After former Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler signed with the Phillies, 94WIP’s morning show attempted to find the best pro-athlete to play in both New York and Philadelphia.
Iconic WIP morning host, Angelo Cataldi disqualified Lenny Dykstra, who won an MVP with the Phillies and helped the Mets become World Series champions. The disqualification prompted a phone call from Dykstra.
Dykstra began the conversation by taking a shot at WIP contributor Ray Didinger, who was in studio for his weekly hour on the morning show. Cataldi referred to Didinger as a legendary football analyst and Dykstra disagreed, insinuating boring analysis.
“I’m embarrassed about the way you’ve performed your life since you left baseball. I’m embarrassed for you and for what you represented in this city,” Cataldi told Dykstra, calling him a conman and citing his time spent in prison.
Dykstra and Cataldi went back and forth for a couple minutes, before the former centerfielder known as “Nails” was cut off by the radio show.
Dykstra might think Didinger is boring, but the football analyst added a surprise claim, making the segment even more entertaining. After the phone call was dropped, Didinger said Dykstra owed him $7,000. Naturally, Dykstra quickly called back.
“Who are you, Ray?” Dysktra said to Didinger. “You used to hang out by my locker and beg me for stories, I remember that. But Ray, I think you cover football. I don’t think you know much about baseball either.”
Didinger went on to explain the money he’s owed from Dykstra. “You asked me to write two football stories…and I was promised $7,000 and I’ve never seen the money?”
Dykstra didn’t seem ready to pay the alleged debt, asking Didinger if he had a signed document.
Cataldi reiterated that Dykstra’s post-baseball life is a sad story. He was a fan favorite and an easy player to root for, but in retirement, Dykstra’s life has been highlighted by time in prison and allegations of sexual harassment.
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.