Last summer, Greg Papa took to the airwaves on 95.7 The Game to confirm he would no longer be the radio voice of the Oakland Raiders. For the first time in over two decades, the legendary play by play announcer went thru an NFL season not calling Bay Area football games.
But the disappointment Papa experienced in 2018 has quickly been replaced by joy in 2019. The year began with the San Francisco 49ers naming him their new radio play by play voice, and now just two and a half months before the NFL regular season kicks off, Papa is changing radio stations too.
After nearly eight years with 95.7 The Game, Papa is leaving the station to join KNBR. The new voice of the 49ers has inked a multi-year deal with the station which will reunite him with former on-air partner John Lund. The new program, Papa & Lund, will be featured weekddays from 10a-2p PT.
KNBR Program Director Jeremiah Crowe said: “Greg brings unrivaled knowledge and top-notch entertainment value to every broadcast he leads. His connection with the Bay Area sports fan runs deep on many levels through his history in the local market, and we are proud to reunite him with John Lund in mid-days on The Sports Leader.”
“I am thrilled to be returning to the powerful airwaves of The Sports leader,” said Papa. “Being reunited with John Lund on the flagship station of the 49ers is the perfect combination.”
In addition to adding Papa and Lund to middays, KNBR will introduce a powerful new afternoon show. Larry Krueger and Rod Brooks will leave their midday slots to move into drive time, joining Tom Tolbert as part of the newly formed Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks. The three men have been a part of KNBR for a combined total of 67 years. Their new show will air weekdays from 2p-6p PT, giving an extra hour to evening host Mark Willard who will now host weeknights from 6p-10p PT.
As a result of the changes, KNBR and longtime personality Gary Radnich will go their separate ways. Radnich had been with the station since 1992. He tweeted out on Friday that he had planned to retire at the end of the year but with his 70th birthday approaching it made more sense to exit now. Radnich will host his final show on the station this week.
“From the time Gary Radnich started at KNBR he was a pioneer in the sports-talk format” said Doug Harvill, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus San Francisco. “He built a close relationship with listeners through his entertaining and intriguing perspective on sports and life. I cannot express how appreciative all of us at KNBR are for the opportunity to have partnered with him on his KNBR journey.”
Also vacating the station will be longtime midday host Bob Fitzgerald who had been with the station as a host since 1990. The television voice of the Warriors on NBC Sports Bay Area, Fitzgerald said “I’d like to thank everyone that I had the great fortune of working with at KNBR, from my co-hosts, in particular Rod Brooks, to our tremendous producers and staff I have encountered over the great many years. For three decades it has been my great privilege to entertain the incredible sports fans of the Bay Area. KNBR will always have a special place in my heart and I wish everyone at the station all the best moving forward.”
The loss of Papa is a blow to 95.7 The Game. He spent 8 years with the station, delivering strong ratings in middays with Bonta Hill, and previously with Lund before he exited to join KNBR in 2016.
According to a report in The Athletic, The Game is expected to adjust to Papa’s departure by relying on 3 shows in their weekday lineup instead of 4. Joe, Lo and Dibs will remain in mornings, Matt Steinmetz and ‘The Guru’ Daryle Johnson will add Hill to their midday show, expanding to 10a-2p, followed by Damon Bruce in afternoon drive.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.