Sports radio in St. Louis and Denver was alive and well during the first quarter of 2020. The market leaders in both cities, 101 ESPN in St. Louis and 104.3 The Fan in Denver turned in stellar performances but so too did Denver’s second sports radio brand Altitude Sports Radio 92.5.
Starting with St. Louis, according to Nielsen Audio, 101 ESPN registered a 4.9 in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with men 25-54. That placed St. Louis’ leading sports station 9th overall. In mornings (6a-10a), the combination of 1-hour of Golic & Wingo and the Bernie Miklasz Show produced a 5.3 share to finish 4th in the market.
Turning to middays, 101 ESPN placed 9th with a 4.5 between the hours of 10a-3p. Those hours feature Anthony Stalter and Jamie Rivers from 10a-2p and 1-hour of the station’s afternoon show The Fast Lane. Rounding things out in PM drive between the hours of 3p-7p is the aforementioned Fast Lane with Randy Karraker, Brad Thompson, and Chris Rongey. The popular St. Louis trio and 1-hour of either St. Louis Blues pregame or ESPN Radio programming delivered the best performance on the station for the quarter, ranking 4th with a strong 7.5 share.
One additional note worth sharing was 101’s performance in evenings. The station generated an impressive 11.1 share from 7p-midnight, depicting a strong performance from their newly acquired St. Louis Blues broadcasts. 101 ESPN and the Blues agreed to a broadcast partnership last year and it has already started to pay dividends. The city’s other sports radio station, 590 The Fan KFNS didn’t record a rating in the winter book.
In Denver, the news was great for 104.3 The Fan. The Denver sports station received a massive performance from Mark Schlereth and Mike Evans, who finished 1st by a wide margin in the target demo of men 25-54. The popular duo produced an incredible 12.9, more than double the share of the market’s 2nd ranked station. It was one of the best performances in the entire sports format this quarter.
Also turning in a strong quarter was the station’s revamped afternoon show featuring Darren ‘DMac’ McKee, Tyler Polumbus and Nick Ferguson. ‘The Drive’ delivered an 8.0, giving 104.3 The Fan a 1st place finish in both mornings and afternoons. The Fan’s midday shows featuring Sandy Clough and Orlando Franklin, and Brandon Stokley and Zach Bye ranked 3rd with mid 6 shares.
The winter book also provided positive news for Denver’s Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 as the two-year old sports station saw tremendous growth in all of its key dayparts. In mornings, Marc Moser, Vic Lombardi and Brett Kane quadrupled their share year-over-year, rising from 0.6 and 24th in 2019 to 2.3 and 13th in 2020. In middays, the trio of Harris, Hastings and Dover also enjoyed a spike, soaring from 0.7 and 24th in 2019 to 2.9 and 14th in 2020.
Altitude’s best performance in the winter book came from their afternoon show with Nate Kreckman and Andy Lindahl. Nate and Andy grew their share nearly seven times higher than 2019 climbing from 0.5 and 24th in 2019 to 3.4 and 10th in 2020. Altitude also saw their weekday (M-F 6a-6p) performance jump from .6 in 2019 to 2.9 in 2020.
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.