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Under The Radar – August 29, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Traveling for business makes it tougher to keep up with developments that don’t dominate the headlines, but despite the challenges, we’ve got plenty for you to digest this week. A reminder, to have your personal or station news included in a future edition of this column, email your information to JBarett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now on to this week’s news.

ESPN has confirmed the release of a brand new podcast starting this Wednesday August 30th. Ian Fitzsimmons and Kirk Herbstreit will team up for a college football heavy podcast. The program is simply titled Herbstreit & Fitzsimmons.

Staying on the subject of new podcasts, CBS Sports Radio host Jim Rome is launching one too. One cool feature of the new podcast will include listeners having an opportunity to be a part of it. Rome has set up a new voicemail (949-385-0447) which allows fans to phone in. Good material may be used on future episodes.

A podcast episode worth passing along comes from Oklahoma City where WWLS host Carey Murdock caught up with the play by play voice of the University of Oklahoma Toby Rowland. The two men worked together earlier in their careers and reunited on this podcast to discuss the role of official broadcasts, innovations which could make broadcasting games more exciting, and more. To hear the conversation click here.

Last week, ESPN President John Skipper appeared for an interview on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego with Dan Sileo. Given the timing of national news stories involving the worldwide leader, it was wise of Skipper to make a public appearance. To hear the interview click here.

92.9 The Game in Atlanta has filled its vacancy for evenings. Former Portland morning host Andy Bunker has taken over the evening shift formerly held by Mark Zinno. “The Bunker Mentality” now occupies the airwaves M-F 7p-11p ET.

Congratulations to ESPN 1000 radio host John Jurkovic. The Chicago midday host has been chosen for induction into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. The event is scheduled for October 2nd at McCormick Square’s Wintrust Arena.

Capitol Broadcasting’s 99.9 The Fan and its website WRALSportsFan.com have welcomed three college sports reporters to their roster for the upcoming 2017-2018 season. Ben Swain has been assigned to covering Duke. Turner Walston is tasked with reporting on the University of North Carolina. And James Curle will handle the assignment of covering North Carolina State.

Baltimore Ravens radio broadcasts on WBAL and 98 Rock this season will include four former players. Joining Gerry Sandusky and Stan White for four games each will be Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Justin Forsett and Jarret Johnson.

In football radio news out of Los Angeles, KNX-AM, 1070 Newsradio, will debut its daily Pro Football Insiders Report starting Monday August 28th. The station’s insiders are Dan Fouts, Chris Myers, Jackie Slater and Andrew Siciliano. Their reports run weekdays at 7:20a, 10:20a, 5:50p and 7:50p.

Former Detroit Sports 105.1 host Jake Chapman has signed on as an update anchor with 97.1 The Ticket and WWJ Newsradio 950.

Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City has extended its programming partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs to bolster its weekday content during football season. The partnership doesn’t grant WHB the opportunity to air Chiefs games.

When Charles Barkley is willing to host for four hours on your radio station, you take full advantage of it. That’s exactly what 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia is doing this Tuesday. Barkley will join afternoon host Mike Missanelli from 2p-6p ET. The two have worked together numerous times before, and always put on a great show together.

Nashville Predators radio broadcasts on 102.5 The Game this season will include former defenseman Hal Gill. Gill replaces Brent Peterson who shifts to pre and post game shows alongside Darren McFarland. Gill will work game broadcasts with Pete Weber.

Sticking with hockey radio broadcasts, 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh has inked a multi-year extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins to continue serving as its broadcast partner. The new deal keeps the two sides together through the 2020-21 NHL season.

Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 has filled the remainder of its on-air lineup. The station has confirmed the additions of Satiar Shah, Perry Solkowski, Jawn Jang, and Randip Janda.

Further down the west coast in Fresno, Christopher Gabriel has been brought in to host afternoons on 940 ESPN. Gabriel previously has hosted in the market for Power Talk 96.7 and AM 1400.

The University of South Florida has launched a new 24/7 digital streaming audio channel with iHeart Radio. The new channel debuted on Saturday August 26th and features game broadcasts, coaches shows, replays of classic games, and more.

Lafayette sports radio station ESPN 1420 welcomes Greg Larnerd to its roster. The 27 year old product of Sandy Hook, CT will host “The Word with G” weeknights from 6p-7p starting September 12th. He’ll also host the Acadiana postgame show.

Congratulations to Bryan Drozda on being named the new Fantasy Sports Radio Producer at SiriusXM.

KCBS in San Francisco has added Carolyn Burnsed as the station’s newest sports and traffic anchor.

Former ESPN Ithaca host and program director Jeremy Menard has accepted a new position as the Manager of Television and Radio Operations at Ithaca College.

Learfield Sports has hired Kelly Burke as a new host and analyst.

In television news, Meredith Gorman has been named a new team reporter of the New England Patriots.

FOX Sports has also made a hire. Mark Gunnels has signed on to join the sports television company in Los Angeles.

CBS Sports has named Kenzie Stanford a new associate producer.

A week can’t go by without The Athletic making another hire. The latest to join the digital platform is Jeff Pearlman. His addition follows the recent arrival of MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal.

In Seattle, Sheil Kapadia has left ESPN after covering the Seattle Seahawks for the past two seasons. His position has been replaced by Brady Henderson who has left 710 ESPN Seattle after spending seven years with the radio station.

And more locally driven content sites are on the way. The latest comes from Buffalo where Dave Davis has announced the arrival of a new digital venture called The Buffalo Star. The new website which will focus on covering the Bills and Sabres is expected to launch in less than two weeks.

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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