Sometimes, the days for New York Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay can be long, particularly when he is calling Yankees games and hosting The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN Radio in New York with Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg.
This week, Kay was a guest on the New York, New York with John Jastremski podcast and he talked about how much work that he puts into the other sports after he gets home from broadcasting a Yankees game.
“It is overwhelming at times. I DVR a lot of games and I don’t watch the whole thing, I’m going to be honest. I read stuff when I get home and if it turned in the 4th quarter, I’ll fast forward to that. I feel like I should not go in not knowing it. The only thing that I hand off is hockey. Don is a genius at hockey and I just don’t know it. The other stuff, I want to stay on top of everything.
“As I get older, to be honest, I don’t know if I could keep up the pace. Most days, I get to the stadium at 1:15 and I get out at like 11:15, pull into the house at 12:15 AM. I have a six-year-old and an eight-year-old and it wears you out a little bit.”
That response led Jastremski to ask the question as to which of the two jobs Kay could see himself doing longer between being the voice of the Yankees and hosting afternoon drive in New York.
“I’ve thought about this a lot,” Kay said. “I think the shelf life for a radio host, there should be a limit to it because I think the key audience you want to get is 25-54 and I am already past that key audience and I hope that I don’t look like the old guy on the lawn.
“That’s partially why we have Peter [Rosenbrerg] there because he’s not the old guy in the lawn. I don’t ever want to get bored with it and not have the energy that I have. When I see that happening, that’s when I’ll say that’s probably it.”
Before Carton and Roberts began on WFAN, the ratings battle for afternoons in New York would be between Kay and Mike Francesa. Kay loved competing with Francesa because he was the underdog trying to take down a sports radio icon.
Now, there is an expectation level that The Michael Kay Show has built and for Kay, there is pressure to try to stay number one.
“I don’t want to lose to Craig. He’s a guy who came back and I had the lead and Mike was retired and you figure you would have a couple of years where you could relax a little. With Craig, you aren’t going to be able to relax. He’s really good at this. I think there’s more pressure now because I was the one that was in first. I feel more pressure now than I did trying to chase Mike.”
While Kay still feels the pressure of trying to be the top show in New York, the show still has a good mix of getting the perspective of the older fan while not excluding him from the target audience and that is important as well.
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.