Under The Radar returns with another jammed pack week of sports media news. As usual, if you have individual or company news to pass along, send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s this week’s activity.
Last week’s chaos involving ESPN personality Jemele Hill has opened the floodgates to various individuals and brands defending and attacking the worldwide leader in sports. But one piece in particular stood out. Whether you agree or disagree with the notion that the sports media has shifted to the left, this presentation by John Locke Foundation Senior Vice President Jon Pritchett and Duke University professor Ed Tiryakian is very interesting. To watch it click here.
With many inside the radio industry excited, concerned and curious about the upcoming merger between CBS Radio and Entercom, one question has been how attractive the news is to stock holders. The early returns were favorable but enthusiasm has since faded. CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer addressed the situation and delivered an excellent analysis on why he feels Entercom is a wise investment. To see the segment click here.
Noise was made in Houston this week when the Texans revoked the credentials of Sports Talk 790 host Josh Innes and his producer Jim Mudd. The team was upset after Mudd reported live from practice, sharing formations and plays being used, and announcing which players were involved in team drills. Innes told the Houston Chronicle the Texans acted “randomly and arbitrarily” and that he wasn’t aware of their media policies. He cited the club’s August 22nd practice where fans were allowed to shoot audio and video from the stands as an example of confusion. “We were providing entertainment for our audience. We were trying to give information. Were people amused by it? Yes. My objective is to make people laugh, have a good show, don’t take ourselves seriously.”
97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia has stabilized its midday show. The station has promoted afternoon producer Jason Myrtetus to co-host alongside Harry Mayes. Myrtetus spent 4+ years working on Mike Missanelli’s show and says he’s excited for a new chapter in his radio career.
Speaking of additions, Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver has confirmed the hiring of Alex Auld as co-host of “Canucks Central.” Auld joins Satiar Shah weekdays from 12p-1p PT.
101 ESPN in St. Louis is doing something really cool to cover high school football. The radio station has teamed up with Silverback to deliver the high school game of the week via its website and Facebook. The production quality is fantastic and looks like a television broadcast being offered on the station’s digital and social platforms. Brad Barnes and Andrew Rogers call the action. To catch a glimpse click here. The broadcast starts about nine minutes in.
Congratulations is in order for Portland Trail Blazers radio play by play man Brian Wheeler. The veteran voice of the team has inked a new multi-year contract extension to continue calling Blazers basketball. Per company policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Larry Andersen has worked the past 47 summers in baseball. In 2018 that will change. The Philadelphia Phillies color analyst has announced he will decrease his schedule next season on radio broadcasts. The team hasn’t determined yet who will step in when Andersen isn’t working. The former major league reliever says he wants to reduce his travel and enjoy some personal time while he remains above ground.
After exiting AM 1300 The Zone, Rod Babers has resurfaced on the airwaves of crosstown rival 104.9 The Horn. Babers joined the radio station a few weeks ago, hosting a new midday show, “The Rodcast”, M-F 1p-3p CT.
Columbus sports radio station 105.7 The Zone has added a local afternoon show. “The Drive with Jackson and McCoy” now airs weekday afternoons 3p-6p ET. The program features market veteran Matt McCoy and Big Ten Network analyst Stanley Jackson.
Program Director Ryan Porth is getting busy behind the microphone. Porth is hosting a new weekly show called “Preds Insiders” on Nashville sports station 102.5 The Game. The program airs Monday nights from 6p-7p ET.
106.7 The Zone in Madison, Wisconsin has hired a new reporter/host. Danny Cunningham has agreed to join the radio station. He had recently announced his departure from ESPN Cleveland 850 WKNR. Cunningham will cover the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and University of Wisconsin Badgers for the radio station starting September 25th.
Former Louisville host Spencer Kietzman has confirmed he’s joined Arizona’s Sports Station 98.7FM. The son of WHB afternoon host Kevin Kietzman will contribute for the Phoenix brand on a part time basis.
One of Chicago’s most influential sports radio personalities is putting his lifetime of experiences in the business on paper. Former 670 The Score afternoon host Terry Boers is publishing a memoir titled “The Score of a Lifetime.” The book is expected to be released November 15th. For more details including how you can pre-order it click here.
Speaking of books, sports business consultant and host of the Tao of Sports Podcast Troy Kirby has published “Liquid Courage”, a story about three bodybuilders who attempted a casino heist. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or e-book. For more information about the book visit the Facebook page or Twitter page.
All Access featured SiriusXM sports program director Jason Dixon in their latest edition of 10 Questions. To read the piece and become more familiar with Dixon’s career in the radio industry click here.
In Baltimore, Tony Lombardi of Russell Street Report conducted an interview with 105.7 The Fan afternoon host Scott Garceau. The article includes Garceau’s thoughts on working with Jeremy Conn, Anita Marks, callers to his show, and more. To read it click here.
The Baton Rouge Business Report caught up with LSU football sideline reporter and Guaranty Media vice president and general manager Gordy Rush. One of the station’s under Rush’s watch is 104.5 ESPN. To gain further insight into Rush’s background and views click here.
In print news, The Athletic continues to stockpile talented writers. The latest to join the company is Andrew Brandt. The former NFL executive and ESPN NFL business analyst will continue producing written content for Peter King’s MMQB. He’s simply adding to his plate by creating columns for The Athletic.
Brandt may be doing double duty for SI and The Athletic but Chris Burke‘s situation is different. Burke has left SI to join The Athletic where he’ll cover the Detroit Lions for the company’s Detroit platform.
With many Bay Area sports writers flocking to The Athletic, that’s presented opportunity for others at the San Jose Mercury News. Matt Schneidman is the latest to take advantage of the situation. He’s signed on to cover the Oakland Raiders for the local newspaper.
Former FOX Sports writer Pat Muldowney has resurfaced. After being let go as part of FOX’s controversial shift to video, Muldowney has signed on to work for The Ringer.
Barstool Sports has hired their first full-time female on-air talent. Julie Stewart Binks has joined the multi-media company where she’ll be involved in a number of programs for the company. One of those projects includes hosting “The Barstool Tailgate Show” alongside company president Dave Portnoy and former NFL punter Pat McAfee. Stewart-Binks has previously worked for FS1 and works for ESPN as a sideline reporter on MLS games. Her role with Barstool won’t affect her role on ESPN.
VSporto has been ramping up its sports podcast programming. The company recently launched a new national NFL podcast with former ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan. They’ve also launched a Houston-centric podcast with local sports radio host Charlie Pallilo, and an irreverent college football show featuring Bleacher Report’s Adam Kramer and CBSSports’ Barrett Sallee.
Sticking with podcasts, Joy Taylor of FOX Sports 1‘s “Undisputed” has entered the digital audio space. Taylor has teamed up with Brandon J. Newman to launch Maybe I’m Crazy. In addition to playing the point guard between Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, Taylor has long form talk experience. She previously hosted for 790 The Ticket in Miami and has also hosted shows on FOX Sports Radio. To hear the debut episode click here.
In sports television news, Cara Capuano has announced she’s returning to call women’s college sports for ESPN.
Derek Medlin has shared via social media that he’s returning to WRAL in two weeks. Medlin says he’s excited to get back to his roots covering sports for the channel.
Former Dallas Stars play by play man turned Los Angeles Kings announcer Ralph Strangis has received good news. The veteran hockey voice has been summoned by Westwood One to call USA Hockey this February in the winter Olympics.
And congratulations to Evan Pivnick on being named the new play by play voice and Director of Broadcasting for the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder. Pivnick previously called Bowling Green hockey games.
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.