Battling health issues, ESPN 680 Louisville radio host Bob Valvano announced he’s taking a leave of absence from his daily afternoon show to address his well-being.
As reported by Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing, Valvano made the announcement that he’ll be taking time away from his radio show on Tuesday. Valvano painted a rather bleak picture of his current health status, but hopefully the time off will help him get some answers.
“This is something, I don’t know what it is, but it’s not good,” Valvano said. “I’ve had terrible back problems that go all the way back to last October, and it got to a point about a week ago where it was worse than anything I’d ever gone through, including my heart attacks. Honest to god, it made my heart attack look like a walk in the park. It was terrible. I still don’t really have answers for that.”
Last year, Valvano was diagnosed with monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis, a condition where a higher-than-normal number of identical B cells are found in an individual’s blood, and it could be a precursor to leukemia.
“Those of you that know, I had a leukemia scare a few years ago, and I don’t know if this is related to that,” Valvano said during his Tuesday show. “I don’t know anything about anything. I just know that I’m taking too many pills, and I feel awful, and I’m in pain, and this is no life. This is absolutely no life.”
Cancer took the life of Bob’s brother, Jim Valvano at the young age of 47 in 1993. After giving the famous speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards saying “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up,” the legendary coach partnered with ESPN to launch the Jimmy V Foundation, which has raised more than $250 million for cancer research since its inception.
The ESPN 680 radio host said he’ll be taking off at least through next week and already has multiple doctors’ appointments scheduled.
“Something’s going on, and I don’t know what it is. My head hurts, I’ve got pain in my stomach, my back is awful, I have a heart situation, I’m exhausted all the time. And then this last episode with the drugs scared the crap out of me, really, really scared the daylights out of me.”
A longtime sports radio host, the 64-year-old Valvano fills the noon – 3p timeslot on ESPN 680. Hopefully he’s able to get some clarity on his health situation in the next couple of weeks and make his on-air return soon.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.