WFNZ in Charlotte has agreed to a four-year partnership with the Virginia Tech Athletics Department and the Virginia Tech/IMG Sports Network, granting the radio station the opportunity to broadcast Virginia Tech football games in the Charlotte metropolitan area. The station will air both regular season and postseason Virginia Tech football games and “Tech Talk LIVE!”, the Monday night radio show that originates out of Blacksburg. All programming will be carried on 610 AM and 102.5 FM in the Charlotte area.
The partnership gives the Hokies an affiliate in Charlotte for the first time in school history. Charlotte becomes the second-largest broadcast area for the Virginia Tech/IMG Sports Network, surpassed only by Washington, D.C..
“It is extremely important that the Virginia Tech/IMG Sports Network reflects the growth and momentum of Virginia Tech,” Virginia Tech IMG Director of Broadcast Operations Jon Laaser said. “Virginia Tech’s presence continues to expand rapidly in Charlotte, as does Charlotte as a whole. We are thrilled to not only bring Tech football to this key area for the first time, but to do it with the perfect partner in WFNZ.”
WFNZ, which is owned by Entercom Communications, occupies the dominant position among sports radio brands in the Charlotte market. In addition to a strong local weekday lineup, the station serves as the radio partner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, and its sister station, WBT, is the radio home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
“Virginia Tech is a world-class football program and WFNZ is proud to have it as a part of our portfolio of marquee sports listenership options for the WFNZ legendary audience,” Entercom Charlotte General Manager and Vice President Matt Hanlon said. “This is a perfect match for us, and we’re thrilled to be partners with Virginia Tech.”
“I am ecstatic that one of the premier college football programs in the world has chosen WFNZ as its first radio partner in Charlotte,” WFNZ Program Director Tony DiGiacomo said. “We look forward to bringing so many of our Virginia Tech fans here in Charlotte the best coverage of Hokies football.”
Virginia Tech opens up its 2017 football season on September 3rd against West Virginia at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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.