An inspired Scott Kaplan returned to The Scott & BR Show on Monday after meeting with the owner of San Diego’s 1090 AM frequency.
In April, longtime San Diego sports radio leader, The Mighty 1090 went dark following a financial dispute between the station’s operator, Broadcast Company of the Americas and owner of the 1090 transmitter, Andres Bichara. Last week, Kaplan flew to Monterrey, Mexico in hopes of building a relationship with the Bichara family, to create a partnership and reincarnate The Mighty 1090.
“It was much more about me going to the Bichara family and making it very clear, I’m not the guy who was part of the previous regime that made you feel like you got screwed over in business,” Kaplan said during Monday’s episode of Scott & BR. “I have nothing to do with those people, I got screwed over too.”
Since The Mighty 1090 went dark in April, Kaplan has continued to broadcast The Scott & BR Show live on YouTube and TuneIn every weekday at 3pm PT.
The outlook for bringing The Mighty 1090 back to the airwaves seems like a difficult task, but one that Kaplan believes will happen. “My goal is to have us on the air August 1st, I explained to everybody, you can’t lose football season, we have to be on-air for football season.”
Kaplan and the Bichara family enjoyed their time together during their meetings and both sides are hopeful a partnership can work. The Bichara family has owned and operated numerous radio stations since their grandfather began purchasing them in the mid-1900’s. Leasing a radio station, as they did with 1090 to Broadcast Company of the Americas, was a rare occurrence, the Bichara family is used to operating the stations they own themselves. This time around, Kaplan hopes The Mighty 1090 can eliminate the middleman and partner directly with ownership.
“Innovative professional people who are making money in the radio industry, not necessarily in San Diego or L.A., they’re doing it in Laredo, Texas or Monterrey Mexico, I bet they’d bring an awful lot to the table when it comes to partnership, consulting, ideas and innovation, you want to be in business with guys like that,” Kaplan said regarding a future working with the Bichara family.
During their meetings, Kaplan explained the 1090 AM transmitter would need to be surrounded with digital aspects to be successful, which Andres Bichara agreed. The two sides wrote down numbers on paper and discussed the costs of running a radio station, with the next step being for Kaplan to project the expenses and sales of operating 1090.
The August 1st date of relaunching The Mighty 1090 sounds like a lofty goal, but Kaplan explained they’re “under the gun.” All of 1090’s broadcast equipment is still in their old studios. With rent being due to the landlord, they either need to figure out a partnership with the Bichara family to start paying station expenses or remove all equipment which would incur an additional cost.
The quickest solution would be for Kaplan to come up with a plan that sees the Bichara family agree to operating The Mighty 1090 so that rent could be paid and broadcast equipment can stay where it is. Both Kaplan and the Bichara’s want a partnership to ensue, now it’s about the numbers making sense for both sides.
“Theres a potential relationship here that we might be able to do more things together than just this first radio deal, but let’s get this thing done first,” Kaplan said.
If Kaplan is able to strike a deal to resuscitate 1090, he has confirmed thru Twitter that the station will drop the Mighty 1090 name in favor of Team 1090.
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.