San Diego’s former sports radio leader on the 1090-AM frequency is officially planning a relaunch as The Mightier 1090 this summer and it will include Scott Kaplan.
Two weeks ago, Andres Bichara who owns the 1090 transmitter surprisingly said on Twitter, “we will be back soon.” Now, investor Bill Hagen tells The San Diego Union-Tribune he has a lease with the Bichara family for five-years and plans to relaunch what used to be San Diego’s top-rated sports station within the next few months.
“Sports is going to be just part of it,” Hagen told The San Diego Union-Tribune of the new format. “There will be sports there — but it’s not going to be just 24/7 talking about sports. Absolutely, it will be about lifestyle.”
The Bichara family’s radio company, which owns the 1090 transmitter, is based in Mexico. They were forced to pull the plug on The Mighty 1090 last April following a dispute with the station’s operator, Broadcast Company of the Americas. Now, almost exactly one year later, plans are finally in motion to get 1090 back on-air.
While most of The Mighty 1090’s weekday shows have since moved on to other San Diego radio stations, Scott Kaplan remained a free agent. Instead of joining another station, Kaplan and former Chargers linebacker Billy Ray Smith continued Scott and BR as a daily live podcast, available on multiple platforms including a video stream on YouTube.
After news broke earlier this month about a return for 1090, Kaplan put his odds of joining the station at 10/1, later increasing them to 4/1, but now it appears to be a sure thing. Kaplan will be heard on San Diego’s 1090 airwaves this summer, if not sooner, but it won’t be a conventional return to radio for the popular host.
“This is not a traditional radio station,” Kaplan said during his Monday show on YouTube.
Kaplan’s return to terrestrial radio comes in the form of a revenue sharing partnership, featuring the YouTube show he launched last year.
“This business is providing content to that business, that’s the relationship and it’s a completely different model in radio” he added. Kaplan compared his partnership with 1090 to a syndication model. “It’s not just radio, it’s a YouTube show that happened to go back on the radio.
According to Kaplan, it also might be time to rebrand his show. It’s been The Scott and BR Show for decades, but during the last two years co-host Smith has become a part-time contributor. Kaplan said he would love for Smith to return as his full-time co-host, but a continued part-time role seems more likely.
The planned format of ‘lifestyle talk with some emphasis on sports,’ fits Kaplan’s hosting style. Even when live sports are in action, Kaplan’s show features a mixed bag of topics, with many entertaining tangents along the way.
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.