a writer and Huskers football reporter.

Continuing with some additional writing news, former CBS Radio digital host Jake Brown has joined SNY on a part time basis. Brown will be contributing written pieces about the NY Knicks for the TV station’s website.

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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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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