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Gregg Giannotti Nearly Went To Afternoons

“In the span of 24 hours, Gio went from mornings, to afternoons and back to mornings where he and Esiason have successfully built a new show for WFAN.”

Brandon Contes

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Gio, Maggie and Bart? We don’t know for sure what the combination would have been, but WFAN morning host Gregg Giannotti told the story of how he almost ended up in afternoons for the station three years ago. 

Following Craig Carton’s arrest in Sept. 2017, WFAN gave Boomer Esiason a few different potential co-hosts to try. Although it was widely believed CBS Sports Radio’s Gregg Giannotti was the best fit, Esiason didn’t want a shotgun marriage. 

The former NFL quarterback lost his decade long radio quarterback and Esiason was still getting strong ratings in the aftermath without Carton, so he likely didn’t feel the need to rush into finding a new partner. Meanwhile, WFAN had another big opening to fill with Mike Francesa’s first planned departure from the station set to take place at the end of 2017. Knowing they wanted to move Gio from the network into WFAN’s lineup, they chose to make him part of their new afternoon show instead of waiting for Esiason to decide on his co-host. 

According to Gio, the next morning, a more decisive Esiason called him into his office, tossed him a bag of cauliflower crisps and said “let’s do it…you’re going to mornings, call you’re agent.”

Program director Mark Chernoff soon walked by and Esiason reiterated what he told Gio. 

“Hey Mark,” Gio remembers Esiason saying. “Get the deal done, we’re doing this.”

“Are you sure? Because you weren’t sure” Chernoff awkwardly asked Esiason with Giannotti still standing there. But despite Esiason choosing Gio as his co-host, some people in the company still wanted him in afternoons. 

Chernoff, Esiason, and then EVP of programming Chris Oliviero scheduled an hour-long closed-door meeting to discuss the decision while Gio lurked in the newsroom, which sits just down the hall from the PD’s office. An hour later, out from the mini summit comes Esiason, walking through the newsroom, passing by Gio with a thumbs up and a nod. 

In the span of 24 hours, Gio went from mornings, to afternoons and back to mornings where he and Esiason have successfully built a new show for WFAN.

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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