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Charles Barkley: Sports Figures Should Front Vaccine Initiatives

“Barkley famously said, ‘I am not a role model,’ decades ago. Now, he wants to see prominent athletes become role models for the vaccine.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: TNT

Charles Barkley hopes to see athletes take a forward-facing stance towards COVID-19 vaccines. The Basketball Hall of Famer and Turner Sports personality discussed the vaccine on ESPN 1000.

“As jocks, we should definitely get the vaccination,” Barkley told Waddle and Silvy. “I think it’s selfish if we don’t get it. If you look at the world – who are the only people who have never missed a paycheck? Professional athletes. Think about that. Everybody’s been laid off or fired. Jocks have been paid every single dime they’re owed.”

Barkley famously said, “I am not a role model,” decades ago. Now, he wants to see prominent athletes become role models for the vaccine.

“We should be at the forefront of trying to help get this thing back to normalcy,” Barkley stated. “Instead of having a couple of idiots saying ‘well I don’t want to get the vaccine.’ It ain’t just about you fool! It’s about everybody, we’re in this thing together.”

Athletes like Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson came under fire in recent weeks for missing practice due to COVID-19 related issues. Neither are vaccinated, and the same problems most recently struck Buffalo Bills wide receivers, Cole Beasley and Isaiah Mckenzie. The NFL fined both of them for breaking NFL COVID-19 protocols this week.

“I’m getting the vaccine just in case some kid runs up to me and asks for an autograph or a picture,” Barkley continued. “I wish people would be like, ‘hey ya know what? I don’t really want to get the vaccine, but I’m gonna do it for the people around me.”

Barkley is directing his fervor towards athletes, but the numbers say most have received the shot. The NFL, NBA, and MLB have reported increased vaccination rates throughout the summer, with a majority of teams over 85% vaccinated. Listen to the full interview on Waddle & Silvy here.

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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