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WDAE, 92.9 ESPN, 107.5/1070 The Fan Find Positives in Spring Book

Brandon Contes

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With COVID-19 forcing a sports hiatus, radio brands were dealt unique challenges in the spring book, leading to mixed ratings around the country. Even without sports, a few markets were able to generate some positive numbers. 

Without sports and having fewer daily commuters during drive time hours, ratings for 92.9 ESPN in Memphis were down less than a point overall and even saw some of their weekday shows increase for the spring book. 

In weekday prime (M-F 6a – 7p) for their target demo of men 25-54, 92.9 equaled their winter performance, tied for fourth place. With the stream included, their weekday prime share was down from a 7 to a 6.1. Their simulcast of Golic and Wingo produced a Top-10 finish with a 4 share, but 92.9’s mid-morning and early afternoon hours are where the station really shined during the spring quarter. 

From 9a – 11a, The Geoff Calkins Show finished second overall with the stream, earning an impressive 10.4 share, a more than 2-point jump from the winter book and year-over-year. During the 11am – 2pm block, John Martin and Jason Smith were Top-8 with a 5.6 share, down from their second-place finish year-over-year. Like Calkins, Mark Giannotto and Jeffrey Wright also saw their numbers increase without sports, earning an 8.6 share, tied for third place. 

In afternoon drive, The Gary Parrish Show was down during his 4 – 7p block, but still finished in the Top-10 with a 4.3 share. 

Indianapolis’ 107.5/1070 The Fan declined from the winter book, but delivered Top-10 performances across the board even without the support of sports in the spring. In weekday prime, The Fan finished seventh, with a 5.7 share. Their morning show with Jeff Rickard and Joe Staysniak dipped from third during the winter, to fifth in the spring book earning a 6.8 share. 

From noon – 3p, the Fan’s midday show hosted by Dan Dakich finished the quarter eighth with a 5.4 share, down about two points from the winter. In afternoon drive The Ride with JMV (John Michael Vincent) dropped more than three points from the winter book, but still increased year-over-year, finishing ninth with a 5.4 share. 

Tampa Bay’s 95.3 WDAE enjoyed some strong performances during the spring book while sports stories were thin. WDAE placed eighth in weekday prime, up 31% year-over-year for their target demo. Tom Brady signed with the Buccaneers late in the winter quarter, but the impact still likely boosted the market’s sports interest during the spring book. 

With less people commuting during the drive time shows, WDAE’s midday hours saw the strongest growth. Their simulcast of The Dan Patrick Show finished fifth, a huge jump from their 21st place performance last year. Locally, from noon – 3p, The Pat and Aaron Show were Top-8, a significant improvement from their mid-teens showing last year.

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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