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Morning Men Head To LA For FALifornia

“Dubbed “FALifornia,” with Russo out, SiriusXM sent Morning Men hosts, Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik to their new Los Angeles studios for the week, where they took over Nick Wright’s usual timeslot.”

Brandon Contes

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When the namesake of Mad Dog Radio is off-air for a week, you’d expect the SiriusXM channel to wait for his return before trying anything too creative. Instead, Mad Dog Radio, Steve Cohen, Steve Torre and all of the SiriusXM bosses used Christopher Russo’s absence as an opportunity to grow their morning show.

Dubbed “FALifornia,” with Russo out, SiriusXM sent Morning Men hosts, Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik to their new Los Angeles studios for the week, where they took over Nick Wright’s usual timeslot. Wright, meanwhile,  filled in for Russo’s Mad Dog Unleashed.

“I’m a dorky old school radio guy and conceptually what SiriusXM did in saying ‘let’s not look at Dog being out as a disadvantage, but how do way take advantage of it?’ Again it involves us, so maybe I’m a little biased, but I think it’s really smart,” Morning Men co-host Evan Cohen said while speaking to BSM.

They’re a growing brand on the platform, but as a national show airing from 6 – 10am ET, it’s hard to expect a big West Coast following for Evan and Babs when they regularly hit the airwaves at 3am PT. Still, the reaction to Morning Men heading to the West Coast was filled with excitement. 

Further, when Evan and Babs announced they would broadcast Friday in-front of a studio audience, there was a big response from West Coast’s most loyal listeners, dubbed “the FALS,” who wanted to be there, a testament to the job SiriusXM does in promoting the show.

“Our show is on from 3am – 7am Pacific Time and it goes to show that SiriusXM has done such a good job with the app and on-demand product for people to listen to it when it’s not live,” Cohen said when speaking of their West Coast listeners.

To make their trip happen, Evan and Babs also needed a willingness from other hosts on the channel to work around an adjusted schedule. SiriusXM personalities Lisa Ann and Rick Kamla helped out during mornings on Mad Dog Radio. And with Wright taking over Russo’s Mad Dog Unleashed, normally Patrick Meagher moves from his 8 – 11pm show into the 6 – 8pm timeslot, but he had no problem reneging. 

“Patrick is a big fan of ours and we’re a big fan of his,” Cohen said. “We’ve developed a really good friendship with him, and his being egoless in knowing he could move up to a different timeslot for the week, but instead saying ‘those are my friends it’s a big opportunity for them, I’m giving them that slot’ is amazing.”

For Morning Men, the evening timeslot allowed them to connect with West Coast listeners, but they also had to adjust to a condensed show for the week. Half the time with double the guests. 

Taking advantage of being on the West Coast, Evan and Babs welcomed L.A. related guests throughout the week that included SiriusXM mainstays Covino and Rich, ESPN host Jorge Sedano, actors Tom Arnold, Ian Ziering, J.B. Smoove, R&B singer Joe, and entertainment star Joel McHale among others.

“Do we do guests, or do we interact with the audience?” Cohen said they debated regarding their live show last Friday to conclude their FALifornia week. 

A live studio audience is something radio shows don’t get a lot of opportunities to have. Some hosts are better in front of a live audience, they feed off the crowd to create natural entertainment. Mike Babchik happens to be one of those hosts, who’s unfiltered style resonates with a crowd. Evan and Babs chose to let the audience be part of their Friday broadcast, focusing on their FALs, more than guests. 

“It was a calculated smart risk by SiriusXM,” Cohen said of the company’s decision to send them to Los Angeles. “In terms of the creativity in the lineup, the buzz it created, exposing our show to the West Coast, giving other people opportunities in other slots and making something out of nothing in many ways – they deserve a lot of credit.”

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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