On Thursday, Jordy Culotta acknowledged that he had been let go from 104.5 ESPN’s popular morning show Off the Bench. Culotta thanked Guaranty Media management and his listeners across Louisiana, but did not give a reason or explanation of why he wouldn’t be back on the morning show.
Friday morning, Culotta’s now-former partner T-Bob Hebert did not dance around the subject on the listeners’ minds. He said that he did not know the reasons behind Guaranty management’s decision, but he was not happy about it.
“For the record, I disagree with the decision that has been made,” Hebert said on air. “Disagree with it. Unfortunately, like so many other employees and so many of us have found over these times, mine’s not to make reply. Mine’s not to reason why. Mine’s just to do and die.”
As is often the case when no explanation is readily available, rumors began to swirl around the internet about why Culotta was no longer with 104.5. Hebert said that he is upset by some of the more ridiculous ones including that LSU or head football coach Ed Orgeron have something to do with the decision.
Hebert said he isn’t sure what to tell the listeners about what the show will be going forward. Guaranty Media has posted an opening searching for a new morning co-host in Baton Rouge. Hebert told his listeners that he doesn’t know what to say that means in terms of style.
“The show will not be what it was, and that’s a huge bummer no matter how you slice it,” he said.
He did make it a point to say that he will not change, stating his goal “remains what it has always been – for you to be in a good mood while you’re driving to work”.
T-Bob Hebert gave Jordy Culotta a lot of credit for where his career is right now, saying matter of factly that he will always love his former partner and noting that Culotta is most responsible for convincing him and his family that he should leave New Orleans and return to Baton Rouge, where he played college football.
“It’s been incredible over the last 4 years to fall in love with this city from a different perspective than college. I enjoy raising my kids here. I’ve got a house. I love my neighborhood. I like my neighbors. My kids seem happy with school. And none of that would be possible without Jordy Culotta. So, I love this man and I will be grateful to him until the day that I die.”
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.